SwissCrusader's diary

Recent diary entries

Topo Layers

Posted by SwissCrusader on 15 September 2021 in English (English).

I am planning to create a small topo layer area, this autumn or this winter. Currently, the only documentation I’ve found is on the old wiki archive : and the related Talk page.

So I understand that the described method is to draw contour lines, with contour=elevation and ele=N on a separate file, then send it to the admin team.

  1. Will there still be this possibility in the future? Is it worth starting ?

  2. Is it mandatory to map one curve every X meters (i.e. 10 meters), or not ?

  3. Is drawing by hand on JOSM the only method, or did anyone use another method, like heightmap images ? On some countries with topo layer coverage, there are quite a few artifacts that are typical of some computer-generated heightmaps like here:

  4. Quite technical question: If I map i.e. a rectangle on my country, it will create an artifact at the border of the rectangle with all contour lines leading to zero, like there: If I want to add a topo layer for a new rectangle one year later, how to prevent at best the overlapping problem that it may cause on the join line of the 2 rectangles ? Is it better to keep the 1st rectangle’s OSM file, then add the 2nd rectangle’s topo curves and reimport both ?

Also, when I send to the admin, should I close all the contour lines manually on the side of the rectangle or is it done server-side ?

Best regards, SC.

AR923 : Dravidian it is !

Posted by SwissCrusader on 13 September 2020 in English (English).

In order to comply with the new language rules of the (ex-) Commonian territories, I’ve “dravidianized” the names of a region I’ve been developing before I’ve got my own territories.

This region is AR923-01, and it had been left with no new edits for a while, so I made sure it didn’t impact on a new user’s mapping.

This area formerly had English or Quebec French names. I’ve kept those records under “name_en” and “name_fr” tags, and I used Google Translate according to the meaning of the names for example: Nouvelle-Mountréau => “Royal Mount” or “Royal Hill” => രാജകീയ മലയോര . Grande-Louisiande => “city of Louis” => ലൂയിസ് നഗരം Another example Quatre-rivières => “Four Rivers” => നാല് നദികൾ.

Maybe it will help get people to map in the correct language in those areas. I hope my edit was useful and not destructive.

N.b., I don’t speak dravidian languages at all, so I used Google Translate. Feel free to fix any weird names.


Location: 9.094, 139.409

200+ conflicts on upload, how to solve them all and not one-by-one ?

Posted by SwissCrusader on 14 January 2020 in English (English).

I need your help, I got stuck with 200+ objects in conflict with my previous upload, for unknown reason. Now I have a large upload I want to send, but JOSM is blocked because of the conflicts. Is there a way to solve them all and tell JOSM “just send my version of everything and overwrite” ? I don’t want to lose my mapping but I just can’t solve conflicts one by one.

Or is there another solution like deleting the whole zone (let’s say a city), upload it as deleted, and re-copy-paste the new data from my faulty OSM file ?

What is the most practical solution to deal with huge amount of conflicts ?

Redesign of Älved (do not worry about big changes)

Posted by SwissCrusader on 16 June 2019 in English (English).

I know my country is appreciated for its landuse style etc. but I have started a redesign of some areas of Älved, which will result in temporary “ugly” placeholders.

My purpose is to make a harmonious style (as Neberly or Ingerland are) so that the map looks great at zoom 8-9 , which I think there isn’t at the moment, so I will redesign and simplify most of the non-precise areas, and when I want to draw precisely a region I will limit those to some “square” regions (see Ingerland and neighboring countries) and not do “semi-precise” areas elsewhere.

I also want to solve verisimilitude problems: some geographic features weren’t logical, as mountain sizes across the country etc., I’m planning to re-align mountains on generally planned mountain ridges, as well.

Don’t worry about bad-looking temporary sketches or “lost” areas (like Norrbunden province), I made a full backup locally and I might put back in place some of the features later. Most “precise” regions will not be impacted by this.


Location: Tyndinsky District, Amur Oblast, Far Eastern Federal District, Russia

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

Posted by SwissCrusader on 26 March 2019 in English (English).

So it’s been approximately 1 year since I joined the adventure, and I can say I reached an impressive amount of work. So how did I make it ? Was I in a cave, mapping my mountains all this time ? Let’s find out.

I’ve done worldbuilding for quite some time in my life, building worlds out of my dreams or my imagination, for RPGs maybe, or city building games, or just because they self-generated in my head, occupying a large space and I needed them to come out, as would a musician with his music or a painter with his paintings. I was an OSM contributor too at that time. When I discovered Opengeofiction I thought this was the place to put all the things online - I just had to adapt it to the few etiquette rules and the modern world verisimilitude constraint there - so within the piece of land I was granted I began to create a country that fits both OGF environment and the places I had in mind.

So how did I manage to do this so quickly ? The answer is only one letter: “F”. Yes, “F” is the key to quick mapping achievement. In JOSM it does miracles.

Älvedic Union is inspired by Switzerland (it was Älvedic Confederacy at first), but also Austria, Hungary, Western Ukraine and let’s say Eastern Siberia, the political and linguistic situation is very complex and unstable, and the country is rather poor and underdeveloped, but improving since fret traffic between the south and Neberly crosses Älved. For more info about the country, like what is the inspiration, where do the names come from etc., check Älved on the wiki.


Now let’s talk about the platform. It’s only after a few months of mapping that I discovered the very potential of OGF compared to anything similar. This place is huge (biggest fictional world ever?), very unique, and has this social or collaborative aspect that makes it feel really alive. This worldbuilding thing was a hobby I was always ashamed of (because “meh autistic nerds do this, get a life brah”, said Mrs Social Pressure), and I wasn’t expecting to see such a thriving community project. It might be a paradox but I actually want to stop it and do something else in my life, but first, I need to put all my creations out of my head and “forget” them, and one way of achieving this is to draw them and share them (if you are an artist or a musician you will understand well what I’m saying).

And OGF is a true gem, in this sense, because of its collaborative aspect. So yes apparently we are a great number of imaginary cartographs and worldbuilders. A long time ago, I was mapping parts of something that I hadn’t named Älved yet, I was doing it to let it out of my brain (like a musician does with the music that accumulates in his mind as I said before), and I was thinking that one day, I’ll stop it and get a life ! And since there’s no one to share this imaginary world, it will disappear, and these years of worldbuilding will be lost. OGF has been the answer for this, the platform allowed me to post my creations (as long as I adapt them to the OGF context), and after 1 year during which it happened that I had lots of free time, I think I achieved my work. I know details can be added forever, but the outline of it is done, even a bit more. X-)

And there’s something I understood in the process: drawing this fictional map is a bit like Hindus drawing a mandala. It has no utility in life, but you get a reward on the way of creating it, like being more relaxed, or escaping the status of being in a hurry all the time. You know, there is something so violent about our real world conditions that this imaginary worldbuilding is like an escape to an other level of consciousness, temporarily. Just to disconnect from the insane world you live in, for a few hours here and there. Whether you draw the map or look at it. The collaborative aspect improves this immersion into imaginary landscapes. These hours of mapping that seem “lost” actually are “rest” hours that allow me to be more in shape when playing the real average human being out there in the real world.

All of this is very philosophical et caetera, and I lack the proper words to explain exactly the phenomena, but this is what I wanted to tell about my feeling towards all this geofiction and imaginary world building thing. Some out there might tell us that “we live in tough times, we should stand in the real world and fight, and not stay like nerds in imaginary stuff etc.”, and I answer that this hobby is - or has been - the thing that helped me empty my mind, clean up all real world sh*t and preserve my energy from being drained. During mapping time I could make up my mind about future projects in real life. Also the real world is sometimes so depressing that an infinite amount of imaginary landscapes form up in our minds and we just need to get it out to let space in our brains for real world matters. I.e. giving life to imaginary projects helps me giving life to real world projects, because it empties blocked stuff in my mind. OGF allows this, and the fact that we can see the geographical mandalas of all other members is even more rewarding, I feel less alone in my delirium. :-P


Anyway, even though most of the work on Älved is done I will stay connected. Future OGF projects? maybe improving my cities, rebuilding the center of capital city Adventikum. Also, if the mapper of Darcodia is still around, linking our road and railroad systems through Crinzia/Arthland and solving the problem of Luiana exclave, I don’t know how to do the mapping in this area.

I’d also improve some blue territory, making some resort towns for Älvedic residents to go, and I was thinking about adding some haciendas and playas in Northeast Midistland. So if you want me to help and clean up this area while doing it, please let me know.


Location: Tungiro-Olyokminsky District, Zabaykalsky Krai, Far Eastern Federal District, Russia

Thoughts about lost countries and countries with unknown status

Posted by SwissCrusader on 28 January 2019 in English (English).

I just read yesterday’s article “No time for OGF, what future for my countries” by joschi81, and this has raised a few questions to me.

I have been thinking about the question of “lost countries” and also about those undocumented reserved territories (white on the territory map ) that create a breach in the logic of the map since they’re kept untouched on the map, but on the wiki pages they say “yeah, don’t talk about lost countries, they don’t exist and never existed”, not mentioning when they don’t even have pages at all.

And this is something I would like to ask admins about.

But if you regular users want to add comments, feel free.

Border issues with lost countries

For example: I (Älved) have a western border with what used to be Zanyzzix (now UL079), an almost empty country with some badly designed bits, and an eastern border with Latania, a “lost country” with very good mapping on its whole territory. I suppose Latania is kept “in memoriam” of the mapper, but it isn’t neither collaborative nor has a contact person.

Zanyzzix has been turned to green and I suppose will be erased forever, but Latania is kept.

There is a ~ 30 km gap where it would be good to join the roads between Latania and Älved, but “Latania doesn’t exist and never existed” although we keep it on the map.

Countries with undocumented status

Not to mention other white countries which are marked as “possibly a future collaborative territory” (or not), and in some cases are not empty and regularly edited, but we don’t even know their name and what they are. Example: the big UL099 (with New Ayeli city) in the north. Or UL106 (russian-like) which is unnamed and no wiki entries are present. What are their names ? Why is there some mapping on them but their status is white, not orange ? Are they lost countries or not ? Should we consider them in the geopolitical stories of our countries ? How to proceed in case of issues ? For example, if we want to request something about a reserved territory :

  • in my case: completing the road gap with Latania, or erasing the inconsistent mapped bits on Zanyzzix/UL079 since that mapping bothered the Neberly guy too, as he told me in PM

  • or in joschi81’s neighbours’ case: what is the status of UL141, who is the person of contact if there is an issue about Kalm, Isztianorszag etc if joschi81 abandons them, etc.

…then who should we contact about that ? how admins are more likely to react ?

Last question: in case the mapper goes away without signaling and the mapping is not complete => wouldn’t it be good to set a rule that after 1-2 years or so, an abandoned map (or part of it) will be turned to collaborative for all nearby active neighbours ? or marked for withdrawal, depending on the context ?

I suppose this choice is up to the admins for each different case, but clarifying this information in the wiki would be of good help.

To sum up my questions:

1) - some documentation about what the statuses of these white “reserved” countries really are, and how should we proceed in case of issues with them.

2) - after what time of inactivity would you consider a country as abandoned and on which criteria would you decide to change its status to either withdrawal, collaborative, reserved, or whatever else.

3) - don’t you think that marking countries as “lost countries” in the wiki when you actually keep them on the map without planning to remove them is somewhat confusing ? (for example: Zanyzzix/UL079 is a lost country = logical, since you withdrew it; Latania is a lost country = illogical, since you kept it) It would be more logical to keep those like Latania out of the lost country list, having the option to keep them reserved or to turn them into collaborative one day, and thus avoid this confusion in the wiki.

Thanks for reading.

(Note to self: I should come back one day and write a diary entry about my country too 8-)

Location: Zeysky District, Amur Oblast, Far Eastern Federal District, 676239, Russia

Four different hill styles in western Commonia

Posted by SwissCrusader on 9 May 2018 in English (English).

The area of Grand Louisiade / Nouvelle-Montréal on western Commonia was rather approximate so far, but as I am mapping hills and landuse all around to get at ease with geofiction mapping, things start to get fixed together… and look better !

(EDIT: I also mapped some new towns, like Testville-sur-Mer or Quatre-Rivières and all the landscapes around, and added some details to Grande Louisiade)

I tried several ways of mapping hills to see what is looks like when rendered. Also I tried not to clear or displace too much of the already existing elements, and not to steal too much land around the already existing villages other contributors had created, except for Grand Louisiade where I added some neighborhoods to make this blank metropolis area look better. Finally I tried to stick to the current theme of this area, which has:

1) tropical climate 2) naming conventions that reminds of Québec / Canada on some other famous planet ;-)

So let’s start with the inland of our Commonian Canucks territory, northwest of Quatre-Rivières, we have here something that looks like a semi-arid lower hills landscape, having forests only on the side of rivers.

Then a bit further south: Monts-du-Chauve is a big natural barrier between Nouvelle-Montréal and Quatre-Rivières, and as you climb up the round hills, the forest gets scarce. Tunnels were already in place on the highway in this area so I just added some mountains on top of it. Does not render really well in my opinion, too unrealistic.

We can see a big isolated mountain range as we look towards north : Evergreen Mountain, south of Collines Limitrophes hill area. This one is full of forests and almost looks like an inactive volcano.

The final one is the range of Rochers Percés, west of New Montréal near the shore, with wide bottoms of valleys where rivers flow in the middle of large gravel areas, and lateral torrents making the terrain too unstable for trees to grow around. For the mountains I tried to reproduce (not copy, don’t worry) how it was mapped in some European mountains: fields at the bottom then grassland, then forests on the whole slope, and on the summit scrub, then some mix of meadow and blank areas, then heath, and some bare rock for the occasional cliffs. Might be more accurate for a temperate climate than a tropical one, but these mountains are the ones that look best in my opinion. I am particularly proud of the ones I put around the Vertbourne lake ; the colors used, and the level of detail they have etc. I actually made this at last, and after I read the wiki page “making realistic countries”.

I want to improve even more my mountain mapping before requesting some land so if you have some existing examples of cool mountains, wheter on OGF or OSM, that I can study to understand how it’s done, please share the coordinates.


Location: 9.347, 138.798

New settlers arrived and are applying for a piece of land !

Posted by SwissCrusader on 27 April 2018 in English (English).


I am an active OSM contributor and I’ve always had some geofictitious worlds in my head that meet the requirements here (modern world fiction) and I would be glad to join the project for mapping my ideas in your world.

I tried to join like several years ago but my account was terminated after hours, for some unknown reasons, without me being able to do a single commit. So I hope the project is still active and that I will be able to participate in it.

If I understand, I must prove my skills by populating an area of a common zone with JOSM, create some test cities etc., and then if I am active enough I will be able to take possession of an available country.

I do not know how to get in touch with other members in case there are some mandatory ways of mapping, like some unwritten customs I should know, in addition to those written on the wiki home page etc. but anyway if I do any mistakes please let me know by PM before banning me !

I hope you understand my motivation in the project. See you at Commonia’s best beach resorts !