File1273318029.jpg-(1.82 MB, 1550x3050, Ysi_Earth_Map_II_by_Naeddyr.jpg)
Don't also forget that rivers don't flow from one ocean to another.
Things you need to know for a local map:
Things you need to know for a global map:
- tectonics is nice
- climate patterns; deserts on the west coast, the placement of winds and ocean currents, etc. fiddly and annoying and impossible to get right, but hey.
- cartographic projection. if the two first points are for making a nice world, this is so that you have a nice map, plus a world that actually fits on a globe right.
Things no one here is going to tell you you need, but would be really, really nice to have because fuck, there is not enough of it:
- linguistics, and some conlanging skills. For a map, all you need to do is make up naming languages (basically, just names and words and maybe some basic morphology and a smattering of noun-phrase syntax)
- at the very least, some knowledge of linguistic phonetics.
A basic tutorial:
Also came out recently in a long book form:
Around ten bucks on Amazon. I bought it (cuz, hey, what are friends for, if not buying your book?), and it's a fairly standard Linguistics 101 book with conlanging bits. If you can't get your hands on it, just get some basic linguistics book, anything with "Introduction to linguistics" in the title. Most will explain phonetics, IPA, and basic linguistic typology, at least enough to give you some taste of the linguistic diversity out there.
Pic is a map I made.