I don't like my country.

Posted by cibrage on 7 September 2017 in English (English)

I've been mapping it for a relatively short time, but so far I'm not happy with a single addition I make. Everything feels awkward, I don't know where to place streets anymore, I feel like the scale is completely off and I'm copying the real world too much, everything just looks bad and pails in comparison to my neighbors, etc.

But at this point I really don't want to delete everything because I know I will give OGF up pretty much instantly afterwards. So I guess I'll take a break for some time, because my first thought when I think about opening JOSM is "ugghhh, I don't know what to do," followed by "well, that was a waste of time." when pressing upload.

Any advice for what to do to improve or telling me that this is a phase everyone goes through here would be greatly appreciated.

Comment from ADB52 on 7 September 2017 at 20:18

Yes, this is a phase that many beginners (including myself) go through. My suggestion is to review your highways (a polite way of saying to delete the majority) and to concentrate on one city. Apart from that, fill in the natural features (hills, rivers etc) first, then map the cities. When it comes to roads, make sure they connect. Scale is the biggest challenge in OGF, so familiarise yourself with the scaling tools that JOSM offers. Not sure if this is any help, it is meant constructively.

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Comment from Cauldron on 7 September 2017 at 20:24

It's okay to take a break! This website is meant to be a recreational activity, not a job. Mapping anything big takes a lot of time and a lot of repetitive activities, so it's okay to feel overwhelmed, or lacking the energy or interest to do stuff. I know my map would benefit from me sitting down and copy pasting several hundred tiny houses onto streets in JOSM, but I don't feel like doing that, and there's nothing wrong with that.

If you're worried about scale, I find it really helpful to use the scale addon on JOSM or the scale bar on the map tool, and then compare what I've made to a real-life map with a scale bar. Especially if it's a place I've been to in person, it's really useful in understanding the scale. I made a little building that is the size of my house that I can copy in when I'm drawing out streets, so I can get a better sense of how big they are.

If you're frustrated with doing street layouts, do something more fun. Make a big monumental building, or a fancy park layout, or an interestingly-shaped town built around a mountain or a river. You don't need to have made all the basic infrastructure of a city before you can make an interesting little lake house or a castle, just do things in whatever order you enjoy.

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Comment from zhenkang on 8 September 2017 at 00:45

Cheer up, some beginner mappers have actually gone through this stage, and most of them overcome. Maybe during the break think up of some ideas for your country.

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Comment from geoboi on 8 September 2017 at 03:51

Ditto zhenkang. Listen, you WILL get to the same level as your neighbors. All it takes is more experience. Over time, you will learn new tricks (as I have) by going into the edit screen in areas of high detail around the world and studying and analyzing what the mapper has done there, and apply it to your own country. If JOSM stresses you out too much, try using the in-browser version for little things. Also, PLEASE do not lose hope on Cira. Every mapper has something unique and valuable to contribute to this amazing collaboration that is OGF, you and I included. Maybe on your break, if you come up with something cool for your country, jot it down on a piece of paper, put it in a safe place, and pull it out when you revisit your nation. All it takes is time. Once enough of it has passed, the world will be beautifully mapped, and you'll be happy knowing that you played a role in the making of it.

Hope this helps! Geoboi

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Comment from zhenkang on 8 September 2017 at 04:03

To add on, it is OKAY to based your cities in the real world. I based my country on RW Singapore, but eventually I realised my country is quite big, so I have also added other natural features based on Johor in Malaysia, and also railways and stuff. Some other people has based their cities on Tokyo with their railways.

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Comment from eklas on 8 September 2017 at 06:02

Neighbor here,

don't give up yet. I will second ADB52 in that you should focus on the larger stuff first - I first laid out rivers and terrain features, then I placed cities and towns, then I draw some roads and railways, all of which arguably needs some work yet in Ćira.

Start using JOSM. Contrary to what other users may say, I found it quite intuitive from the start. It does make everything a lot easier. I use online editors only for quick fixes of mistakes when I don't feel like running JOSM, but otherwise, iD or Potlatch are a no to me.

Cauldron definitely has a point with the small things, and Geoboi is right about sketching things on paper - when imagination is not enough, I do it too. As Zhenkang said, it is a good idea to look into real world maps and take inspiration, especially the streets in Ćiska are going to need some remodeling.

DM me if you need help.

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Comment from cibrage on 8 September 2017 at 07:58

Thank you all for the encouraging words, I feel determined to start fixing everything now!

I think I'll start by removing all the highways, I think I'm limiting myself too much with them. The one thing I want to do the most is probably make a nice metro system and draw a map for it, but alas, I need to put in a lot more work into the general city planning before delving into that. So currently, I'll work on my capital city and the natural features.

Also, eklas, I actually haven't used the web editor a single time - I started out with JOSM : )

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Comment from Marcello on 8 September 2017 at 09:56

I know the feeling: sometimes it gets from leisure towards work (or school). And the larger the country, the higher the pressure is to see tangible results.

If you ever feel the 'fill my empty country' pressure again - as do most of us - do yourself a treat and map something small but funky: a detailed cathedral, a sports stadium, zoo, botanical garden, whatever. That's a nice change from routine and you get a sort of instant reward into seeing something finished. It works for me.

happy mapping !

Marcello. (who maps a humble 200 km2 island imperium just because of this)

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Comment from tommypoo on 8 September 2017 at 11:06


I'm a fellow mapper and I completely understand what you're going through. Occasionally I just enter this phase where I am unsatisfied with my country and want to start all over again. Just keep focused on the positive things you find about your country and you'll manage to get through!

Good luck, Tommypoo

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Comment from Sarepava on 8 September 2017 at 11:25

I am increasingly thinking I should write a 'help' wiki article on this kind of thing. Some immediate tips i can offer:

  • Don't compare your work to others' too critically (this is a great tip for life in general).

  • Observe the world around you and try to imagine how you would draw it on the map. In fact a great exercise might be to try and draw your street in OGF from memory, then compare it to OSM. How big are things? How far are things apart? Train yourself to see the world measured in meters.

  • Try to think of a rationale for anything you map. If you mark the location of a city, consider why it was built there. This will then suggest further detail: it may have been defensive, so would have old walls on higher ground; it might have been a good place to cross the river, so would have bridges; it might have been a port so lots of docks; it might have been a good place to rest on trade routes, so lots of roads meet there and there is a market. Etc etc.

  • Study lots of real-world geography. There are tons of easy to understand YT videos out there about natural features and human features.

  • It's fine to sketch and refine the details later. Unlike pen and paper there is no cost to deleting and making changes later.

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Comment from zhenkang on 8 September 2017 at 11:39

@Sarepava I was thinking along the same lines too, about some 'emotional help and support' for new mappers, instead of just tips to build realistic places.

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Comment from NKgov on 8 September 2017 at 12:10

Dear Cibrage,

I am here, on behalf of the Community of Nalkor-Kochi, to tell you that we like your country! Perhaps this is not the appropriate place, but I would like to propose an agreement to establish, whenever possible, long standing diplomatic relations with Ćira. Our whole community supports any newborn nation and the aspirations of their people, including yours. We will promptly help you by all means possible, such as airport designing (through our Aéroports Nationaux), management of coastal areas and so.

Feel free to contact us and, please, continue your lovely mapping!

Yours sincerely

Louis Caseneuve Irjan PR - Ministry of Communications

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Comment from Kaiteu on 8 September 2017 at 14:26

I also went through this phase for bout a month! Just give OGF A rest for a while and regain some creativity. Im actually going through this phase right now. What I do is look around. I look through Gobrassnya for some inspiration and it helps quite a bit.

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