EMKLI's diary

Recent diary entries

Unknown mapper of the love of geometry

Posted by EMKLI on 14 August 2020 in English (English).

Just discovered another wild mapping approach in my country. I love the totally unrealistic alignment to vanishing points.

Realistic node density per kilometer

Posted by EMKLI on 18 October 2019 in English (English).

Working on the skerry coast around Frjalshöfn, it just happened that I imported 680.000 nodes into JOSM, spreading on a total edge length of about 4.500 km. This results in 150 nodes per kilometer, which means, one edge is 6 metres long on average. Don’t worry, I deleted everything. ;-) (Just for explanation: of course, I didn’t draw this by hand. I used the “how to create realistic forsest coverage” method from the wiki and then fractalized the shapes).

For an edgy coast line like a skerry coast, what node distance would be adequate? 20 metres? 50 metres?

Export OGF data to svg

Posted by EMKLI on 18 October 2019 in English (English).

Just a small question. Can I, either out of JOSM or out of OGF directly (or any other way), export map data as svg file? So far, I didn’t find a solution.

Speaking of vandalism...

Posted by EMKLI on 8 October 2019 in English (English).

As Nordurland is quite vast and many parts of the country are unvisited by me for long times, I quite regularly find guerrilla mappings from new OFG members. Most of them are useless, some of them are really funny (but not useful in any way), but some very few stand out. This city for example. I’ve decided to keep it (even if I will rename it to a more Icelandic sounding name) as it is a quite complete, decent sketch of a city.

Did you ever stumbled upon guerrilla mappings that you found worthy enough to assimilate?

Frjálshöfn and the dilemma of early mapping

Posted by EMKLI on 8 October 2019 in English (English).

Hey everybody,

during the last weeks, I finally decided to touch a very hot potato which bothers me for at least two years: the Frjalshöfn area.

The Frjalshöfn area was one of my early mapping projects in terms of landscaping. At the very beginning of the OGF history, Thilo wrote a diary entry where he encouraged us mappers to shape their countries individually and creatively. He also linked some interesting topographical spots. The Stockholm area was within these links. And I wanted to let Frjalshöfn be like Stockholm.

In my opinion, I failed. This became more than clear to me when I visited Stockholm last year. And even worse, The Frjalshöfn area in itself is totally unrealistic. Where should the water for this specific landforming come from? In the hinterland, I imagined a mountainous landscape, however, the distance to Grænnshöfn is only approx. 75 kilometers. There is no room for the forming of large rivers with that amount of sedimentation. I was aware of that problem quite early, but I mapped on, adding more and more infrastructure to the unfinishedd geography, deciding to solve the problem of verisimilitude at a later time.

Well, this time is now. Frjalshöfn in that form faces its last days before I will remove most of the islands and also most of the hinterland. Most of the infrastructure I’ve added will vanish as well. When preserving to much of it, creating a new geography will be far more difficult. However, I will preserve the central islands around the city center where I did the most detailing so far (the headquarters of the VEC will also be preserved). However, not all of these places will remain islands and I will move the whole city to the northwest, approximately to the place which is actually called Akurveiting. I will also remove the large bay in the north west of the area (which is possible as I do not need to change my maritime border). Instead, I will create a large inland sea like the Mälaren west of Stockholm. In the southeast, the landscape will resemble the Stockholm archipelago more closely.

Wish me luck, this is the biggest act of intentional vandalism in my own mapping so far (which is not so much a sentimental problem, as I’ve said, I was quite unlucky with the whole area for a long time, but more the fear of the sheer effort).

GDP spendings

Posted by EMKLI on 22 November 2018 in English (English).


As I’m working on the history of Nordurland, I wondered about some assumptions I’ve made about the period of the totalitarian dictatorship which the country went through. I imagined that Nordurland used the most possible amount of its GDP for military purposes - so much that it was close to financial breakdown after 35 years, with a poor and undereducated population, strictly monitored by the security service.

Now I would like to ask for your opinion: how much would this be for a nation that big, quite rich in resources (oil, coal, uranium), probably around 20’000’000 to 50’000’000 people, with ridicculously large military forces. I assumed around 50% GDP. But could it be more? Or is this even too much?

Rendering test of natural ground cover (landuse, natural, leisure)

Posted by EMKLI on 28 June 2018 in English (English).

Hi there!

Because I was uncertain of some renderings, especially of the wetland subtag, which isn’t further explained on the OSM map features page, I’ve decided to use some empty space in Nor∂urland to create a rendering test area. I will keep it there as long as I don’t use this area (and then I will move it elsewhere), so if you are interested, take a look at:

Problems with JOSM - again (Postprocessing)

Posted by EMKLI on 16 June 2018 in English (English).

Hi there!

After reducing the number of nodes of the islands I’m trying to upload, I have a better feeling that it goes well this time. However, when uploading, JOSM takes literally hours to upload my data, or, to be more precise, the “Postprocessing uploaded data …” step takes hours. For 1.000 objects, it takes about 20 minutes easily. For 5000+ objects, it takes two or more hours. I’m sure this wasn’t the case when I did some other uploads before my island project. Did anybody of you experience the same during the last days? Or is there something I can do to optimize my upload data?

Greetings, Markus

JOSM/Merkaartor: auto split ways every X nodes

Posted by EMKLI on 12 June 2018 in English (English).

Hi there!

Since a week, I try to upload a large group of islands which I created by tracing decomposing, fractalizing and recomposing a bitmap image in Inscape. First, JOSM was collapsing under the sheer number of nodes. I figured out which fractalizing factor to choose and after a lot of nights with useless data imports and hangups, I managed to get the data into JOSM. Now, I’m finally ready to upload. However, I have many polygons with more than 2000 points. It takes a lot of time to split all of them into uploadable chunks, especially when JOSM is quite slow. Does anybody of you know a way which allows to auto-split polygons or lines into chunks with X nodes? Merkaartor would also work, I have both.

Greetings, Markus

Gutting out Markvað and starting all over

Posted by EMKLI on 31 October 2017 in English (English).

While writing this, I’m uploading a “nuke changeset” which will erase my capital city Markvað almost completely. If you ever visited Markvað, you probably will know why. The city was quite… “edgy”. The reason for this might be interesting, so I’m telling you the history of Markvað and also a short story of my mapping life before I came to OGF.

There is a railway simulation program around, called BAHN (which is just the german word for railroad). It’s not a “typical” railroad simulation - no 3D and also no cockpit simulation. Just plain 2D. You can create quite large networks with it and simulate complex train operations. It’s like a model railroad, however, you can have a model railroad in the size of an entire country. I used to play that game since I was 7 years old (it was 1993), in fact, it was my first computer game. Since then, BAHN evolved quite heavily. Well, I don’t want to make any advertising for this game, so let’s move on.

I had designed a large city in that simulation. And this city became Markvað when I started with OGF. The one more thing you need to know about BAHN is that you can only build tracks in 90 and 45 degrees (and, in the meantime, also 22,5 degrees). And this is the reason why Markvað used to be so rectangular.

In those BAHN days, Markvað was built with the goal in mind to maximize the public transport network to a phantastic density. When I imported the city to OGF, there were about 40+ Metro lines and a very dense tram network (which didn’t make it into OGF, I planned to insert it later). I guess, the new Markvað won’t have so many lines. However, I copied my “maximize the public transport network” dogma to Norðurland (as you can read in the wiki article about the country). So there will be still an almost unrealistic PT density in Markvað. However, I will design it in a way that COULD be real in a country which enforces its citizens to use public transport a lot.

As I returned to Markvað in the last days, I thought, maybe I coud just “wigglify” the city. However, I tried and I wasn’t satisfied. Also, I wanted to build some things different than I did in the first place. So I’ve decided to make a clean break and start all over. So let’s see how the new Markvað will look like.

Footways overdose

Posted by EMKLI on 26 October 2017 in English (English).

Hi there,

Due to some OSM research, it just became clear to me that I possibly overused footways a lot in my cities…

See here or here.

I extensively use footways as “real” footways. However, It seems that in the OSM commuity, this is really uncommon. Footways seem only to be used if they are not situated directly alongside a road.

What do you think? Is my way of using footways totally wrong and I should delete them? Or is this usage tolerable?

Greetings, Markus

Another half year passed by...

Posted by EMKLI on 9 August 2017 in English (English).

Hi everybody!

There’s not much news from my side currently. However, I wanted to send a sign of life that Norðurland, Liboria and Yleväkivet still aren’t abandoned and vacant.

However, I’m still quite disappointed that the User Diaries still seem to be the Nr. 1 location to get and drop information (at least, nothing else seems to be promoted on the site). For non-permanent-active members, this is - still - a massive pain… There is no thematic ordering, no way to scroll back quickly or to get back to a certain topic… For a community like this, a forum woild be a good place, albeit quite “antiqe” nowadays… I didn’t know how the chat/forum dispute at the beginning of the year was solved finally, but at a quick glance, nothing seems to have changed in the last half year.

Concerning my plans for the rest of the year, I started to (re)map parts of the region north-east of Frjálshöfn, including a new airport under construction which will replace both the international and national airports in Frálshöfn city. Currently, I’m also designing road signs for Norðurland. My main focus will be on the small country with the unspeakable name between Norðurland and Slavonia. I want to finish something here in OGF and Norðurland is too big to get this success in the next 5 to 10 years… ;-)

Greetings from Austria, Markus

Map layers in Merkaartor

Posted by EMKLI on 19 July 2017 in English (English).

Hi there!

Due to the fact that I’m on the road and only have my “hacked” armv7h Chromebook with Arch Linux with me, I came to use Merkaartor a little bit because the JRE became horribly slow on the Chromebook these days and JOSM is almost unusable. I quite like Merkaartor. It’s much more simpler and less featured than JOSM, however, it has the really useful feature of building parallel lines in one step (a.k.a. two lane roads).

However, the URL’s from the FAQ to display the map layers in JOSM don’t work for Merkaartor. Does anybody else work with Merkaartor and/or have an Idea of how to display the OGF map layers in it?

Greetings, Markus

Happy 2017 from Norðurland! A small status report

Posted by EMKLI on 1 January 2017 in English (English).

Hi out there, fellow map-o-holics!

it’s been a pretty short year, and many of you brought forward their OGF countries a lot in those 365 days. Me not, unfortunately. I was inactive for at least 75% of the year and Norðurland still is a quite empty country. This country is so freakin’ huge (well, I knew this in the first place…), I guess it will take years to fill it up with life to a satisfying amount. And the more I work with OGF and the more I come to the details, the more I recognize how hard I struggle with those details.

However, I was more active in the last quarter of the year. And for 2017, I hope that I will spend more hours here with you than last year. I admire your creativity - lots of ambitious projects on the map and beside. So beautiful to see such an active, friendly, thriving and creative commutinty evolve! We have a real nice project here (If you didn’t recognized so far ;-) ).

During the last month, I mostly fixed errors from very early edits (still way more to fix here) and refined things that were roughly sketched in the first place. I finally started do work on Norðurland’s still very edgy coastline with the help of a graphics tablet, GIMP and Inkscape. Things move on slowly, but they move.

At the moment, I follow 2 larger projects:

  • Coast refinement in north-eastern Norðurland, with many fjords, islands and lakes

  • Since today, Norðurland is a little bit smaller, because there is a new citizen in town: the country with the ineffable name of Ruhtinaskunta Yleväkivet (the principality of Yleväkivet) lies between Norðurland and Slavonia. The spoken language is Vinnic. This language is the remains of an older, mostly dead or further evolved language family that was spoken around the Vinn sea. Vinnic is based on - surprise - Finnish.

My goal is to focus on the full completion of that country. It is small scale and I have the feeling that I need such a small project that I can finish in a certain time. This will also be my place where I will experiment with details I haven’t tagged so far. So, most of my mapping efforts during the next months will concentrate on Yleväkivet. It is a highland country with deep valleys, maybe quite like Andorra (but still a little bit larger). It forms a customs union with Norðurland for a long time. The union was formed during the military regime in Norðurland. The parliament of Yleväkivet hoped to prevent an annexion with that deal, and they were right. Yleväkivet never was annected by the norlensk regime. Until today, the souverign of the country is the prince of the house of Yleväkivet (which means something like ‘noble/sublime stone’).

Well, so far for now. You’ll see some progress in Yleväkivet during the next week - hopefully. ;-)

Happy mapping in 2017 and a freakin’ good year for all of you!

"Map Porn" on Facebook - maybe a good place to look for intersted mappers?

Posted by EMKLI on 15 December 2016 in English (English).

Hi there,

on Facebook, I’m following a group called Map Porn. They share Posts about maps and things about maps of any kind. Take a look:

Maybe we could contact the admin team and ask if they would like to feature OGF on their page. What do you think, is this kind of “active marketing” useful?

Greetings, Markus

Rendering intervals

Posted by EMKLI on 12 December 2016 in English (English).


I have a question especially to the admin team. My edits north of the polar circle take unusually long to be seen on the map during the last days and were only partly completed (the rendering process seemed to stop an a certain line which randomly(?) matches with the northern polar circle). Currently, it took more than one day even on the higher zoom levels until the content shows up, and somehow, on one zoom level, the map wasn’t updated for three days. And some edits around the Frederikshöfn area show up only partly on different map styles and only different zoom levels, too. I’ve never experienced that kind of weird rendering behaviour. Were/are there any rendering problems? And in general, what are the rendering intervals for the map?

Greetings, Markus

Non-vectorized editing?

Posted by EMKLI on 10 December 2016 in English (English).

Hello there, fellow mappers!

I’ve started the first major approach to shape the coastline of north-eastern Norðurland. It’s not that easy, because I have a vast fjord scape in mind. I hinted that in one of my early mapping sessions with that “saber-tooth shape” of the coastline. Now, I finally want to map the whole thing out.

But there’s a problem: the details. When you take some minutes to closely inspect this (not so) random snippet of the norwegian coastline:

you’ll see that there are dozens of hundreds of islands, all in a very rough shape. A realistic rocky fjord coastline is suchlike rutted that it is almost impossible to map it out completely in this century, eypecially on such a length. What you see in the linked map is a coastline of ca. 30 km while the coastline which I intend to “fjordize” (from Frederikshöfn northwards, measured straight, without those cuts) is 3000 km - just mainland, not the huge islands… This means millons of small isles and thousands of narrow and wide cuts, fjords and lots of frustration…

I think that it’s definatly not feasible with vector editing. At least not alone and/or in a reasonable time frame. During all my mapping sessions, i realized that I really struggle with imitating natural landscape shapes on a reasonable level of detail with vectors. It would be so much easier to solve this with “paint style” editing - just paint an area with a pen tool and shape it with a pen tool of another color. For me, this feels more natural and more easy when it comes to coastline editing. Take a look at the map again and imagine the process: first, there is only the “white” mainland. Then, you paint the blue ocean - and then, you take a pen tool and start “cutting out” the islands and fjords, getting finer over time. This is so much easier than defining all those millions of vector nodes and move them in place, adding new ones to existing lines with those +es, always unintentionally moving the whole shape and getting ugly results…

Well, but we all know that OSM/OGF is all about vectors. However - is there a way to draw a two-color-map in Gimp/Krita/Photoshop/… and vectorize it afterwards to import it into JOSM? I know that there are some free vectorizers around in the Linux world, however I didn’t found them on the fly and of course, I have to figure out how to use them - well, i have to figure out anyway, but I thought, maybe one of you guys have already used one or have a different idea?

I really would appreciate your advice!

Undo of whole changesets

Posted by EMKLI on 2 December 2016 in English (English).

Hi there!

During the last days, I was the victim of several “rookie attacks”, there were unwanted modifications in my country from several new editors (i think you all experienced this kind of edits). Even if those edits are quite small and localized in general, it would be quite comfortable to just undo the changeset the user made. Is there any way to implement this?

Greetings and happy mapping! Markus

"Gulf stream" in the OGF world

Posted by EMKLI on 25 December 2015 in English (English).

Hello, brave mappers out there! Before the new continents were created, I already had the idea that my southwestern coast could benefit from a warm maritime stream which brings a mild climate to the shores. Now that the new continents are there, I would propose something like a “gulf stream” and hope that my proposal is okay with you.

Island bridge between Norðurland and ER138?

Posted by EMKLI on 9 December 2015 in English (English).

I just thought that it would be quite nice to build an island “bridge” between our “old world” and the “new world”. When you look on the map, there is half of such a bridge between ER139 and the eastern shore of Norðurland. It would be nice if this island arc would be a liiiiiittle longer, so that it might come quite close to Norðurland’s shore.

I don’t imply that those islands must belong to Norðurland or to ER139; it could also be a third, completely new country. What do you think?