NationalGeographic.com reports that Swansea University glaciologist Dr Martin O’Leary has invented an online tool that generates new maps of mythical lands.
The map bot combines imaginary place names with fake terrain to produce fantasy worlds, tweeting a new one every hour from the Twitter account @unchartedatlas.
Dr O’Leary came up with the idea in November when he participated in NaNoGenMo, or National Novel Generating Month. It’s a twist on National Novel Writing Month, which since 1999 has challenged writers to complete a 50,000-word novel in the month of November. Instead of writing words, NaNoGenMo participants write code that generates a 50,000-word “novel.”
“You're trying to make a computer write a novel, so you're looking for the most formulaic novel you can think of. And so I was thinking about these fantasy novels, and they always had these maps inside the cover,” O’Leary says, “So I started thinking, well could I make one of those maps?”
- Thursday 18 August 2016 13.57 BST
- Thursday 18 August 2016 14.04 BST
- College of Science