Sarepava's diary

Recent diary entries

January mappers' challenge

Posted by Sarepava on 31 January 2019 in English (English).

The Mappers Challenge got buried under a long list of newer diary entries, so as today is the 31st Jan I will post about my contribution here:

My land area is part of the Majos Valley, the flood plain of the biggest river in Karolia and two national parks:

The peaceful landscape is largely grassland [landuse: check] and has only a few gentle hills which the river meanders around. On the higher ground the grasses become heathland [landuse: check]. The river has shifted course a lot in its history and many oxbow lakes and ponds exist [landuse: check], as well as extensive reed beds [check] and wet meadows [check]. Some of the watercourses are man-made, from attempts to farm aquatic produce and fish, as well as manage the drainage off the land.

‘Limited infrastructure’ means few roads. Instead the railway and long-distance cycle and footpaths are the access to this area. These run on boardwalks over the marshy ground, and also on a special bridge over the railway line. This wasn’t strictly necessary as traffic is light enough for a level crossing, but it was built to allow a view and information displays about the grasslands towards Majoslinna, the town built on a kopje (an eccentric thrust of hard rock). Cycle route K1 is a high-quality dedicated path that runs right up Karolia from Santjana to the mountains and visits important sites and cities. On this branch line, trains have cycle spaces installed to facilitate day trips and cycle tourism. It’s considered important to make alternatives to car use more attractive here to protect the environment in this landscape hence the lack of roads. Numerous species of water birds, aquatic reptiles and insects live here. Very occasionally river dolphins swim this far north from the coast, hunting fish.

Might be an interesting read for urban mapping

Posted by Sarepava on 5 October 2018 in English (English).

Started adding some of these to Santjana and it really works. I propose an informal ‘law’ in Karolia that if people create these the civic planners won’t obstruct them, and maybe consider adding proper surfaces if widely used.

Four year anniversay

Posted by Sarepava on 13 December 2017 in English (English).

Today, 13th December, marks four years since I was granted an OGF identity and started editing. I think the User Diary is an excellent place to say a few words to mark this date.

Firstly would like to thank isleno and the other admins for making this site possible and, in general, keeping it as one of the more civil corners of the internet.

In this time I have developed a great deal as a mapper. I’ve done a lot of studying and examination of the real world and also a lot of revision of earlier areas. Particularly, this year I decided to remake the capital of Karolia and am now a lot happier with how it looks (and of course there is a lot more still to do). I don’t think I could have had this city looking satisfactory without the years of practice in other areas and the headspace to keep working out what my country is about in ever greater detail.

Projects by other mappers I have enjoyed watching have included Myrcia’s Dunwic, which has also been subject to revision and improvement in the last year; Tparigo’s Brocelliande which has extraordinary detail, and Ernestpcosby’s similar improvements to Quentinsburgh.

I hope the new forum becomes a lively and useful place for sharing of technique and debate between all users, new and old.

Sarepava (Karolia)

Rebuilding Säntjana

Posted by Sarepava on 26 September 2017 in English (English).

I feel time has come to start work on a complete revision of Säntjana, the Karolian capital. After a very short consideration I concluded that wholesale deletion of the city centre was the only way to go forward this, and whilst the basic layout of areas and important landmarks will be maintained in the new incarnation, the scale, logic and detail of the city will be much improved after four years of mapping.

The reason I am posting this in the User Diaries is because a number of you had embassies in the city, which I’ve had to temporarily delete. However I will make sure these are rebuilt in similar locations when the new street grid is in place. I may also make revisions to the two airports so again will endeavour to make sure any flight information on the wiki matches the live map.

A more detailed bliki entry on the start of this huge project will follow once more mapping is done. Suffice to say even after two hours’ work I am already much more satisfied with the Old Town and terminus station. I have a much clearer idea of the evolution of the city and plan to be working my way through time starting with the medieval city and moving outwards.

For those who like to spot that sort of thing, there will be nods towards the layout of Tallinn, Copenhagen, Budapest and Vienna amongst others.

Cycling provision in OGF cities

Posted by Sarepava on 27 June 2017 in English (English).

The OGF planet is even more industrialised than the real world, even though only half the world has been mapped so far. It is thus inevitable that the problems of worldwide climate change, air pollution and fossil fuel shortages would likely be even more advanced than in real life. Whilst we can expect there to be a comparable battle of words and politics going on between governments, the green movement, the oil and auto industries and private citizens, it seems likely that efforts to tackle these problems would be at a different stage to the real world - hopefully more advanced. Either way, the likely state of the world is that oil is getting more expensive as it runs out, and this is going to have the biggest impact on transport.

With this in mind, how advanced is the cycling culture and provision in your country, specifically your cities? It is going to be almost inevitable that citizens are economically pushed towards both electric cars and bikes, and enlightened and democratic governments are going to realise the latter is the better choice to encourage. As a keen cyclist myself, I’ve started mapping in much greater detail the urban cycling provision of Karolia, which is at an almost Netherlands-like level (with somewhat less exclusion of motor vehicles from the city centres, but deliberately limited car parking vs adequate bike parking) and with a comparable cycling culture where cars are seen as a secondary option to be used on longer journeys or when heavy items must be carried. By contrast, perhaps your territory has a piecemeal provision that makes some cheap fixes but overall still favours cars, or is an outright hostile environment for anyone not driving.

I’ve been pleased to see a growing network of segregated and efficient cycleways in Gobras City, a metropolis that must surely have appalling traffic and a metro that is likely hot and crowded in its current state. It seems like a pretty good city to ride in, with the pushes described above and the additional pulls of being flat and having a decent amount of green spaces.

Some potentially useful tools...

Posted by Sarepava on 12 April 2017 in English (English).

Hi fellow mappers!

In the last couple of days I’ve mostly busied myself with building the Philipsson tram - see my bliki - but have also stumbled across several things on the wider web that may be of use to us all.

The first is an open-source program called Makehuman. As the name suggests, it is a 3D CAD software for creating models of people. There have been several discussions about the issues around using photos of real people on the wiki, and I think this may be an answer, as it allows the user to create quite realistic virtual people with great freedom over features, pose and other aspects. The program is also quite easy to use, and more experienced users can export the models into Blender for advanced editing. I will put up some examples on my bliki in due course.

The second is a (propitiatory) video game called Cities: Skylines. This is a detailed and seemingly highly realistic city simulator that can create very large metropolis areas with all the infrastructure, growth and economic issues town planners have to face. I am not suggesting that you all rush out and download the game, but watching some gameplay videos on YouTube might be a good introduction to the way physical map features massively affect how a city works. There was one where a user redid all his bus lines to make them serve the rail stations and his economy grew by a whopping amount because ti cut commuting times. Anyway, I’ve bought the game and intend to try and recreate some Karolian cities to see if they really ‘work’.

There are also some very informative YouTube videos on transport topics, such as ‘why are trains so expensive?’ (the answer is a surprisingly good one).

Stay tuned for an update on the tram model build.



Posted by Sarepava on 30 March 2017 in English (English).

Remodelling bits of maps has been a theme in the last week and I decided to go back to one of my earliest areas, Fontjana. This wasn’t awful, but it was a typical Potlach creation with untidy lines and crude over-simple buildings. Now I have started redoing the town starting from its centre and working out. Much of the previous incarnation will remain but with more realistic proportions.

The Old Town, unsurprisingly the oldest part of the city, was first priority:

In particular I tried for the first a technique used to great effect in cities in Antharia: using pedestrian area shapes to show the true width of the streets. It gives much better character to this area where there is no separate pavement and roadway (seeing as private motors are not allowed). Finally learned how to use the tag historic=citywalls properly too. Fontjana’s walls are mostly gone on the south and east sides, which allows the single-track tramway to use the gap left between buildings or half of pedestrian streets (somewhat the character of the Helsinki and Dublin LUAS systems). The stop Varashus uses a clever layout to fit two platforms and two tracks into a narrow space (I might make Harjupoorta a single bi-directional platform to better fit the area). As ordinary cars are not allowed (council and some disabled are) and buses do not run in the narrow streets, the tramway is a great asset to tourists and residents, even though it is possibly damaging the old towers and city gates by rumbling so close to them. The tram going through the Harjupoorta actually used to happen in my city:

One thing I’d like to ask you all is how best to show areas in front of restaurants which are used for outside seating. They are not part of public squares (or they may be public property in legal terms but there is a barrier) yet they are not really the same as the ‘beer garden’ tag.

Bizzare...but possible?

Posted by Sarepava on 17 March 2017 in English (English).

Will circular runways ever take off?

What I've been working on

Posted by Sarepava on 22 February 2017 in English (English).

School holidays are on this week and I finally have some time for OGF mapping. I’ve been working on the mountainous Taamras region of north west Karolia, and in particular the area around the small town of Vansiin. It is far from complete but the main features are in place. I have mostly started with the geographical features and added human features afterwards, which I hope creates a realistic landscape.

Vansiin is built in a relatively flat hollow around the confluence of several rivers descending from the surrounding mountains. It is chiefly important for its tourism and skiing, and is home to a large winter sports complex ( with ski jumping slopes and a cable car to reach the top - this is still TBC. In the town itself ( are the town hall and council offices - which typically for Karolia is built slightly larger than one might expect for the size of settlement, as the surrounding rural parish is so vast - the post office and fire station, the church and the usual shops, including a Viika tea house and Jõki skiiwear store. Vansiin has two stations - the one on a branch of the national railway network, with a train generally every 1 hour but more frequently during sports events, and the other on the narrow-gauge rack railway that ascends around 1600m to the summit of Torsa, the sixth highest mountain in Karolia (

Any comments on accuracy or suggestions for other features welcome!

Coffee Break Construction: January 2017

Posted by Sarepava on 4 January 2017 in English (English).

Greetings fellow mappers, it’s time for another quick-build for this month.

Many of us have created fantastic detailed stadiums in our cities for many sports. But teams need training facilities too, so that’s the aim of this months CBC:

Build a training facility for your sports team(s). These will usually be located out of a city for privacy. You might want to include:

  • At least two pitches, possibly more
  • Small grandstands so that second and youth team matches can be played
  • Refectory, gymnasium and storage facilities for the team
  • Offices
  • Parking and delivery areas
  • Access roads and gates

For some inspiration, here’s Southampton FC’s Staplewood campus facility: . You can see at least four pitches plus a training field and other areas. The whole site is enclosed by trees and hardly visible from the main road (I drive past every week) to prevent telephoto lenses capturing what the team are doing.

Coffee Break Construction: December 2016

Posted by Sarepava on 7 December 2016 in English (English).

Luciano’s monthly challenges have helped us all focus our mapping efforts on a particular aspect of the task.

As a compliment to this, I will be starting a series of mini-tasks to bring some suggestions for your maps, and when I say mini, it really is no more than a few minutes’ work - hence the ‘Coffee Break Construction’.

As one seasonal song put it ‘so here it is…’

December 2016 CBC:

Create a music venue in your city. It could be anything from a huge international venue, a historic concert hall or a tiny backstreet jazz club. OSM doesn’t have a specific concert hall icon, so either use ‘theatre’ or ‘bar’ for small venues serving drinks. Consider the clientele and styles of music being performed. Will there need to be access for roadies in large trucks? Are there shops and bars within large venues?

Share links to your creations below. Happy mapping!


Posted by Sarepava on 4 December 2016 in English (English).

It seems to be the month for asking feedback on a particular area, so here’s my request:

I have been working on Känton for nearly a year and the street grid is practically complete. What I am interested in is your comments on the provision of facilities. Do I need more schools, hospitals, police stations, supermarkets, etc? Are there any significant buildings I’ve overlooked? Are the various ‘webs’ of residential cul-de-sacs at a realistic scale?

The city is very ‘intellectual-economy’-based but should there be more industry?

Even considering the city is ‘car-unfriendly’, should there be more parking? Or more out-of-town park and ride areas? I am not happy with the University junction 4 - how could this be remodelled?

Is the S-Raud depot big enough or should another one be built elsewhere (there is a small depot at Arpeiva)? What about the bus depot? Is the curve too tight for mainline trains?

Karolia is one of the least religious countries in the world - should there be more churches?

Does the topography seem right? The city’s lowest level is around 50-60m above sea level, so are the hills realistically high? Is an incline needed around the Haaluptee area to explain the large meander?

Finally, the population of the greater metropolitan area (so not just the city proper, but Kasmila, Taasialinn, Jorvaraanta and other satellite towns is supposed to be 530,000. Does this seem realistic? There is a lot of building and planning going on to expand greenfield and brownfield sites in the suburbs.

I am aware there are a lot more streets to name…

JOSM issue

Posted by Sarepava on 24 November 2016 in English (English).

I have recently started experiencing a highly irritating problem in JOSM - objects are randomly rotated without my moving them. It appears to be occurring when I switch to another window, and causes massive damage to my map. I have been very careful to check everything is deselected when panning, scaling or rotating anything, yet the problem persists.

Any advice?

3D printing

Posted by Sarepava on 23 November 2016 in English (English).

Hi all,

I have been experimenting with 3D printing a model of a Karolian train. You can read all about it on my own ‘bliki’:

On a vaguely related note, I sold my first 3D-printed item on my Etsy shop today too.

Sort-of mapper's challenge

Posted by Sarepava on 20 October 2016 in English (English).

I say sort-of because whether it counts as ‘rural detail’ is debatable - but I’ve created some motorway services. These seem to be overlooked in a lot of the OGF world but are essential to any highway network.

Poiylka Services

The access is slightly unusual as the facilities serve both sides of the A20 and also act as a junction for the nearest village. Land could not be acquired on the opposite side, and traffic is light enough not to require doubling of facilities. The service area is one of the smaller ones on the Karolian motorway network

The services have a sit-down buffet restaurant, a fast-food outlet, a cafe and a general store. Toilets, drinking water and showers are available (the first two are legal requirements in Karolia) as well as WiFi, an interactive traffic information point and an old-fashioned phone, There are 10 spaces for electric vehicles with charging points as well as a fuel station for all vehicles. The lawn at the rear of the building has a children’s playground and a picnic area as well as information about the landscape and wildlife of the region. A motel with meeting rooms has recently been built on the site. KAP, the Karolian breakdown service, have a tow truck based here too.

If you’ve built any, show us your motorway or highway services.


Posted by Sarepava on 7 October 2016 in English (English).

I’ve not been very active here recently, as real life events have intruded into the fictional world of OGF. However, I haven’t forgotten about the project, and as such I’d like to show you all a little item I made on my new 3D printer. It’s a siikesilla, which are the traditional pendants worn by Karolians:

This is 3d printed in PLA and painted using a charcoal paint, which over orange plastic gives a pleasing bronze effect. I intend to start a side business selling this and similar designs on a marketplace site like Etsy.

Pinterest/invitation to place buildings

Posted by Sarepava on 1 September 2016 in English (English).

Two things to announce:

1) I have created an OpenGeoFiction Pinterest board - it’s called simply OpenGeoFiction. Going to post all the Featured Pictures and articles. This could generate some interest and perhaps get quality articles and pictures to a wider audience. You will get nagged to sign in but it’s viewable even if you don’t want to. Anybody with Pinterest who wants to collaborate message me.

2) I invite users to place foreign businesses in the city of Känton, Karolia which is nearing completion. Message me for details.

OGF Awards

Posted by Sarepava on 20 July 2016 in English (English).

I have a proposal to make, that we have annual awards for outstanding mapping, wiki articles and conception in the OGF project. A chief purpose is to showcase to new users good practice, but also to bring to the wider community attention map edits that they might not come across when viewing the map.

My suggested categories would be:

Best large city (over 500,000 projected population) Best small city or town (under 500,000 projected population) Best natural feature (river, national park, mountain range etc) Best transport feature (detailed railway tracks, motorway junctions, realistic airport) The Commonia Award for Restraint in Motorway Building and Grid Cities (not replicating Shanghai on every available grid square)

Best collaborative project Best wiki article Best created image (banknotes, stamps, etc) Best image editing (real-world image edited to be in OGF) Best cultural invention (most compelling, believable and inventive national or regional cultural feature, including language) Best OGF News article Best new member (any user joined in the last 12 months who has made substantial progress in mapping and upheld the spirit of OGF)

Suggested process:

For reasons mentioned above, we will allow users to nominate their own work, as others may not be aware of its existence. You may nominate to the longlist as many things to as many categories as you wish. After a certain date users will vote to nominate eight-ten or each to the shortlist, these will then be voted on either by a panel or by the whole community.

There is a general rule that the object nominated must have been created or substantially edited in the last twelve months to be eligible, however as this will be the first awards this will be less strictly adhered to. I would allow for example Khaiwoon to be nominated for best city even though most of the work took place.

Feedback please!

Video conference

Posted by Sarepava on 29 May 2016 in English (English).

I realise I have been rather quiet about this since mooting it…various rehearsals, meetings, gigs and the small matter of my favourite band having an album launch party six miles away from me have ruled out most evenings this week. How do we all feel about next Sunday early afternoon BST?

May Mappers Challenge update 2

Posted by Sarepava on 20 May 2016 in English (English).

A couple of weeks have passed since the last entry, so here’s what I have been working on:

A large housing estate in a poorer area, Caminharju, with tower blocks and communal apartments as well as two schools. There is a medical centre and some small shops in the estate, appropriate for the economic makeup of the area:

Beginning of the industrial area in the south-west corner. This includes some railways spurs and disused railways, a power station and works, and some terraced houses for workers (a British touch):

Just a little to the north is a redeveloped area which has some posh apartment blocks and a Chogué temple for immigrants from the Ardisphere (cheers Luciano):

The state hospital:

Large mainline traincare facility at the Idaajaam:

The wealthy suburb of Lossepark (Castle Park) which is built on the ridge (‘harju’) by the river, every house with a big garden, and a posh school; Building the relief road through here was very controversial and noise barriers and trees have been planted to hide it.

Palenkaplats, which is the main nightlife area and traditionally home to the LGBTQIA+ community, with several gay and student bars. Rents are going up as the area becomes more gentrified.

Gradually adding house numbers and shop types to Saar island.

Zooming out, I have tried to convey the city’s development through the style of the street grid. You can see the blocks get bigger the more recent the buildings are, from tightly-packed medieval lanes, then the 17th/18th/19th century blocks, then the railways around what was then the city limits and the industrial zones, then the 20th century suburbs with cul-de-sac roads. I now place streets having imagined what buildings are between them, and create more accurate building shapes (most land in a city is actually not built on).

Happy mapping everyone - please post your monthly challenge updates too.