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I was wondering if someone could help me out with a little project I'm working on. I'll try to describe what I'm trying to achieve - if it doesn't make sense, please let me know.

I have in front of me a 'custom' map of an area I like to visit. It's just a representation of the area, so there's no real connection between the points on the 'custom' map (a) and how they would relate on a 'real', geographically correct map. As an example, think of how a ski resort map represents a ski area whilst looking nothing like a real map.

I'd like to take this custom map and, given some relationships between notable points on it and their actual lat/long co-ordinates, create a [x/y --> lat/long] co-ordinates map. Ideally, the more points I can relate to real lat/long co-ordinates, the more accurate this map should be.

The end result would allow me to take a lat/long co-ordinate (e.g. from GPS) and pin-point that location to a point on my custom map.

I'm sure a lot of the GIS tools out there allow for this kind of thing, however I have no idea where to start (I don't even know what it'd be called). Any pointers would be appreciated!

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Can you post the "custom map" you're referring to? If it was created as a guide for tourists, like the ski resort map you mention, it was probably created with that in mind and its relation to real-world geography was not as important. No matter how much time you spend geo-referencing it, it may not give you an accurate map in the end if what you're starting with is intentionally distorted. –  Dan C Oct 24 '12 at 20:00
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I think you want to georeference the raster map. In qgis1.8 try Raster ->Georeferencer->Georeferencer

edit: have also a look here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffPL5h4mJf4

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