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While the term Star Map would be understood by those ignorant of early galactic history as applying to a general navigational tool, it referred specifically to an artifact left behind by the ancient Rakatan Infinite Empire.
Built of a self-sustaining technology, the Star Maps were built as (and in) monuments to the glory of the Rakatan empire, and indicated the route to its greatest achievement: the Star Forge. The most complete example was located on Dantooine, where it was housed in a temple built by Rakatan slaves and protected by a set of droids, including one designed for informational purposes.
The Jedi Revan found evidence of the existence of these Star Maps (possibly from the Trayus Academy), and, leaving his fleet in the Unknown Regions, journeyed with his friend Malak to locate each map. Originally intended to be stand-alone devices, the Star Maps had lost all of their information at the fall of Infinite Empire (due to intentional sabotage by the Rakata), forcing them to auto-repair from scratch, an ability granted to them by the Star Forge's technology. As a result, anyone seeking the Star Forge would have to locate all of the maps (presumably because each started the repair in relation to its "home" planet) to piece together the puzzle. They were found on the five planets of Dantooine, Manaan, Korriban, Kashyyyk, and Tatooine. By the time Revan rediscovered them, they had each repaired themselves enough that their combined data gave the Star Forge's coordinates.
The Star Maps were eventually rendered useless with the destruction of the Star Forge.
Behind the scenes
- The planet of Sleheyron was originally intended to house a Star Map, but the world was eventually cut from the game.