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Can anyone recommend a good tool for keeping track of maps? I want to run an Eberron setting game, and I'd like to use the Eberron map, which I have as a high-resolution png, but be able to add quick notes and such as the game progresses. Something similar to Google Maps.

I have already considered using the Google Maps API, but I wanted to look for a simpler solution first.

The map can be seen here.

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As this is a recommendation question, please adhere to both the FAQ and the rules for subjective questions as outlined in Good Subjective, Bad Subjective and on our Meta. In particular, all responses should be based on actual experience or cited references to others' experiences. Just throwing out tool names you've heard of is a junk answer. –  mxyzplk Mar 16 at 0:14
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Also, my personal thoughts - please don't just propose every image manipulation tool known to man, he wants an easy map annotation solution. Paint.NET, GIMP, Office, etc. are obvious and poor solutions. –  mxyzplk Mar 16 at 0:17

5 Answers 5

I would recommend looking into Realm Works by Lone Wolf.

It allows you to add pins to your maps and chain content together with hyperlinked tags. You can see the pins in the map view screenshots.

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The easiest way I can imagine is making the map into a PDF and then use a program like Adobe Reader or PDF-XChange Viewer to write comments. Best thing is that you're not stuck with esoteric file formats or expensive specialized solutions.

For portability, use a flash drive or save to Dropbox (or similar).

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If you don't mind programming a bit and Javascript doesn't scare you, perhaps Kartograph is the right tool for you.

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I'm not sure programming in anything quite fits most peoples' notion of a "simpler solution." –  BESW Mar 16 at 4:55

If you're okay with a desktop application, then this works well:

You'll need to install LibreOffice - it's free, in every sense of the term, and is available for most platforms.

Open your image in LibreOffice Draw, and save it in ODF Format for use as an editable Draw file.

Then you should be able to add annotations through the Insert>Comment menu option. These take the form of numbers on the map until you click on them, at which point they open a post-it-note-type box to write in.

You could also use layers to add additional features on the map, such as hidden locations, regional borders, or even a grid overlay.

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You could use a wiki (say ikiwiki since it can be used from vim and git) and image map tags with mouse-over notes/hints. Anyone in the group can then link NPCs, locations, history, game journal, and all those things. Of course, setting the map is hassle.

Note that mouse-over will not work on mobile devices.

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