Any botanists?

Posted by Paxtar on 26 June 2016 in English (English)

Cleared entry.

Comment from Luciano on 29 June 2016 at 03:27

I feel badly seeing no one has answered this. I'm not sure I can help, either, but here are some thoughts - my own perspective.

I think trying to replicate major biomes (eco regions) is a good approach. I have some paper (offline) sketches that provide me with guidelines for that, and when I place my land cover polygons, I allow the biome type that I imagine predominating in an area be the main land cover I place (scrub, wood, heath, etc). But for the more local, micro biome level, I am essentially random - I just go for a kind random distribution of e.g. wood polygons in an predominantly scrubland area, etc.

If you're looking for specifics as far as species of plants, etc.,.. that's hard. I'm not informed enough to really decide, so my approach is impressionistic. I've had some discussions with Udi about these kinds of details, but I don't have much to bring to the conversation.

I will add as caveat - I know my current ground cover polygon system in the Ardisphere is not very realistic at high zooms, but bear in mind that I'm trying for maximum impressionistic realism AT LOW ZOOMS, right now, with the intention to go in and do a second pass refining the detail later on.

As far what to search for, what I tend to do is study ecoregion maps and groundcover maps. There is actually some interesting work being done with this using OSM as a base. Anyway if you google something like "biome maps" you can see a lot of what I have been looking at.

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Comment from Paxtar on 29 June 2016 at 14:38

I thought asking was a bit of a shot in the dark, but worth trying. Actually worked out since Udi messaged me and provided a lot of food for thought, and some inspiration on how I should approach things.

I recently rediscovered the word Biome, which brought back memories of SimEarth, and got me on the right track. Thank you for suggesting biome maps, and ground cover maps.

I'm going to try to identify the major biomes in my territory, and then use that as a basis for what is actually mapped. Do you know of any locations on OSM or OGF that are especially good examples of what can be done? Wood, scrub, heath, fell, grassland is pretty limiting. It it worth adding tags like leaf_type= or grassland=?

Thank you for your help!

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Comment from Ūdilugbulgidħū on 29 June 2016 at 23:48

Thanks Luciano - as Paxtar says, we've already had a few useful exchanges - and I hope we may have more.

The existing biome is a fundamental part of what any land-cover map is trying to interpret. A major failing of OGF is that this usually follows other aspects in the development of a country, if it follows at all. Imagine how differently a country might be developed if a map like this of places in the OGF world existed before a country became 'owned'.

I totally accept that a map like that would be a strong imposition on the developer of a country. However, I also see that if we don't aim for something like this, long term, the whole OGF project rests on some pretty shaky foundations, making it increasingly less believable. Perhaps that is too strong, but we do have some consensus (and a lot of photographic evidence) that we're mapping a world that has strong similarities to our own. Shouldn't we work out what was there before human impacts, and what the natural world implies should be there, before we start our detailed mapping of infrastructure and what are basically human impacts on the environment? That's my personal view, anyway.

Happy mapping Udi

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Comment from Luciano on 1 July 2016 at 02:17

@Udi - that's a very awesome map you linked to. I am now wondering if I might try to create something like that for one of my countries - a biome multimap - maybe like that linguistic map I made. Someday.

Anyway, I would only caveat that I don't think we should go in the direction of providing such detailed "pre-mapped" territories. Rather, we should encourage territory owners to develop their own biome information as part of their own development work, and working with the "big picture" to ensure continuity and realism. The best way to do this is to develop methods and tools so that this information is visible and well-explained. I guess this goes back to the above - I think the next steps should be to try to develop realistic biome maps for own territories (or for blue territories like Commonia), and roll them out to the community. This will get others on board.

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Comment from Ūdilugbulgidħū on 1 July 2016 at 12:06

The only problem is that verisimilitude implies that the world has developed in a logical and consistent way. Inputting individual biome information without a framework that follows real world rules will inevitably lead to inconsistencies, which make the OGF world less believable. Methods and tools that link the 'information' about OGF world to the mapped result would have to involve top level development of biomes BEFORE country development; this is because it is very hard (you might say impossible) to retro-actively develop a global biome map based on individual countries. As an example, a 'temperate biome' country mapped in a tropical location breaks the verisimilitude rule, and when other countries round about start to adhere more closely to what should be there under the laws of physics, these inconsistencies become increasingly apparent. Even if neighbours come to an agreement about why the region is cooler than it apparently should be, that in itself becomes part of a framework, which has been developed collaboratively. It becomes a bigger problem the more the OGF world develops, and if individual countries don't co-operate it becomes impossible.

In short, verisimilitude imposes these rules. I agree that individual country owners should develop their own terrain information, but the biome, like lat/long and climate is a SHARED global condition which, if it is not imposed (as e.g. lat/long is), has to be developed collaboratively, not individually. The earlier this happens the easier it will be.

Biomes are closely related to biogeography, the effects of evolution and vegetation history, which again are complex conditions which can only be developed globally.

I uploaded a biome map for Commonia a while back, but haven't got round to an article for it. It should go in the Commonia wiki as a start, now some of Commonia is actually mapped to reflect it.

A compromise might be a 'suggested framework' for biomes to act as a guideline for country development - following the example of the climate framework. Perhaps we could work out how to do this. I'm not sure there is a way that will get everyone on board - but some biome multimaps would be awesome, I agree.

Is this also something we could think about developing for the 'new continents' before we go on to mapping them?

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