How many inhabitants?

Posted by eleinads on 26 February 2019 in English (English).

Dear colleagues mappers,

I give you a few updates on my progress, and then I’ll ask you a very important question. With the city of Giliarca, I have now entered the final phase of the mapping. I have finished mapping the details of the northern area, and now I only have the southern suburbs, which will be mainly commercial and industrial.

Now, then, I will finally write the Wiki page on Giliarca (which, incidentally, will also be an opportunity to explain the reasons for some particular aspects of the city, such as its particular location or its historic center, but we will talk about this on another occasion).

The final question I have to ask you is another: do you help me to quantify the population of Giliarca? (Consider that the area to be mapped will not be residential, so what you see now already allows you to do so).

That is: in your opinion, when you see the map of the city, what is the most realistic number of inhabitants to attribute to it? (the city, not the country) I will don’t tell you what I think about it, in order not to condition you: tell me your evaluations.

Location: 12.188, 61.807

Comment from UmgangsCool on 26 February 2019 at 21:41

i would go with something along the lines of 200.000 to 250.000 as European citys tend to be more packed but if you go with some higher people per km² it just aswell could be 300.000 and up. But staying between 150.000 to 250.000 would be the most realistic solution i think. Impressive work tho.

Comment from Rustem Pasha on 26 February 2019 at 21:56

There are many methods which allow you to estimate the population. One method is to find similar city in size, wealth and building style and use its population (may be slightly changed). The other method is to find area with average population density and known area and then calculate the number of inhabitants (counting the flats and multiply it by average number of inhabitants per flat) and then scale the number to the size of the city. The other, most exact method is to calculate all flats and houses. Using the first method I can say it is similar to Verona (264000 inhabitants) but I think it’s slightly bigger so ~280000 is the right estimation.

Comment from eleinads on 26 February 2019 at 22:22

I certainly take your comments into account. But I see it as slightly bigger (not much bigger).

Let’s see some comparisons with RW cities that have analogies for latitude or for general conditions.

Giliarca vs La Habana, 2.125.320

Giliarca vs Macau, 650.900

Giliarca vs Honolulu, 402.500

Giliarca vs Managua, 1.033.662

Giliarca vs Barcelona, 1.620.343

Giliarca vs Caracas, 1 942 652

Giliarca vs Panama City, 880.691

Ultimately, from the overall comparisons, I would slightly raise the estimates you have made so far.

Comment from louis_walker on 27 February 2019 at 00:38

It’s entirely a question of population density, as your round-up of comparisons shows. Given the mountainous terrain and its position on a peninsula, it would make sense for Giliarca to have been built densely. assuming you’re planning to fill in the rest of the un-tagged space between the city, airport, and agricultural areas to the south, you’ve mapped an area roughly comparable to Izmir, Turkey—which is home to 4.2 million people.

Do you have some visual comparisons for what different sections of the city would look like? Determining the rough size of areas built using different land use patterns (i.e. old and historic with narrow twisty streets vs. big regimented socialist housing blocks) and coming up with an average population based on that could give you a realistic estimate.

Comment from louis_walker on 27 February 2019 at 00:45

Also worth noting: there’s city population, and then there’s metropolitan population (which includes all of the suburbs outside of a central city’s officially defined borders). I mention this because you list Barcelona as an example, with 1.6MM inhabitants; while that’s an accurate number for the city-proper, metro Barcelona is home to more than 5MM. There’s a nice simple illustration here that shows how density decreases as you move outward from the center.

Given that Giliarca is quite compact (lacking significant sprawl), it’s probably more accurate to compare to the city of Barcelona + the “First Zone” of suburbs and satellite cities, which together are home to 3.2MM residents.

Comment from Mike's World on 27 February 2019 at 01:12

Hmm, it appears it would be about 800.000 depending on how many and the levels of of your apartments. Your city is roughly 140 miles square miles (267) kilometers. So that’s about 5.000 per square mile or 3.000 per square kilometer. But since it’s european style you could up the population to 1.2 million because of its density.

Comment from eleinads on 27 February 2019 at 10:53

Several elements are emerging, different but useful. In the end, I’ll make a summary. In the meantime, a few more indications.

Giliarca is a tropical city of non-tropical derivation, with elements typical of the cities distant from which its first inhabitants come.

In this it has different correspondences in RW, in particular, the Giliarcan historical centre in “European” style is similar to a synthesis between:

Outside the old town, the rest of the city is more standard, reminiscent of typical tropical cities with squared quarters. It still remembers Cuba but it is richer, because it has not had very long periods of dictatorship. But the modern part looks more like the cities of Southeast Asia, with a fair number of tall buildings and some very tall skyscrapers, in particular:

Finally, its being an isolated city in a language of the earth, reminds perhaps more Honolulu, but this is a geographical issue, different; we will talk about it.

Well, I hope we now have a few more elements to quantify the population.

Comment from mstr on 27 February 2019 at 13:24

Hi eleinads,

I like the city very much! You have used many OGF places to name streets, that’s beautiful!

It’s hard to find an appropriate number of inhabitants. Maybe you can get the area of all rural landuses and work with a population density?

Since you have mapped each building, there might be also the possibility to add a “map-based population count”? Of course this would take some time, but it also allows to get current numbers at any time.

Comment from LemonKing on 27 February 2019 at 14:02

To make it as simple as possible, I use this “radius method”:

My “higher density” of 1000 people/ is only high in Nordic perspective; It applies to downtown areas in cities like Helsinki or Stockholm, but many bigger cities have large urban areas of 3000-10.000 people/ (these are the approximate figures for Panama City and New York respectively).

If Gilliarca has the density of Panama City and we approximate it as two circles with radius 3 km each, we end up with ~ 1,5 million inhabitants. Of course, this is a rough estimation based on the visual, without measuring different segments of the city separately.

Comment from MrOobling on 27 February 2019 at 16:49

Your example comparisons are from all over the world and as such, don’t reflect on your city very well. I assume that your city is based off European culture (based off its location and general feel) which would mean a comparison city should also be European. Barcelona seems like an incredibly close comparison (based off the area mapped, number of roads, size of airport, geography etc…) and as such 3,000,000 seems like a good aproximation for your population.

Comment from thilo on 27 February 2019 at 19:32

I’d say less than Barcelona, but more than Valencia:

Also I was thinking about the possibility of counting the buildings via an Overpass query, and then multiplying by a suitable factor. To get some idea about the factor, I googled for “inhabitants per building”, and among the results this paper came up, which appears to describe a process like that (for real-world cities using OSM data):

Comment from eleinads on 28 February 2019 at 08:51

Dear all,

really many useful elements and criteria have emerged. I would exclude too high and too low estimates. One consideration is that Giliarca does not fall into the category of European cities but in that of European-like cities in tropical areas (as I already did, in RW the Spanish-style Habana and the Portuguese-Macau style are among the closest examples, but there they are also other models).

relatively to the extent, we have to consider that Giliarca is a commercial city but also very tourist (for the beaches in the north and for those a little more distant in the forests), so there are strong flows of non-resident population.

having said this, I am orienting myself to estimate a stable population between 900000 and 1200000 inhabitants. But in the next period, thanks to the methods you have suggested to me, I will make more scientific estimates. (and, maybe, I will contact the offices of the Municipality directly at

Comment from Mikele on 28 February 2019 at 21:05

Hi eleinads,

first of all, many congratulations for your impressive, very detailed city! Maybe I am replying too late, however, having a look at Giliarca, it seems that some 800k-900k could be a good approximation for the city population - so something in the range of Italian cities like Genoa and Palermo, almost Turin. And it should be considered that, though quite sprawled throughout the peninsula, the central and northern part seems to be ‘packed’ with inhabitants and facilities, whereas the eastern part is much less denser and dedicated mainly to industrial plants.

Just as a further suggestion for you, if your population estimated range is 900k - 1,2 mio inhabitants, I wonder whether it would be more realistic to reduce the number of subway lines… even the most advanced European cities of that size normally have no more than 3-4 subway lines. This obviously unless your plans provide instead for (i) a very wealthy city on average and (ii) subways to act somehow the same as underground parts of the ‘S-Bahn’s in most German cities.

Comment from eleinads on 28 February 2019 at 21:13


thanks for the estimate of the population, and ok to reduce the subyay lines; I was perplex too, I had exaggerated. I do it immediately.

Login to leave a comment