I loved the level of detail that you spent on the government. Do you have a process that you use? Perhaps you can write it down and share it with your peers?
So, in this case, I've been particular blessed to have a worldbuild/brainstorm partner, in Dan Fawcett. Dan is far more of an academic than I am, and while I'm pretty good at the research side of worldbuilding, he's really the master. He's the one who first turned me on to Jared Diamond's works Guns, Germs & Steel and Collapse, both of which I consider required reading for worldbuilders.
As to the process itself: Dan and I hashed out the real broad-brushstrokes, soft-import, high-concept stuff of each nation/cultural area. Then we came up with tour National Document template-- something I want to rework to a degree, but that's neither here nor there-- which I would use to write up each nation*, and then pass it off to him. He'd tear into it, usual with questions about specifics, which would help us drag each culture away from its broad-brushstrokes, soft-import, high-concept origins and give it something unique.
In the case of Waisholm, a big aspect was making it something that Druthal wasn't. Druthal is a parliamentary monarchy, a relative enlightened state for a fantasy/renaissance type of culture, and I wanted Waisholm to be... not so much harsher, but further back on that path. And more to the point, a place where small-group insularity and in-fighting was the main thing holding them back. So this required the throne to be a weak title compared to the local lords, and a place where "civil wars" are a relatively common part of their history. So this required creating a government system where fealty and identity function strongest at the local level.
The question was about achieving that level of detail, which I attribute to the national document, which is relatively comprehensive (what I posted came from sections on government, military, law and criminal activity, for example), and it went through that question-and-respond process to make it stronger.
How did you create the actual map?
So maps that had their origins in hand-drawn, followed by MS Paint, have now been worked over in PhotoShop 6. There are some that I haven't updated as much as others, of course-- Druthal itself has had the most evolution-- but on the whole it's a far more advanced and detailed work. And, more to the point, more advanced and detailed than it could have been back then. Somewhere in the house I still have the 3.5" floppies that have zipped-up files of the maps-- i.e. it took multiple disks and compression to carry it all. Now I have map files that would have made the old computer explode.
*- There are a few nations he did the initial write-up of, though I don't recall which ones off the top of my head.