Introduction: Robot Map

Maps are one of the most important tools that humans have ever invented. But sometimes they can be intimidating, too detailed and not very fun. So let's make a map that is fun to look at and fun for the young ones to learn from.
This will be a fairly simple map of the United States designed and built by robots. I will use Coreldraw X-8 to illustrate the map but any good design program will work fine. The finished map is highly detailed but may not be apparent from these small jpeg photos.
Now go forth and make your own robot map!


A computer.
A basic map of the USA.
Design program of your choice.
Color printer.

Step 1: Create Outline of the States

Use a jpeg image of a United States map to outline each state. Any map clear enough to outline will do fine. This will take some time to outline all 50 states. Start at one corner and work your way across. Bucket fill the finished state with a color. Any color will do at this stage. It's an easy way to keep track of your progress. There is really no need to be super accurate when creating an outline.

Step 2: Finishing the States

All the states are outlined and bucket fill with colors. You could keep all colors as is or choose any style you like. I decided to use one color for the entire map.

Step 3: Create Drop Shadow

Here is a neat trick to create a 3D effect for each state. Pick a state and create a drop shadow. Then place the drop shadow on the inside. Separate the drop shadow and place it on top of the state. Now you have a state that has a raised 3D look to it. Repeat the process for all 50 states.

Step 4: Design a Robot

This robot uses many basic shapes to end up with a fairly detailed design. Sketch out something fun and reproduce your design on the computer. Group sections together so you can rotate and reposition your robot into many poses. Now add a jetpack and a grappling beam device. Just have fun!
(Look carefully, I designed a 2nd robot)

Step 5: Design a Rocketship

Design a rocketship in the same method as your robot. Lots of basic shapes, colors, layering etc. Once again, have fun!

Step 6: Design a Computer

Design a fun looking computer. This computer manages forest. This map requires 8 computers. Forests, shorelines, prairies, lakes, mountains, deserts, rivers, highways. These features may be included on a future version of this map but for now it will be kept basic.

Step 7: Design Electric Spark Balls

Have fun designing electric sparks and balls. There is no right or wrong way to design these spark balls or actually any of the elements for this map.

Step 8: Design Rocket Exhaust

Use transparencies and different shapes and colors to make fun looking
rocket exhaust.

Step 9: Design a Map Generator

So where do robots get all of the states for building a map? They need a map generator. Build one using the same method we've been using. Use many basic shapes and colors until you have something that looks good.

Step 10: Now the Fun Starts

Ok, now the fun really starts! Begin by resizing, adding-deleting, coloring, placing, etc. Here is where you can manipulate all of your hard work so you can end up with a fun, colorful and (hopefully) educational map of the United States.
A robot technician opens a hatch on Oregon to make adjustments.
A robot blows a fuse while working on Michigan.
A robot uses a rocketship to finalize the placement of Maine.
A robot does a little welding in preparation for South Carolina.
Two robots use grappling beams to adjust Hawaii.
The map generator creates South Carolina.

Step 11: A Finished Map of the United States

Here is the finished map. I printed a 20 inch by 30 inch version on my Epson printer with semigloss archival paper. I mounted the print in a custom frame I built specifically for this map project.
In the future I may decide to add rivers, lakes, mountain ranges, etc. But for now, it will hang in our living room.

Maps Challenge

Participated in the
Maps Challenge