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Civilization IV official Earth map

This is the official Earth map for Civilization IV.
The award-winning 18-civs variant hit 80,000 downloads in the first year, and was mentioned in a article on PC Gamer UK.

This Earth map was the first of the civ4 maps to be released

It outmatches any other official Earth map shipped with Civilization I, II or III.
Instead, it is similar in some ways to Rhye's Civ3 Earth (which you can find in the Civ3 section of this site), except for being more detailed in some areas (such as the Pacific), and for being smaller. Civilization IV maps are in fact usually smaller (due to the transition to 3D).
This map is no exception, being 124x68, that is 8432 squares (compared to Rhye's of Civilization Earth, that was 170x170 diamonds, that is an area of 14450 diamonds).

The making-of

During the creation of this map, the key goals were:

- an adequate level of detail
- an adequate speed
- an adequate playability

This heavily depends on the projection used.
Now then, there's no good or bad projection. They're just different representations of a sphere into a plan. But one can be more suitable than another for the purpose of a Civ map that suffers giga sizes and has a lot of civs in a small area (Europe and Middle East).
So, as RoC Earth, this map is based on Robinson projection.

the most fitting map projection of the Earth

As it isn't a rectangle, it must be cut. The parts left out are just a slice of ocean (there's plenty of ocean anyway), parts of Alaska and Greenland, and the poles (CIV maps feature ice caps, so it's ok). New Zealand was re-added later.
It fulfills the goals much more than the well known Miller's:

another Earth projection

Further improvements include the connection between Alaska and the eastern tip of Asia (obtained stretching the 4 corners), shrinking the oceans size, and enlarging Japan and England for gameplay reasons.
Resource placement, as well as terrains, is 100% accurate. You won't find horses in America, or sugar in Europe.