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Welcome back! It's been one year since I joined this amazing website, and even though I still consider myself an apprentice, I think now is a good opportunity to pause and reflect on the progress I've made. Obligatory obscure Czech music video: Chodím ulicí by Jan Kalousek, a song and video with strong post-communist Prague vibes.
My one year on OGF
I've always been into maps, ever since I can remember. I collected the free tourist maps they give you at tourist offices in towns. Then I started drawing them on paper. Later I got into city building PC games. None of them really stuck with me for various reasons, so around June 2016 I started looking for some specifically cartographic software. I was fooling around forums and chat rooms and eventually I discovered OGF. That was June 29th.
Drabantia - UL108e - was my instant pick. I knew I wanted an 'European' country, the climate ('cold') was okay (it was really hot outside), the size was perfect too. Every day I would keep on checking if it's still available and on July 7th I woke up early in the morning so I could fire off my request to the admin team. By the way, my first ever mapped area here was this town in Midistland (has been edited by other users since though):
Not very proud of that one.
Before I started mapping, I thoroughly read all the pages in 'User help and resources.' That was a reasonable thing to do, but it would have been even better if I had also followed the instructions on those pages. So, I drew a bunch of oddly shaped rivers, placed the capital city (Drahns) on the tip of a peninsula and called it a day. I was also away from my computer for most of the summer, but I made a lot of wiki edits on my phone: let BUM!, a satirical magazine, be the lead example. I was also active in the User diaries and made first connections with other users.
I wasn't very committed to mapping. The first thing I started to do is map the capital city (yes, the one on the peninsula) in full detail. I shouldn't have done that, there's been warnings about how capital cities are for experienced users and that I should start with the countryside first, but I ignored all of them for some reason. I did draw some good stuff too though, I even got featured on the OGF Twitter account (remember?) Some of my work, now located in Neo Delta, you can see below.
Inspired by other users, like Latania, I thought I'd experiment and go large-scale for a while. Macro mapping can be messier, less detailed, and it definitely is much faster than drawing a city one block a week. Ráj nad Mlžnicí (see below) was my first macro mapped area. It's in the far east of the country, which was strategic because if I failed, at least people wouldn't notice, and also the area has a lot of forests and mountains where no one lives, making it faster to draw.
I slowly started to realize that having the capital on the peninsula tip is just not going to work. I did what I'm used to do with all of the problems in my life: I ignored it away, or actually I even drew new buildings and features in the city (some of which you can see in Neo Delta again.)
Credits to User:Deltanz too! I only made the core, he's the author of the surrounding area.
Escapism at its finest! In March I drew the area around Volbrod in the southeast of the country. It's full of orchards and small reservoirs and it's probably one of my favorite projects ever.
I impulsively deleted most of Drahns (with the exception of the areas that are now in Neo Delta). I made a large paper drawing of Odrava, the new capital. I traced it. I also drew the city center in more detail and started my weekly bliki.
A great way to map small towns realistically is to draw them on paper first, like I did with Rabětín.
Rabětín got a sibling, Přeslav.
I'm detailing more areas of Odrava! I also had to rethink the terrain a bit - coming soon.
In conclusion, I think I made a lot of progress since last June. I also want to thank everyone I collaborated, messaged or chatted with (remember the Discord?), thanks for following me on Twitter (@gdrahns personal, @drabantia well, Drabantia), everyone around here is just so nice and I'm glad to be a part of this community! I hope you found this overview of my work interesting, I'd love to see other users do this too.
Which of the above do you like the most? How did you grow as a cartographer since joining OGF? Leave a comment below and stay tuned for next week!
Comments are v appreciated
Sign and timestamp them if you wish.
- Wow, nice to see the evolution of your mapping during the last year! I'm going to have my one year on OGF in a few days and I'll post my very first bliki on this occasion. It's going to be a little similar to this and I hope you won't think I copied you, because I didn't:)) Anyway, keep up the good work! --Stjur (talk • OGF) 22:12, 3 July 2017 (CEST)
Happy one year! I agree with your assessment. I think the progress and growth you've made is fantastic. Odrava is so much nicer than your previous capital, and the country as a whole has a good feel to it. I'm excited to see where it goes from here. Keep up the good mapping! — Alessa (talk) 02:36, 4 July 2017 (CEST)
Hi, Eklas! Happy one OGF-year to you! I'm here just to congratulate and say you and your work in Drabantia (specially about the "re-construction" of the capital) are one of my most stronger inspirations! Abraços! Bruno ;-) -- BMSOUZA (talk) 11:59, 4 July 2017 (CEST)
Awesome, Drabantia is by far one of my favorite countries in OGF! Glad to see your evolution (and thanks for the mention, I'm really happy to work with the leftovers of your former capital)! --deltanz (deltanz) 06:27, 5 July 2017 (CEST)
Nice work, and happy anniversary! You can really see the improvements you've made over time. Mapping is a lot harder than we first realise, and getting it right can take work and attention to detail. You're doing great :) Turnsole80 (talk) 10:32, 5 July 2017 (CEST)