Theme Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water. That's a large piece of geography that usually gets ignored when studying traditional maps. This puzzle is about exploring various regions within the Mediterranean Sea. Known as marginal seas, these lesser bodies of water appear in classic literature, have their own unique characteristics and still influence the course of history. The Mediterranean is a big place, bordered by 3 continents and shared by a huge diversity of cultures. PuzzleMap is a great way to learn more about it.
This example is a basic PuzzleMap without images or special effects. It also demonstrates the use of arbitrary pieces. Although nautical sources suggest general boundaries between the marginal seas, there are no definitive rules or GIS data for them. The pieces were therefore created by cutting straight lines across the Mediterranean at appropriate locations. The result is a fairly easy puzzle to solve, but one that brings a heavily populated area of the world into a new perspective.
The clue window provides the maximum depth, major port and a "True Fact" from myth, history or the environment for each piece. Learning where things are is only part of the puzzle — geography also about intrigue. The giant sea centipede, the ancient craft of making byssus and the existence of Marsili are in this puzzle and show how PuzzleMap can inspire deeper questions about the world. To help encourage curiosity, each of the True Facts includes a link to an online resource with more detail.
Puzzle Notes Puzzles based on well-defined areas are easily generated from GIS data. This one required some additional manipulation which was done with QGIS. First, a polygon of the entire Mediterranean Sea was clipped from detailed landmass data. That was then simplified and divided into the individual puzzle pieces. Otherwise, this example is as simple as it gets. It is essentially a set of objects and attributes in a Postgres/PostGIS spatial database. That's really all PuzzleMap needs to produce a fully functional puzzle with a piece index, a clue window and proficiency scoring.