Recent diary entries
It's April, and our monthly challenge, courtesy of isleño, has to do with water! The results of last month's challenge, rail, was wonderful. If you didn't get to work on rail during March, don't fret; you can always go back and review Eklas's wonderful bliki posts about how to design a rail network. If you did work on railways, feel free to your work to the challenge page over on the wiki.
Lakes and Rivers
Inland waterways, such as lakes and rivers, are an often overlooked aspect of mapping on OGF. I know that most users are not hydrology experts, and I definitely do not profess to be one. I do know, however, that we have a pretty good primer for how to draw rivers. One thing that gets overlooked, however, is the detailing of the riverbanks or lakeshores.
For this month's challenge, there are three tiers:
- Easy: Draw a river and/or lake, and make it as realistic as possible. Remember that lakes form where water cannot quickly drain into the channel downstream or where there is no outflow altogether. Also keep in mind the direction of the flow when drawing it on the map.
- Medium: Draw a river and/or lake, and incorporate it into the surrounding landscape. Place forests, scrub, wetlands, agricultural facilities, etc. If there is a floodplain, try to indicate it in some way.
- Hard: Complete the medium challenge and incorporate man-made works like dams, in-flowing drainage ditches, levees, mills, races, etc.
As you complete your new work, share it below or in a bliki. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask a friend!
Now, let's get mapping! Good luck, everyone!
It's the first weekend in March, and that means it's time for a new monthly challenge! The results of last month's challenge, Healthcare, was wonderful. I saw a lot of people posting in the comments, in blikis, and elsewhere about all the fascinating health-related places they've mapped. Awesome work, everyone. On a personal note, I'd like to thank everyone for their well-wishes and heart-felt comments. I am recovering quite nicely, and I'm grateful to you for your kind words.
A challenge with… a tutorial
This month's challenge is going to be a bit different, because it involves a partnership with the user Eklas, affectionately known around these parts as "George." George publishes a weekly bliki and has decided to do a four-week tutorial through the month of March about mapping rails. He was gracious enough to let me merge the challenge into it. The hope is that we all can learn something about rail mapping to make our countries look more realistic.
The four topics that will grace the Eklas-bliki will be (links forthcoming):
- Where do railways go? (Posted 05 March)
- Junctions and terrain (Posted 12 March)
- Stations 101 (Posted 19 March)
- Depots and infrastructure (Posted 26 March)
There are two tiers to this challenge: beginner–intermediate and advanced. The beginner–intermediate level is intended for either those with no knowledge of rail or those with only moderate levels of rail infrastructure. The advanced challenge is intended for those with a very high level of railway knowledge and designed to better the site over-all.
- Beginner–intermediate challenge: follow the four-part bliki posts by George about how rails work and design a basic rail system with the following attributes: 2–3 stations in separate communities (commercial or passenger), a depot, a maintenance facility, and rails with appropriate curvature, slopes, and marked crossings.
- Advanced challenge: follow the four-part bliki post and complete the beginner challenge, but also build a port connection, a more advanced structure (such as a roundhouse or turntable), and make the connection between seven or eight different communities. Next, provide active feedback to both George and the users that work through the challenge.
As part of a super-advanced challenge (that everyone can participate in), we are going to do a community-driven effort to improve the making railways wiki page.
A couple quick thoughts about railway necessity and rail culture
Each user on OGF should determine how much rail works for them and within their country. There are a lot of factors that play into rail usage. Terrain is the most obvious, as rail becomes more of an impossibility as terrain is rougher. Mountainous terrains require some very creative engineering. But, density of people and commercial goods also plays in. Dense cities typically rely on rail as a part of their transit network. In much of northern and central Europe, rail is a way of life for passengers and commuters. Countries without large cities or less dense population centers may not see this. Economics are also a factor. Developing nations may not have as much rail, just as they may not have major highways. Large countries with great distances to traverse between resources and ports will use rail more for commercial and industrial uses. North America's rails are primarily used to transport goods and raw materials. Passenger rail there is almost exclusively found in dense urban environments, especially along the Atlantic coast. Small island nations like this are probably not going to need rail as an essential means of transportation. On Malta, for example, rail is essentially non-existent. The culture, history, and economics of a country will determine how the rail system develops.
Lastly, users on OGF have a wide variety of interests. George (Eklas), for one, is fascinated with rail. Others are not. Some, such as myself, see it as one tool of many. There are a variety of reasons for this. Some people live in countries like the UK or Germany, where rail is a primary means of personal transportation. More rail exists here per capita than anywhere else on the globe. Others live in places like the US or Canada, where it is essential for cargo and not as much for people. This all shapes how each of us views the need for rail. Let's please respect each other's culture and views.
Now, let's get mapping! Good luck, everyone!
I trust you all had a wonderful beginning to the new year. As you may have (or may not have) noticed, there was no January challenge. The reason is the impetus for this month's challenge: healthcare.
Quick backstory: at the beginning of the new year, an incident happened through no fault of my own, and I was quite heavily injured. I'm about 75% recovered, and things are getting steadily getting better. The result of the injury took me away from everything for a touch more than two weeks, including OGF. Hence, no January challenge. When I came back, the whole ordeal made me think about how we do healthcare on OGF. Every country is different, and each culture is different. I thought it might be time for a challenge here!
And away we go!
For this month, your challenge is to do something related to healthcare. It could be a hospital, clinic, outpatient practice, pharmacy, surgery center, spa, or even something else. If there is a cultural medicine tradition or a naturalist practice, go ahead and add that! Be creative and have it fit with your country's culture.
This is a surprisingly hard challenge, however. Remember that not every small town of 3000 people is going to have a hospital. Clinics and urgent-care centers (as they're called in North America) are often fairly evenly spaced but clustered around population centers. Emergency vehicles need to be able to easily get in and out of many of these facilities too. Consider your traffic flow and where accessible junctions are. Pharmacies are easier to place, but it also depends on how much that country's government regulates the industry. In other words, placing healthcare facilities means that the community it's being placed in is relatively planned out already.
If you're looking for something even more advanced and have a metropolitan area to work with, try to build an entire healthcare network: a couple hospitals, scattered outpatient practices, a surgery center, some pharmacies and clinics, etc. Remember that these places will need to be spaced enough to not compete with each other but close enough together to cover the population. If you are in a heavily-regulated country or one with nationalized medicine, you won't need to worry about competition from another network. If you want a free-market medicine environment, you'll need to account for another network in the same area to at least some degree.
Don't forget to share things below with your fellow mappers. I can't wait to see what happens!
Good luck on the challenge! And, a belated is-Sena t-Tajba (Happy New Year)!
Hello, fellow mappers.
Last month's challenge had some very creative submissions! I could never have imagined the results. For this month, we have another interesting topic to tackle even if it isn't all that creative. So, yes, how do we power all those obnoxious holiday lights that our citizens put up? This is a broad challenge that can range from quite easy to quite hard. More importantly, it fills in a huge gap in our map right now. The theme of this month is "Power! Unlimited Power!" The idea for this challenge is to launch your country's electrical grid. This can range from a simple power plant to the transmission lines.
I don't purport to be an expert at this by any stretch of the imagination. I've been doing my homework on it for Mauretia for some time. For most of us, the OSM documentation is going to be invaluable. There is a pretty good write-up there about how things work (not just how they're tagged). Obviously, electricity has to be generated somewhere. This could be a hydroelectric dam, a coal plant, a mine, etc.
An easy version of this challenge might be to simply build a power-plant. Most power plants generate some type of pollution, so you'll want to keep them away from most development other than some industry, like this coal-powered plant. If you're wanting to do something like solar power or wind power, you have to carefully consider your climate. Mauretia is probably not going to be a big solar-power producer. The sea gives it a wind-power potential near the coast or in shallow waters, however. Countries like Spain have a great potential, and can capitalize on it. Those countries with volcanism like Iceland can maybe tap into geothermal power. Be sure to carefully consider what is available to your country and not a pet project that you think is better. Cost and development of the country also matters.
To get more and more difficult, add the transmission lines. Standard wooden poles in North America (Canada and United States) are generally placed about 45–60m apart on flat terrain. Tower distances can vary based on height and regional windiness. These towers, for example, are about 245m apart. Remember that transmission lines sag so they can sway in the wind. If they're too tight, they snap. Your citizens will then snap if they can't play that silly candy game on their uPhones. Also note the wide easement needed for those four transmission line complexes. Next, all that has to relay from somewhere. There's a transition substation just south of where I linked above. These lines extend for miles upon miles, so the complex here needs to be large enough to handle that amount of electricity.
I hope all this makes sense! Good luck tackling this important challenge!
Hello, fellow mappers.
I apologize for being a few days late with this month's challenge. For this month, we have something quite simple—a type of micro-mapping. The idea here is to come up with more localized services in your country to make the place more realistic. There are a few guidelines for this challenge, too.
The theme is "keep clean and stay pretty." What does this mean? Find a small community or two in your country and put grooming and hygiene places. These could include barbershops, hairdressers, salons, stylists, boutiques, beauty-supply shops, etc. Think about the culture of your country a bit. Are there communal baths? Are manicures or pedicures a cultural expectation? Are there religious attire vendors or groomers that need to be near houses of worship? There are a lot of creative ways to go here, and I'd love to see something interesting.
Now a few guidelines:
- Your submission should be something new and created during the calendar month of November (or the first few days of December)
- No international companies—keep it local!
- Don't just put a point on a map. Place the building, parking, sidewalk, etc.
What am I going to be doing? I don't know yet. I have a couple ideas. What do you think you might do? Show your fellow mappers below.
Hello, fellow mappers.
I hope you had a fun time taking on last month's challenge, which focused on culture. The comments indicated some cool projects were being considered. I'd love to know how everyone did.
Unfortunately, different things in life limited my ability to finish work in Iola as I would have originally liked. I was able to finish the streets and pedestrian areas in the old city of Iola and begin building work around the ancient amphitheatre. There are a couple things like a café called "La Ekterra" (The Underground), which is right across the plaza from the entrance to the catacombs. A few streets are named after former monarchs or important saints, too. I'll try to keep working on it this month, as I've enjoyed working in this area.
Mapper's Challenge #14 — By Air and By Sea
The challenge for this month is to work on an air or sea transport option in your country. For this, airfields, airports, seaports, ferry terminals, and other air or water-based transportation hubs are welcome. There are quite a few major airports in the OGF universe, but what about smaller commuter airfields or agricultural-based landing strips? As for the water-based transportation, seaports are always an option. Don't forget about commuter routes like ferries or recreational places like marinas. Even if your country isn't on an ocean, river transportation is just as important. Major trade can be done by navigable river, too. (Just ask Vienna; or for an even smaller town with 3.5 times the tonnage, check Huntington, West Virginia in the United States.)
So, for this challenge, try to determine what the needs are for your country right now. There is a great guide for building airports over on the wiki. Seaports are definitely going to be a bigger challenge and require some more advance mapping, in my opinion. Once you've decided on your task, go for it! Give it a try and see what happens!
I'm personally going to attempt work on a seaport for Iola. It might be a bit ambitious, but I'm already planning to do coastline work on the western part of La Kaufama. I've received some great feedback from a couple users on the coastline, so it's part of what I'd like to tackle. We'll see how it goes!
All the best, —A
Hello, everyone. Today I would like to reintroduce the Mapper's Challenges to the community. Luciano granted me permission to revive the concept, and I will be running with it for the time being. We've had some great work done over the previous twelve challenges, and I think it is worth putting the effort into encouraging good mapping. For me, the Mapper's Challenges were a great place to experiment, get private feedback, and observe more skilled mappers at work on larger projects. While not every topic will appeal to each user, I would still encourage everyone to give these a quick try. As before, post what you have in the comments below; do not be afraid to provide feedback on submissions also. This is a great place to learn and have fun. It is my hope that we get a chance to see all the good things that users are doing around OGF.
I also want to encourage users to try the "weekly word" challenge! That is a shared, friendly "competition" that is easy to participate in. The monthly Mapper's Challenges are larger and thus different; their missions do not conflict.
This month's challenge comes courtesy of a suggestion by Udi before the challenges went on hiatus for a few months.
Mapper's Challenge #13 - Showing Culture
The challenge for this month is to develop the culture and history of your country by constructing cinemas, theatres, libraries, museums, or other relevant facilities. Add any that are of interest to your country. Names like "Museum of Slavery" or "Library of Communist History" also give hints about a culture. Since culture is more abstract than highways and railways, you will need to be creative and think hard about what your country is like. Then, go for it! Give it a try and see what happens!
There are already a lot of these places popping up in OGF, and many users already have different skill levels on this topic. So I offer a tiered challenge for people to try:
- Beginner challenge: Place a building and tag it according to its function (library, museum, etc.). Try to make the building a logical shape and make sure it is placed in an appropriate location. Be sure to give the building a name!
- Moderate challenge: Complete the Beginner challenge but also work on the area immediately around the building. Are there benches, monuments and memorials, trees, fountains, walkways, etc.? Do some extra tagging and work on how the outside of the building fits the inside.
- Advanced challenge: Complete the Moderate challenge but extend it to the entire neighborhood. Is the facility in a cultural district or a simple neighborhood? Provide some details of the environs with other buildings, parking facilities, commercial or retail venues for guests, etc. Go beyond the immediate grounds of the initial building and create an atmosphere that complements (or intentionally contradicts!) the cultural meaning.
- Collaborative challenge: Pick a level and work with another user. Is there shared cultural heritage or is there another shared people group? What about mapping in another territory (with permission, of course)?
For me, I'm going to try at least the moderate challenge. There are a few ideas I'm tossing around. I also am going to do the collaborative challenge, as there is a project with Litvania that needs to be finished. So, this month offers the perfect chance to do this. I'll post some updates in my bliki as the month goes along.
After being selected as the winner of the weekly word by Kazuya, I have the honor of calling for the eleventh weekly word.
So this week's word is
In an effort to get our timeline back on track a bit, the deadline will be midnight Monday morning GMT (0:00 UTC).
Best of luck and happy mapping! -A
I know the topic of religion comes up periodically, and I think we all seem to be pretty civil and sensitive to the nature of the topic. (Thank you for that, by the way.) Well, today, I'm throwing that all out the window...
I have decided to take up the challenge of creating a pantheon of deities for a Mauro pagan religion based on OGF users and their collaborative input. If you want to be enshrined as a deity, demigod, hero, angel/demon, leviathan, etc., head on over to the bliki page and jump in. I explain more there and give the rationale for this project. Maybe it will be fun. I'm hoping it is an interesting collaborative experiment!
(N.B.: No user will be a part of the pantheon without their expressed consent. If you don't want to be a part of this, you don't have to fear.)
I'll see you on the bliki!
I would like to request some feedback on what users consider pros and cons of doing landuse and landcover tags as areas or relations. To this point, I've been tagging regular areas, since this is the standard I learned from doing my homework and studying OSM wiki/forum documentation. For example, this is what I used in the coastal region of Kabyea Essa. I comes out just like I want it and has the data I'd like for later (double plus!). I know that Luciano has been innovative in using relations to this end, and I was curious what the advantages and disadvantages are or might be. I'm not sure I really want to break up a roadway into a dozen pieces per kilometer just to adjust relations, but it might render things better for me.
I will say that areas get to be quite clunky in JOSM when placed against each other like this. It becomes impossible to select a highway or railway that is on the boundary. In many cases, I've resorted to just using iD, because it works better for me to do the fine-tuning detail work. At the same time, that could be a user issue.
I appreciate the insight. Thanks!