Ramasham has commented on the following diary entries

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Feedback almost 4 years ago

Howdy! As a fellow Texan who’s been to Childress, I want to agree with others that you’ve done a nice job depicting a small high plans town that looks almost lost in an expanse of farm and rangeland. The grid may not be popular with everyone, but that’s just how all of those plains towns are laid out.

You might consider adding some roads (or more likely tracks) across the countryside, probably also in something like a grid (though not a perfect one). That will make viewers think farm and grazing land rather than wilderness when looking at your map.

My country, Castine, has a region with a high plains / west Texan climate, too. MC mentioned he wanted to see a west Texan landscape in OGF, and awhile back I actually took a wag at this around here. The three shades are natural= scrub (most vegetation, like arroyo bottomlands and hillsides with favorable drainage) landuse=farmyard (less vegetation, but still suitable for rangeland) to untagged (least vegetation, for mesa/hilltops and flatland away from even intermittent water). Im stretching the definition of landuse=farmyard to include rangeland, but when I made it natural=grassland, which renders bright green, the area looked more like Louisiana than Texas.

Anyway, curious what any interested folks think of how it turned out.

County name rendering almost 4 years ago

For what it’s worth, I’ve noticed that not all changes render at the same time. Changes to my coastline, for example, usually take a day or so to show up even as the rest of the changes render within 5 minutes or so. This leads to temporary oddities like a new beach area that’s hugging the modified coastline showing up in its intended position while the coastline itself remains as it was.

I’ve observed the same with my county-level (admin_level=4) borders. If a county border is following a river, and I change the course of the river, the river change will render in 5 minutes, but the border change will take a day to catch up, even though the river and border reference the same way! Methinks it has to do with the zoom level at which the changes render.

TLDR: wait a day and everything will render as you expected.

Let's talk about Älved (and other philosophical things) about 4 years ago

We haven’t spoken, but I’ve followed your work. I heartily agree with zhenkang that your landform mapping sets the highest standard. I have a hard time thinking of anywhere in our world where the shape of the land comes through more clearly and elegantly than the slopes of the mountains that separate your puszta from the rest of your country. I don’t need the help of a contour layer to create a 3D image of those peaks in my head.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts - this work is my form of meditation, too, and can you believe it took me 6 months of JOSM to figure out that I didn’t need to click node by node, missing half the time, to follow a way. I’m amazed I got anything done in those early days :)

Hoping to continue to be inspired by your work around our world.

Motorways abound in newly formed countries. about 4 years ago

LemonKing: +1. I think you’ve made a great point, new mappers will naturally gravitate toward features they find familiar, features that are relatively simple to map given they’re fighting to master the editing tools, and, above all, features they find FUN to map.

So what’s the harm in letting folks go to work on motorways while climbing the steep JOSM learning curve? An experienced mapper would start a new country by zooming way out and spending weeks or months to lay out its ‘skeleton’. That’s slow and it’s difficult: creating all those diverse natural features takes a much higher skill level than a does a good-looking motorway.

But an experienced mapper has already made his share of beautiful maps and doesn’t mind the slog. When I was new, though, I remember uploading a half dozen changesets a night just to gaze with love at the single city block or interchange I’d just uploaded.

Our new mappers have been at work on their countries for less than a month; I say give em a grace period to have fun and learn before sending out critiques that aren’t asked for.


  1. I’m one of those who really enjoys mapping natural features and countryside. I like that idea of a collaboration where mapper A lays out the natural features, after which B tackles the built ones. Invitations considered :)

  2. Coincidentally, I am finishing a forum post that is motivated by the bad reputation motorwaus have built up here. It will provide data on motorway lengths per ‘000 people and per km^2 for real world countries of varying sizes, geographic constraints and income levels. My aim is to show that having a certain density of motorways is simply an element of verisimilitude, and doesn’t automatically signify bad mapping. I’m afraid that our new mappers might be concluding that they are terrible at maps just because they draw a freeway :)

Vivion Dealing Warheads about 4 years ago

But… but… it was an entertaining thread? Tell me overdiarification isn’t really a thing.

P.S. castine’s power grid is 80%ish nuke. Observers of our two most prominent metro areas will find 6 operating pressurized water reactors plus one more under construction, but no hidden sites. ‘Peaceful uses only.’

OGF tutorials for all users to learn about how to do stuff on ogf about 4 years ago

I’m very late to the party but perhaps the OPs request was dismissed too quickly? The OP asked how to make a hill, for example… and that strikes me as a very good, very non trivial question.

Setting aside topo layer (a good thing to set aside for a first cut :), the job of creating a hill that a viewer can really visualize just from the shapes and curves of its defining landuses, built features, cliffs, ridges (oops never mind… oh how I wish those rendered), etc. is hard. That being said, I can think of a half dozen places where it’s done well, and in each place it’s done differently.

The labor-intensive way to try to help would be for someone to go collect the cords of various effective hills. The more efficient solution is probably just to refer the questioner to the featured maps, I suppose…

Realistic Mapping about 4 years ago

@stjur: +1. An emotional connection, yes, definitely. I’m in love with Castine and the whole OGF world. Of course I daydream about living in my country, but I also daydream about taking the train over to Jade Coast International and hopping one of the new nonstops to be a tourist in Canan-Yar. I think this emotional connection both strengthens and weakens my mapping, weakens because I often don’t add the blemishes to my country along with the ornaments.

As far as advice to new mappers, I’d say give your style room and time to mature. Take on a small town or area first, then move to another part of your country and apply what you learned to a second, bigger, project. I feel like my style stabilized at the fourth iteration, but I’ve no plans to go back and update earlier efforts. Let them stand for the historical record :)

Names of Places and Roads. about 4 years ago

I have a spreadsheet with lists of the names of my country’s prime ministers, other prominent historical figures, major rivers and mountains, provinces, cities and larger towns, universities, national parks, maybe a couple of other things.

I also have lists of the plants and animals that live in my part of the world (to make this I mixed real West African plants and animals with some names generated by FantasyNameGenerators, here’s one of their generators I used:

When I’m naming the smaller streets in a new town I’ll usually just grab one of these lists and cycle through it. That’s both plausible and helpful to make the town feel uniquely like it belongs in my country and nowhere else. I always pick custom names for tertiary roads and above, though, to make sure each town is distinct from others.

All that still means I had to come up with a lot of names, but I only had to do it one time! Hope that is helpful.

Colonist powers about 4 years ago

I am not sure that I agree with you. I would suggest that because many people did choose to have an Ingerish influence, maybe not so many people would be pleased if there was a lot of pressure to take it away. I think that the admins have been smart to give us each a lot of space to define any back story we want for our own countries, as long as it’s a plausible one. They’d probably draw the line at a country colonized by the survivors of the Battlestar Galactica.

That having been said, my country, Castine ( is bilingual, with Ingerish and Franquese the official languages. I felt like I had a leg to stand on with my backstory for why this is the case because the two countries, both former colonies, that occupy the equivalent territory in our world are Senegal (French-speaking) and Gambia (English-speaking).

So looking at the cultural influences in a similar area of ‘our’ world might help give you ideas. Your wiki says you’re on the north coast of Tarephia, so you could take a look at louis_walker’s country, Ayir Ahali Al-Khaza ( His our-world geographical analog is probably Algeria or Libya, but just from looking at his conlang and the mapping in his capital city I would say that his culture is (in our-world terms) turkic former nomads who conquered or settled in the country sometime after the previous late classical Greek / Byzantine inhabitants had suffered a catastrophe that gravely weakened their state (too bad he isn’t able to claim the next country over, heh). There are lots of chances to pick up on part of that story line for your country.

Finally, I absolutely agree that OGF mapping is a great way to learn a language. I knew almost zero French when I started Castine, but learning was as important a personal goal as mapping. And it’s worked, for example just diligently naming everything has given me a solid vocabulary. It’s never felt like a chore either: “hmm, in this next town let’s say they named all the streets after… fruit!” is just more fun than staring at some list of words… can’t recommend using OGF as an excuse to learn a language strongly enough.

New Territory about 4 years ago

Hi Kayuza,

Shipping from my port of Tarkenton would use your strait as it would shave several hundred km off of the trip around TA09:

If you like I can put a small port and trade district in one of your cities to service my ships and represent the ties between our countries. We’re nearly neighbors after all!

City Sprint 2019: That's a Wrap! about 4 years ago

Louis, thank you so much for initiating this and seeing it through! I’m having a hard time thinking of anything more positive that anyone has done to advance the development of the OGF world.

As far as your mapping, bravo! On gross items uploaded you pipped me, by a rough count I had 89k last month. But quality is what counts and I see that it is there. I’m really looking forward to your next post giving us a tour of your capital.

In the meantime, I’ll keep plugging away at my city. Did you know that a unique type of horse archery was invented there? The Emerere School sponsors tournaments where contestants ride high speed away from a pursuit target mounted on a narrow-gauge rail track while shooting said target over their shoulders. It grew out of a history of the area’s bow-armed militia having to constantly flee from opponents armed with actual guns.

Anyone skilled in OGF geography ? about 4 years ago

Howdy from a fellow Tarephian. I own Castine on the west coast ( I’m really interested in climates and what shapes them, and just like you I did a good deal of thinking about my country’s climate before I did any serious mapping.

Tarephia has a lot in common with Africa in terms of latitude and location relative to other continents, so that’s where I looked for analogs in our world. For Castine, I settled on Senegal as the closest, which is fantastic because it has a huge range of climates for such a small country.

But let’s turn to Sudharka. In the tropics, the major driver of climate is rainfall and the major driver of rainfall is latitude. That’s because most of the rainfall is derived from the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), a globe-circling strip of rain and thunderstorms that forms where the subtropical trade winds from the northern and southern hemispheres come together. The ITCZ oscillates around the equator annually, always moving toward whichever hemisphere is experiencing summer.

Generally, locations within +/- 5-10 degrees of the equator will always be inside the ITCZ, so they’ll experience a tropical rainforest climate. That’s what’s assumed for much of Commonia in the OGF world, I believe. Farther from the equator, rainfall will be seasonal with a summer wet season and very dry conditions for the rest of the year. Those are the tropical savanna or wet-and-dry climates.

But since you’re so close to the equator, it would seem like a uniformly wet rainforest climate is what you’d have. That’s what almost all east coast locations at that latitude experience. But if we look at cities of similar latitude on the east coast of Africa we have a surprise.

Mombasa (4.0 deg S): unusual savanna climate low-moderate rainfall (107 cm/yr) but no pronounced wet/dry seasons (,

Mogadishu (2.0 deg N): semi-arid climate, 43 cm/yr (

By contrast, in South America Macapa, Brazil (2.2 deg N) receives 254 cm/yr and is within the Amazon rainforest biome.

So why is equatorial East Africa is unusually dry? Two things seem to be at play. First, ocean current and monsoon dynamics make the ocean temperature along the coast cooler than it ‘should’ be given the latitude, which suppresses evaporation. Since the OGF continents are laid out like those of our world, particularly with an India-like landmass to your northeast, it’s a fair bet this would happen along eastern Tarephia as well. On the other hand, the waters in that bay your country faces would be sheltered from this effect, and that bay is probably big enough to generate a decent amount of rainfall on its own.

Second, humid air moving east from the Congo basin in Central Africa runs into the Ethiopian and Kenyan highlands. This sets up a rain shadow effect where the highlands squeeze the moisture from the air. Some highlands in Ethiopia receive a tremendous amount of rain, but since you’re on a coastal location this would only matter if you create some sharp topography. Then I think you’d want to consider that highlands would probably catch a lot more rainfall than your lowlands. So is there a big mountain range running down the eastern spine of Tarephia (as in, through TA13, Vodeo, Hleziria)? I have no clue!

TL;DR: For Sudharka, I think you could come up with a reasonable justification for any type of climate in the lowlands from semi-arid through rainforest. Any highlands you create would be wetter, though I think you’d need to have above 2,000 m of elevation gain if you wanted semi-arid lowlands to coexist with lush forested uplands.

Hope that’s helpful!

Diversity about 4 years ago

I agree with you in principle, one of the pillars of verisimilitude should be that mapping reflects a realistic range of economic conditions. That should be true within countries as well as between countries.

But I think it would be very hard to turn this concept into any kind of directive for OGF mappers to follow. I’m not sure how many people are like me, but I admit that there is an idealistic element to my mapping. When I try to add beautiful things to my maps, whether natural or human-made, there’s always the thought “this would make somebody happy” in the back of my mind. Therefore, I am guilty of creating a utopia, albeit a moderately realistic one.

The problem for me is that if I were told not to do this, mapping would be a lot less fun for me. Maybe it’s immature, but I think that a day spent mapping hillside favelas, trying to convey the misery of the conditions there through the map, would drain my soul instead of nourishing it. Sure, there might be technical satisfaction from doing it well, but that’s not the number one reason I’m here.

In my defense, the people of Castine have lots of nuclear power plants and plenty of other gritty stuff, so I’m not creating a land of only sunshine and rainbows. Still, I feel like we have to accept that OGF will never be and is not meant to be simply a carbon copy of the real world with the names changed to protect the innocent.

Mythology reflected in mapping about 4 years ago

I enjoyed the article as well. Whether backstory like this shows up in the wiki or is conveyed through the map itself, I feel like it’s a key (and often overlooked) element of verisimilitude. In believable places, certain dates, religious or mythological figures, national heroes, and so forth will show up over and over again, consistently, in streets, towns, important buildings and monuments. And when I explore a well-mapped corner of the world and find those places and names and dates, I want to find out the backstory.

I will echo an earlier comment: liberally sprinkle your wiki article with links to map locations and objects in the map. I think the objective of a good wiki article is for the reader to spend as little time in the article as possible but instead get drawn over and over into exploring the map and finding all the little treasures you have hidden away. You did a great job of this in your note with the stone, for example.

Another thing to try is to get around the wiki by using the map to tell the story. I’ll give a tiny example. I have a town that hopefully feels like a 19th century planned community laid out by a very rich, civic minded tycoon. This tycoon set up many parks, squares, monumental artworks, and statues, each with an inscription explaining the significance of the date or person it is depicting.

Anyone interested enough to query features around town will learn quite a bit about Castine’s first two prime ministers, its first war hero, the decisive battle in its independence war, two key dates every schoolchild knows, and will even see a picture of Ermentrude, the patron saint of Castine. It’s like a wiki article but in the map, the drawback being that nobody might ever notice it.

The general location of all that stuff is

Mapper's Challenge #26 — December 2018 — It's all fun and games… over 4 years ago

Fun challenge! I’ve really appreciated looking through my fellow mappers’ work. There are a lot of talented and creative people here. At the same time, it’s interesting to see that several of us put a Geolympiad-capable multi-sport facility in our larger cities (mine is [ Athletica Tarkenton], which has two light rail stops and a football stadium used by the city’s top professional club). To me, this feels like one of those boxes to be checked for a city to have risen above national to regional or world prominence, even if it’s never hosted the Geolympiad.

Let’s see… I imagine that my Jade Coast metro area, with its green, pretty landscapes, and tolerable climate (most of the time) is full of outdoorsy folks. So it would have a famous marathon. I picked a scenic route for it and created a course of the correct length: [ The Isles Marathon Course]. There are 7 km along a wide beach, 2 km inside a Disney-style theme park, and other treats for the runners. Good thing the race is in January when it’s 22 C, clear and dry instead of July, where 28 C with downpours and 90% humidity is the norm.

Finally, and this isn’t likely to win me the crown of King of Verisimilitude, there is this improbable (but buildable) sports facility: [ Freeze the Coast]. Imagine the good citizens of the Jade Coast came into the kind of money that Dubai has to throw around. Then some enterprising soul would clearly decide there was a market for an indoor (obviously) winter sports park.

(Since I wanted to show the interior, I ended up just mapping an outer shell as building=yes, which I’m not crazy about… ).

The place seems ridiculous, but I researched everything in Freeze the Coast and there’s a precedent for it all. Kind of.

Freeze the Coast has downhill skiing. Specifically an 0.55 km run, starting from 105 m above ground level. That’s about the same as Ski Dubai and half the size of Meydan One, which is what I loosely based it on:

Freeze the Coast has two indoor ski jumps. Appropriately-sized in-runs and landing areas are included. They have hill sizes (HS) of 95 and 118 meters and fall into the Normal and Large hill Olympic classifications. They are smaller than the indoor jumps planned for Wernigerode in Germany:

Freeze the Coast has an Olympic-length (1.3 km) bobsled and luge track. I’ll fess up here, since I have no clue about this sport I freehand copied (not sketched) the course at Winterberg to get an appropriate number of turns, turn radii, etc. There is no existing indoor bobsled track, but since they are basically engineered ice tunnels I don’t see a big deal with building one indoors if money is no object. Heck, Sanki (the course used at the Sochi Olympics, may as well be indoors since the whole tube is on supports that raise it off the ground (too warm there, heat conduction would melt it). So Freeze the Coast has this descending, twisting, bobsled tube, that looks like a giant waterslide at a water park. It even leaves and reenters the building before reaching bottom near the base of the ski run. The whole run would have to be insulated and constantly cooled with ammonia to keep the ice frozen.

All-day admission is only 1 199 CECU per person. (A coffee usually runs about 12 CECU). Certain liability waivers must be signed before riding the bobsled track.