Our Game of Thrones Basemap is here to unite the Seven Kingdoms


We built a custom basemap of the Game of Thrones world and we’re giving it away for free, with hopes that what you create will help someone unite the seven kingdoms.

This post may describe functionality for an old version of CARTO. Find out about the latest and cloud-native version here.
Our Game of Thrones Basemap is here to unite the Seven Kingdoms

What do Dr. John Snow  the 19th century English physician  and Jon Snow  the King of the North in Game of Thrones have in common?

Both use thematic location data and custom basemaps to explore the relationship between the natural environment and modes of human interaction.

Thematic location data: data that focuses on a specific topic or theme within a certain area

Basemap: the foundational layer of a data map’s visual hierarchy

In his 1854 cholera map  Dr. John Snow plotted water pump locations on a static lithograph projection of London  helping him draw a correlation between contaminated pumps and cholera outbreaks.

In Game of Thrones  Jon Snow relies on custom basemaps of Westeros’ seven kingdoms  whether for strategizing military campaigns or expeditions beyond the wall.

Let’s take a look at a custom basemap of the Game of Thrones world Ramiro  one of our Solutions Engineers  and Mamata  our Senior Cartographer  built using an open-sourced thematic dataset for pertinent character information as well as gvSIG’s ebook  Learning GIS with Game of Thrones.




We always design basemaps with specific components that help cartographers and data analysts tell better stories with location data. Here are three components of the Game of Thrones basemap:

Custom Design

Ramiro and Mamata decided to render the known world of Game of Thrones  including the continents of Westeros and Essos  by first removing both pre-designed basemaps  Dark Matter and Positron  available in Builder.

Instead  they chose a layer of solid blue color for the base (representing the seas) and added layers for rivers  roads  forests  cities  the Great Wall  and  of course  the ice lands beyond the wall.

The ability to add specific components to an unbounded solid color layer provided the freedom needed to build a land-cover map projection for a fictional world.

Landscape Styling

The geography of Westeros is a central feature in each character’s battle for the Iron Throne.

Ramiro and Mamata styled the basemap in order to highlight how transportation routes are distributed across the Westerosi landscape.  Popular style techniques for display landscape include shading terrain  using color palettes to suggest elevation  and curvature.

They added parcel data related to regional terrain and kingdom to show land use across the continent. This basemap’s style invites map viewers to explore relationships between landscape and land use to determine different ways in which a character’s location helps or hinders his or her ability to play the game of thrones.

Responsive styling

A well designed map does not overwhelm viewers with obtrusive text  labels  and annotations that may bury unexpected data.

One advantage of building a custom basemap is the ability to apply response styling features inviting viewers to explore the map further.

John Snyder’s mantra  "Overview first  zoom and filter  then details on demand " is a useful aid in determining what information and in what sequence to present to viewers.

In Ramiro’s visualization  the overview shows most of the labels but as you zoom in  more labels may appear (like near Castle Black at the top of the map).

Insert custom Game of Thrones basemap today!

Want to chart your own path to the Iron Throne? You can insert Ramiro and Mamata’s Game of Thrones basemap into CARTO Builder today!

First  read our guide on inserting external basemaps.

Second  when asked for the URL source for your custom basemap  insert this link:


Third  click “Add Basemap” button in the bottom right-hand corner.

In our next post we will use this basemap while adding analysis features. Stay tuned!  

Credit: Textures and Icons from https://www.textures.com/ & https://thenounproject.com/.