It's still my favorite part of worldbuilding for stories or campaigns. First the maps and then the food. I'm working on adding characters into that mix.
I think one reason I find it so easy to fall into fantasy stories is because of the incredible maps that typically accompany them. What’s a world without a map to set destinations firmly in readers’ minds? I know that for some descriptions of the journey are enough, but I want to flip to the inside cover and follow the footsteps of my favorite character with my fingertip. It gives me a connection.
I've started to keep a virtual collection of maps. My favorites haven't changed over the years.
(You should really click to embiggen these images).
Middle Earth - From the rose to the forests to the rolling names - I adore it all. It's probably cliche to choose this as my absolute favor, but I don't think anyone will blame me. The geography of Middle Earth is crucial to the story. Readers should mark where the Fellowship travels, where they split, and all their different paths. I did this once by xeroxing a copy of the map from the books and using a different color for each character; I really wish I would have kept it. Other people do that, right? Right.
Westeros - Before HBO created a fabulous title sequence for Game of Thrones (yes, it grew on me) featuring the land of the Seven Kingdoms, we had the paper maps to drool over. The series A Song of Ice and Fire is rich in every aspect, and the map doesn't disappoint. It is one of just a handful of fantasy novel maps I've seen that vary from the layout of Middle Earth above. Again in this world, characters fighting for the throne and the people that have to follow them move all over the map. I would never attempt to trace footsteps because there just isn't enough room. Geographic features, manmade or natural, are almost characters themselves. The Wall plays a big role, and the Narrow Sea is mentioned over and over.
Randland - Unless it's happened in the last few books, I don't think the land where the Wheel of Time story takes place has an official name yet. Back in the days of the wotmania.com forums (I was a proud t-shirt owner), this sparked passionate conversations. Of course, most any topic did in those forums. Many fans, myself included, call it Randland. This map is a little overwhelmed with details but so is the series. It matches. I sometimes get it mixed up with Middle Earth, but I straighten myself out by remembering that in Randland, the Big Bad resides in the north. The piece I admire most on this map is the rose. It's woven with the series logo (for lack of a better word). Just lovely.
If you're ready to go off and play cartographer, here are a couple of pages that are worth checking out:
Fantasy Mapmaking 101
Map Creation Tutorial