thilo's diary

Recent diary entries

Very promising new WebGL globe

Posted by thilo on 29 June 2018 in English (English).

I just became aware of a comparatively new WebGL globe framework (via weeklyOSM), which looks very promising:

Make sure to look at the examples. It’s not yet possible to add arbitrary 3D objects, like e.g. buildings but it seems to be planned. WeeklyOSM mentioned that the developer asked for data city models in the OSM forum, so exciting times might lie ahead…

For an OGF example, see here:

iD 2.2.1

Posted by thilo on 14 May 2017 in English (English).

A new version of the iD editor was released recently;

For now, I have no intention to integrate it into the OGF main site, but you can use it here:

Downtime once more

Posted by thilo on 24 April 2017 in English (English).

Because of the ongoing update problems, there needs to be another (shorter) downtime today. Starting at 20:00 UTC, the API database will be in read-only mode for ca. 1 hour. Afterwards, there might be some interruptions with tile rendering and the Overpass API. The wiki will work as usual.

Possible update gap

Posted by thilo on 23 April 2017 in English (English).

Map updates are running again, but there might be a gap which affects objects created yesterday. If some of your edits don’t show up, please try to apply some change to the affected objects, e.g. by selecting an area and moving everything by some insignificant amount.

If that doesn’t help, or you can’t do it for some reason, maybe because your preferred editor doesn’t support it, or the number of objects is too large, please report it to the admin team, or leave a comment in this thread.

Area size calculator

Posted by thilo on 20 April 2017 in English (English).

The OGF research & development department proudly presents our newest tool, the area size calculator:

Just enter the relation ID into the “Relation” field at the bottom left corner, and hit “Enter”. Alternatively, its also possible to enter the ogf:area, ogf:id or ref of a relation. If none of these matches, Nominatim will be queried for the name.

This tool is intended to replace the daily generated area table.

OGF scale tool

Posted by thilo on 17 April 2017 in English (English).

Here’s a map view intended to help with mapping objects at the right size:

You can view the map either at a fixed scale or at fixed zoom, depending on which of the input fields is selected. For the scale to be correct, the pxpt URL parameter (the pixel pitch, in millimeters) needs to be adjusted for your monitor.

Note that zooming by mouse wheel or double-click is disabled, but you can set the zoom by entering a value into the “Zoom” input field and hitting “Enter”.

You can also select the “OpenStreetMap” or “OpenTopoMap” layer for real-world comparisons, and below the zoom control in the upper left corner, there’s also a measuring tool included.

Splitting ferry routes?

Posted by thilo on 25 March 2017 in English (English).

I just took a look at this changeset:

Which made me briefly wonder, what kind of large scale editing did he do to cause such a large changeset bounding box?

It turns out, the reason was probably a locally restricted change in Tarott that affected the endpoint of a very long ferry route:

It’s not a very severe problem, but still somewhat unfortunate because it can make detection of illegitimate or problematic edits significantly harder. Therefore I propose to split all long distance ferry routes into at least three parts, split at the borders of the territorial waters of the involved countries. This would result in rather short parts near the ports, and a long part through international waters, where it probably won’t matter as much.

I’d like to hear some thoughts about this, especially from people who, as creators of long distance shipping routes, have a stake in this. Any obvious downsides that I haven’t thought of?


Overpass API

Posted by thilo on 24 September 2016 in English (English).

Opengeofiction is now running its own instance of the Overpass API.

The URL for queries against the API is:

Or you might check out the web interface at

Learn more about the Overpass API:

Please note that the availability of the API must be regarded as somewhat experimental. At the moment it looks like the new tile server has enough capacity to run this additional service. But if it turns out to have a negative impact on the tile generation performance, it’ll have to be switched off.

Please change your JOSM preferences

Posted by thilo on 14 September 2016 in English (English).

I’m happy to announce that, starting today, OGF tile rendering runs on a separate server. Hopefully, this will positively affect application performance.

It also means that JOSM users need to adapt their imagery preferences, as described here:

Note that this applies only to the “Imagery preferences”. The “Connection settings” for API access remain as they are.

To ensure a smooth transition process, the tile rendering on the old server will remain enabled for the next few days, but expect it to be switched off in the near future.

OGF weekend workshop

Posted by thilo on 10 March 2016 in English (English).

histor, joschi81 and I are going to meet in Hamburg, Germany, on the weekend of April 23/24 to have a two-day workshop about all things Opengeofiction. Though we’re all members of the admin team, the focus of the meeting is intended to be on the geography, history and everything else related to our respective countries rather than on administrative issues.

Anyone interested to join us? We’d be more than happy to meet some other members of this community in person. If you’re interested, please let us know, the sooner the better.

Fictional Maps Conference

Posted by thilo on 27 September 2015 in English (English).

Just came across this conference announcement, maybe some of you might find it interesting:

Happy 1st birthday, Opengeofiction

Posted by thilo on 1 September 2014 in English (English).

One year ago today, Opengeofiction was opened as a public website, starting with this post on Johannes’ Urbangeofiction website (awesome site BTW, definitely check it out if you don’t know it yet).

Let me just say a big thank you to all members who have helped to make this such a great project with their contributions. Please keep up the good work! I really hope that many other productive years will follow.


Khaiwoon terrain

Posted by thilo on 24 August 2014 in English (English).

The encyclopedia of Opengeofiction

Posted by thilo on 2 August 2014 in English (English). Last updated on 17 August 2014.

Many of you have already discovered it, but now I want to make it official: Opengeofiction has a wiki, where we can build a Wikipedia-style Encyclopedia of our fictional world. Please visit it at

To get an account, please send a message to wiki-admin.

The guidelines for participation are rougly analogous to those of OGF itself:

  • Generally, you should create/edit only articles about objects that you have mapped yourself.

  • If you have a great idea about someone else’s creations, contact that user and discuss it.

  • If you want to write something about the relations between your country and another, also discuss it with that country’s owner beforehand.

If you don’t feel comfortable with writing articles in english, please use any language you want. Of course, if you want other members to read it, your best chance is probably with using english, but that choice is completely up to you.

As written above, the wiki is primarily intended to be an encyclopedia of the fictional world of Opengeofiction, but it can probably also used to discuss and document many other issues surrounding Opengeofiction. We’ll probably have to invent some kind of naming convention to distinguish between those different purposes.

Any questions about or problems with the wiki can be dicussed here, or on the “talk” pages of the wiki itself. In cases where that’s not sufficient, you can contact the special user wiki-admin. Behind this account are Fleur and LeFaune (many thanks for taking that job).

Have fun!

A new color on the overview map

Posted by thilo on 22 June 2014 in English (English).

As you can see on the overview map, the country of Ísztianország is displayed in purple. This is meant to indicate the new category of “community territories”. Editing in those areas is open to everyone, but in a somewhat more restricted fashion than with the “blue” territories. The goal behind this is to achieve a more unified appearance of the territory with regards to language and culture for the sake of increased realism.

Note also that there’s still a user name displayed for Ísztianország - in this case joschi81 - just as with owned territories. That user however should not be regarded as the territory owner, but rather as an address for the first contact and probably some kind of moderator for the further development.

So the guidelines for taking part in the development of a community territory are as follows:

  • Before you start editing, contact the territory’s moderator to discuss your plans. Maybe it’s even better to have this discussion in a comment thread on our diary page.
  • don’t change existing structures without contacting their creators first
  • discuss your planned creations with other users working in adjacent areas

(Of course, those are probably good practices for blue areas too, but here it’s official policy). Also those guidelines are kind of tentative, let’s just see how it works out.

Opengeofiction at SotM-EU

Posted by thilo on 8 June 2014 in English (English).

Next weekend (June 13-15) the SotM-EU (“State of the map - Europe”), the conference of the European Openstreetmap community, will be held in Karlsruhe, Germany.

The cool thing is, Johannes and I will be giving a talk about Opengeofiction on Friday June 13 at 11:00 a.m. local time (9:00 UTC):

If everything works as planned, you can watch a livestream of our talk:

(I guess there will also be recorded videos available afterwards, if you don’t have the time to watch it live.)

How to repair the coastline

Posted by thilo on 6 April 2014 in English (English). Last updated on 7 April 2014.

In the case of a continent flooding, you’re all - especially the more experienced users - called upon to fix it. That’s a case where I consider it justified to make an edit in another user’s territory. It can be quite difficult however to find the exact location of the problem. To help with that, I created the following page which displays nodes where the coastline is broken in some way:

(Click on a marker in that map to see more information about the related node.)

Explanation: see this article for a comprehensive description of the requirements for coastline data. It follows that any node in a coastline way must be either

  • a member of exactly one such way, either as an interior point or as its combined start and end point (if the way is closed) or
  • a member of exactly two ways, where it is the start point of one and the end point of the other

Nodes that do not meet this condition are displayed on the map. Obviously they don’t always cause a rendering problem, but in the case of a major flooding you will probably find the problematic location among them.

Where's your territory on planet earth

Posted by thilo on 24 March 2014 in English (English).

Here are two images that will show you where your territory would be if it was on planet earth with the same geocoordinates as in Opengeofiction. These are screenshots from an early stage of the recent server migration when I had imported the map data but not yet replaced the shapefiles for coastline rendering. Just thought this might be interesting. (To see the full size, right click on the image and select “View Image” from the menu).

Northern hemisphere

Southern hemisphere