Topography: check!

Posted by louis_walker on 21 December 2017 in English (English)

Now that I've finally got JOSM set up, I spent a good chunk of yesterday mapping out the rough outline of the topography for my country, Patermas, which you can see here. There are two mountain ranges, the Brocades to the west (which begin to the north, in Gamen, and are based off of the Tell Atlas in Algeria) and the El Salteadors/Yaguis to the east, a large karst formation which Patermas shares with Draco and Targueral (and are based off of the Mogotes range in Cuba, with a bit of southeastern China/northern Vietnam, though not quite that elaborate). They gradually move toward each other, creating a large, tapering central valley, and meet around the southern border with the massive TA013 territory, currently unclaimed.

I also mapped out the country's major river systems, including the Col River, which is the wide, central river into which the southern and eastern mountain watersheds drain, creating a large fertile territory, protected from the Serion Desert by the Brocades, and suitable for agriculture. There are also several large salt lakes between the Serion in the Brocades, based on the Chott el Djeridd in Tunisia.

Last but not least, I added a few more minor cities so that every metro with more than 200k people is mapped, and then drew the main lines of the country's expressway system. There will be a dominant urban mega-region in the north along the coast, three cities of about 1.5 million, and then a network of cities with 200-500K people. There will be a population of about 22 million, giving Patermas a population density of 125 people per km2, similar to France or Poland. About 80% of the population will live in metropolitan/urban areas (similar, again, to major western countries), meaning a rural population of about 4 million.

The outlines are a bit chunky, and aren't meant to be final. It'll take a long time and a lot of work "feathering" the edges to make them look more realistic, but I am pretty happy with this as a first pass, as I mainly wanted to create an overview of what's coming. My reason for posting this diary is to get some initial feedback as to whether anything stands out as off. I played around a lot with the Col River's width, for instance, trying to make it wide enough to look important but not so wide that it was unrealistic for an area this close to the Equator, where it is quite hot (but also humid, thanks to the rainforests to the east).

Comment from Jesus Antonio on 21 December 2017 at 15:50

Looks great! but you should see more the rivers

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Comment from Rustem Pasha on 21 December 2017 at 15:57

Your topography plan looks very nice in general. The only thing which confuses me are the salt lakes. Often they are major centres of population (like Aral Sea before it dried a bit) especially when most of the country is uninhabitable.

The next thing is the population. I think compering the mostly deserted country to Poland or France is a little bit irrelevant. If I were you I would try to divide the country to deserted and non-deserted area and use different population density to each.

Anyway, great work.

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Comment from louis_walker on 21 December 2017 at 16:14

@ Jesus: Agreed—I'm going to be fattening them a little bit...nothing too crazy, since rainfall (especially in the north) is limited to the immediate coastal areas, but especially the main (named) rivers need to be wider than the default line.

@ Rustem: Is the confusion about the lack of cities? There will be a few more small cities around the edges, but I've only mapped out mid-size and large urban centers so far. The area around the salt lakes will largely be used as a desert resort (a la Palm Springs in California). Historically, I think, the Patermatians will have stuck close to the sea, and only have started settling the areas west of the Brocade range in the past few centuries.

And you're right about the population density; I mis-spoke. The density for the country overall is 125ppkm, but since half of the landmass is desert I had been thinking of the eastern part as being populated at around double that number, which would make the UK and Germany closer points of comparison. Thanks for pointing that out!

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Comment from Rustem Pasha on 21 December 2017 at 16:51

@louis_walker: Yes, I thought about the lack of cities near the lakes and your response ensured me that you planned everything well. So I have nothing more to say, everything is as it should be.

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Comment from Alessa on 21 December 2017 at 21:50

Once again, Louis, this is great. I too think this is a very well-thought-through plan.

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Comment from MrOobling on 22 December 2017 at 10:32

You basic topography is on the right track and looks quite good. My main criticism is that your river is far, far too wide. If you compare it to the [Rio Grande](map=C/10.05935883040309/18.84932/30.99866&map2=OSM/x/25.86248/-97.40847&pxpt=0.277&scale=500000), which travels through a similar climate but is far longer than your river, you can see how absurdly wide it is. If you follow the instructions as detailed here:, (300/4)*60*0.1=450 which means your river should be around 150m wide, not the current 3km.

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Comment from Sarepava on 23 December 2017 at 10:32

I am intruiged by your capital city being out on an island. Perhaps it will be a relatively small administrative city like Brasilia or Canberra, with the cultural capital elsewhere.

Either way, everything you've done points to some intelligent, well-planned mapping, and we look forward to seeing this country develop.

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Comment from louis_walker on 23 December 2017 at 15:35

@ MrOobling - I did use that formula, and the river is around 1.5-2km in width as currently mapped, not 3. I had previously mapped it at 3 and it looked crazy-wide, so I re-mapped it (twice, actually...oy, not fast or fun work). The Rio Grande runs through a very arid area, while eastern Patermas is relatively wet. I've based this on the countries surrounding my territory; annual rainfall reported for Gamen, to the north, is 650mm, while it's 1500mm to the south in Targueral. (Draco's is 3000, but that seemed like an outlier to me so I averaged out the other two to get 1,100mm as a realistic annual rainfall. The watershed of the Col River covers about 73,000 km2, so using the formula on the realistic rivers page we get: (1,100/4) * 73 *0.1 = 2,007m, or 2km, the width of the lower Col. This first pass is also meant to be gestural, so the Col's width will not be staying so uniform as I move forward.

@ Sarapeva: You're on the money! The island of Adean remains largely rural into the early 19th century, at which point the capital is moved there and a new city (Aeda) is purpose-built for to serve as a grand ceremonial city. It's not quite as new as Canberra and Brasilia, which came in the early and mid 20th, but it's a similar idea.

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