Thank you to everyone for your replies, which have been very helpful.
I agree with the general thrust of the posts which suggest that I should steer clear of any specific fictional themes (such as Star Trek) in the initial version of the map. It was very tempting to use some Star Trek star names in far off parts of the galaxy, but I can see this would interfere with any mods that others might want to make.
However, so far as possible I will make the planetary systems match those known in Star Trek. For example, 40 Eridani A is the star system in which Vulcan is located (well, before someone blew it up - hope that's not a spoiler for anyone!). I will try to make sure the planets in 40 Eridani A match the ones in Star Trek, but I will not use the Star Trek names for the planets.
I would like to see a Star trek version of this map, and may well do one after I have a satisfactory version of the base map - unless someone else undertakes to complete that project.
All stars within 2500 light years of Sol will be known star systems (with one possible exception). Some stars beyond 2500 light years will be known, but the rest will have fictional names.
So far as planets are concerned, I will make use of known data about planets, but I am not going to be too rigid about this. The problem here is that there are very few systems with more than two or three confirmed planets, and many of those systems have uninspiring names, like HD10180, which apparently has 7 planets. So I think the game will play better if I don't stick rigidly to our present knowledge of extrasolar planets. All planetary systems within 2500 light years will have to be individually designed.
I shall include the ancient homeworld systems of all the vanilla DW:U races, and Haree78 has kindly given his permission to include the ancient homeworld systems of his extended races. In addition, since I'm in need of a large number of star system names, I shall name a star system after everyone who has replied to this post (unless you ask me not to) Edit: actually, maybe not you, FingNewGuy ;-). If there are any star or planet names you would particularly like to see, please let me know.
I have just finished mapping out the position of the spiral arms of the galaxy, and should shortly be able to start adding the stars to create the structure. It is quite slow going and I don't know when I will be in a position to make an initial release, but I certainly hope I can do it within a week or two.
Finally, I just want to address some specific comments:
@Unforeseen, I'd certainly like to see your formula, if you find it, but I suspect I'm probably too far down the line to make use of it.
@Solarius Scorch, yes, I agree about avoiding the use of 'number' designations for the stars, but the names will inevitably be somewhat heliocentric.
@Premislaus, thanks for the links, and I will definitely put Chiron in Alpha Centauri - thanks for the idea.
@Hannable, I take your point, and, hopefully, the finished version will not have the effect of looking like all the stars are orbiting Sol. In the finished product it should look like Sol is positioned between two spiral arms, with the densest star area being in the centre. So, it should look like everything is orbiting the galactic centre (which it is, of course). Incidentally, most of those black holes will be deleted. I placed a black hole at the centre of many sectors in order that I could position the map under a transparent grid that I have stuck to my monitor. This purpose of this is to get the stars at the correct coordinates. The closest real black hole that I have in my database is V616 Monocerotis at about 3000 LY. If anyone is aware of a closer one, let me know (incidentally, V4641 Sagittarii is now thought to be much further away than originally predicted).
@necaradan666, I have looked at Antiscamp's mod, but I think he is trying to achieve something different.
@Feygan, I think this mod will probably work best with much slower hyperdrives (at least at the start of the game). A speed 12000 Gerax can cross 15 sectors in 4 years of game time. I like the idea of slowing that down by a factor of 10, but that's something for later. Initially, I'll just get the map out, and people can then do what they want with it.
< Message edited by Osito -- 6/12/2014 11:15:23 AM >