Rethinking my place on OGF

Posted by deltanz on 16 February 2017 in English (English)

The recent discussion on martinum4's diary entry regarding whether the rules of OSM should be used on OGF with the same emphasis and the fact that a lot of things done by me in my country, Neo Delta, for almost 2 years now, have never followed those rules, kept me thinking about my place in this community. I am an international relations analyst and, as much as I'm interested in urban geography, urban planning and projects such as OSM, I'm not familiar with any of those areas. I'd love to have time to study and explore those fields, but, unfortunately, I'm unable to do so at the moment. I know opinions regarding this issue vary, as Luciano and other users commented, but I can't stop thinking about the fact that I lack the basic knowledge that is needed to be a member of OGF and that really bothers me. As joschi81 mentioned, this might not be the best place for those not interested in the GIS aspect of OSM/OGF. I even struggle to work with simple aspects, such as using relations and mapping through JOSM. So, as far as I'm concern, the bottom line is: I don't want to be a member whose work is seen as problematic. The actual technology of mapping is not my main focus on OGF and I'm much more interested in the fictional politics, international and cultural affairs, and human involvement of the members and their fictional countries. Should I be editing a country on OGF?

Location: Diploquar, Malojdeh, Capital, Capma, Neo Delta

Comment from histor on 16 February 2017 at 08:39

If OGF-countries should be fit for GIS, so first are to define, which tags are to set for what and which are needed. It is too simple, to say only: "Look at OSM".

I think, many users here miss an GIS-tutorial.

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Comment from wangi on 16 February 2017 at 08:46

Well, there's no escaping that the only documentation out there on the tagging scheme in use on OGF is on the OSM wiki and related sites. There's a lot of good tutorials at If you want to learn the technology, while also doing a worthwhile task then the various humanitarian OSM projects are worth considering. I wouldn't think about GIS at all really.

I don't think it would be a good use of anyone's' time to replicate that info?

Deltanz - i think your mapping is good!

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Comment from eklas on 16 February 2017 at 08:55

Yes, you should keep on mapping. Your work is so much better than what other users do.

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Comment from eklas on 16 February 2017 at 08:56

(I mean some other users.)

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Comment from isleƱo on 16 February 2017 at 10:08

Not sure if you saw joschi81's later reply:

... What's the main point of this discussion? It is, clearly, an outline of two very different approaches to OGF: A creative/graphical approach on the one hand and a technical approach on the other hand.

So, the main question is: Can OGF satisfy both types of mappers (and also those who seem to follow both approaches)? The answer is: Yes! (In my opinion.)

To have a nice and consistent rendering in the OGF main layer (Mapnik) users must use the most common OSM tags anyway. So if we're talking about "mapping for renderers" here, we're not talking about basic tags that are being misused, but about details. Maybe these details concern specific ideas that users have for their own analytical work (or simply for getting a "nicer rendering"). So "misuse" is even not the right vocabulary here if people step away from OSM standards in some points. As Luciano outlines in his bliki in a way that is completely understandable in my opinion, creating your own standards in some points can be very helpful. And on the other hand: It does not destroy the OGF database.

In any case: Doing GIS analysis in OGF will in most cases be restricted to the country "belonging" to the person who does the analysis task, as it is/will be for me.

My conclusion is (I repeat myself) that mappers with a more graphical approach and those with a more technical approach (and those who combine both) can live together in the OGF world in good harmony!

(But, @deltanz and @Legendardisch, please don't put into question the use of GIS analysis in a fictional world, as of course you can analyse any dataset, no matter if it is real or imaginary data. It starts with simple tasks like e.g. measuring the area of a city. Because OGF is built upon GIS software, you don't have to measure by hand and calculate, but you get a "one-click result". There are, of course, much more complex tasks...)

Happy mapping for you all!

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Comment from joschi81 on 16 February 2017 at 10:54

deltanz, please keep on mapping! I think you're doing great work. Even though you mention that the mapping itself is not your main focus, I think your country (countries?) look(s) very well so far! If you still have any questions on maping tasks, don't hesitate to ask. I think there are many people here who would love to help - if needed.

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Comment from martinum4 on 16 February 2017 at 13:22

I'm sorry if my entry made you feel bad, that was never my intention... If ANYONE has any questions regarding tagging, relations and stuff like that feel free to message me. I'm not good with everything (especially tools like QGIS), but I'm willing to learn.

i agree with wangi that there are a lot of resources regarding OSM, there's also a stackexchange for it if I remember correctly. JOSM and Potlatch are the two mainly used editors, i remeber how switching from iD to JOSM for OSM really improved my tagging quality and quantity (Keyboard shortcuts <3) also there are a lot of good and useful plugins and styles, for example this is how a motorway junction in my country looks with the road attributes style.

Don't stop mapping and if you feel like you made mistakes, just correct them and move on... Related: is there a level0 editor? the one that is linked in the OGF-Overpass current link only links to the one for OSM-Data

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Comment from Portopolis on 16 February 2017 at 15:49

deltanz, keep at it everyone improves over time and your country is still one of the best in OGF just the fact that most of its natural areas are mostly detailed is amazing.

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Comment from Alessa on 16 February 2017 at 18:53

@deltanz, I know what you're thinking and feeling. Admittedly, I've kind of been staying away a bit the last two weeks and thinking about some of this as well. A few of the recent conversations and interactions in the community have prompted me to reevaluate my involvement beyond Mauretia's borders. Now, I'm not looking to leave--and I don't think you should too. You seem to really love the work you do. I say, keep on doing good work! The recent conversation you cited was more about philosophies of mapping. Frankly, I'm of the mindset there is room for both here on OGF. In my thinking over the last couple of weeks, I've refocused and re-purposed my plans for Mauretia. I've got a few new things I'd like to try! Beyond two locally collaborative ideas, I'm going mostly focus on my plot of land for a while. (It's not like there isn't plenty to do!) I know I love the mapping, and you seem to as well. Maybe narrowing the site focus for a couple weeks might be refreshing. It has been for me, at least.

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Comment from Luciano on 16 February 2017 at 22:37

@deltanz - as you know from my many rants on the bliki, I sometimes struggle with the same feeling you have, although for different reasons: my pre-OGF background in geofiction was in support of what is termed "alternate realities" - fantasy and science fiction literatures, therefore I often feel unhappily limited or constrained by the "verisimilitude rule." The end result is still the same - I often question whether I "belong" here.

Nevertheless, I stick around. The mapping itself is fun for me, I enjoy having access to a fictional encyclopedia, and some aspects of the community interaction are quite rewarding. The very best example of this last is the interaction you and I have had (and are planning to continue, once I get some time!) over the January Islands project.

Don't leave. You can change your level of engagement when things get frustrating, and after a break, come back again for more. Anyway, I look forward to seeing your contributions to the fictional politics, international and cultural affairs of those January Islands!

Happy mapping.

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Comment from deltanz on 17 February 2017 at 10:02

Hey, everyone, thank you so much for the nice words.

@martinum4 You didn't make me feel bad or anything, your post just triggered a feeling that I already had about my own mapping and I decided to open up about it, that's all, no hard feelings! ;)

@histor and @wangi, I have been doing that recently, checking OSM and the OSM wiki to get familiar with all the tools that are available here at OGF and I've learned a lot already. I just don't think I'll have much more time to deepen into that world.

@eklas, @portopolis, @joschi81 thank you so much! I admire the work you do, and those compliments coming from you really mean a lot!

@alessa and @luciano, it's good to see that I'm not the only one questioning myself here! I think this is normal, right? To have doubts regarding what we do...

I don't intend to leave, right now I'm excited about two projects (the January Islands with Luciano and some minor villages with clik), and I'm always excited about connecting with people. Throughout these last 2 years, I realized that although mapping wasn't my priority when I found this community, I have enjoyed each city I've drawn and I'm more and more into it. I'll try to balance my time here between mapping, reading, and studying the tools we have to improve on every possible aspect!

Thank you again, folks, it's been illuminating.


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Comment from skquinn on 18 February 2017 at 15:29

It took a while to wrap my head around how relations (particularly boundary relations) work as well. When I first mapped the prefecture boundaries for Rhododactylia, I just mapped separate ways and overlapped segments between them. Then Luciano came in and cleaned up my "mess" and I looked at what he did and I instantly "got it".

Most of Rhododactylia has no mapped power lines, and the rail infrastructure is also lacking a bit. But I'm working on both of these and there is always the chance someone with more of an interest in these will come in and help out. Such is the advantage of mapping primarily in a blue country for the moment.

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Comment from deltanz on 19 February 2017 at 04:50

@skquinn yeah, sometimes it is good to share responsibilities, I'll keep that in mind! Thank you :)

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