Charted Areas are an optional tool that you can use to start your game of The Quiet Year quicker, and to hone in on a particular kind of landscape.
Charted Areas complete the prep stages of the game for you (sketching the terrain, determining starting resources). Simply pick the map you’d like to use, and begin.
If you’re playing with two players, cross out one of the Scarcities before you start (and do the same with its symbolic representation on the map, if clear). If you’re playing with four players, add a final Scarcity before you start.