User:Louis walker/Bliki/Dec 19 2017

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Dec 19, 2017

Planning Patermas

Hello everyone! I've just set myself up on JOSM after a few weeks of practicing on iD, mostly working with wixia on transforming the former embassy quarter of Gobras City into a modern downtown of office buildings (map). I'm about to start mapping out the topography of my country, Patermas, which is located in northeastern Tarephia on the Sea of Uthyra. I thought I'd inaugurate my OGF bliki with a post outlining some of my key inspirations and raising a few questions for general input from the larger community.

Alternative Economics as Inspiration

In terms of the culture and economy of Patermas (which will necessarily have a huge impact on its spatial arrangement), my chief inspiration is the work of the urban economist Jane Jacobs, who was active in the US and Canada from the 1960s until hear death in 2004. Jacobs is most famous for her first major book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, but she has a fascinating body of work centered on the arguement that metropolitan regions, not nation-states, are the best systems to observe when trying to understand (and encourage) economic growth.

I plan to use the mapping of Patermas as a way of exploring how a nation based on Jacobs' ideas might look, feel, and operate. My intent will be to use this bliki, over time, to explain how this plays out, and (hopefully!) to get some feedback and spark some interesting discussions.

Cartographic Influences

Given the location of Patermas just south of the Northern Tropic, between a major desert (the Serion) and sea (the Uthyra), I've been looking at a range of different real-world regions—namely Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt for the more arid western half of the country, and places like Cuba and (very loosely) Southeast Asia for the more tropical eastern half. I'll be connecting the mountain ranges that exist already in the countries immediately to the north and south (Gamen, Draco, and Targueral) to create a barrier dividing the two very different regions, and continuing the topographical patterns established by my new neighbors. For cities, given that I intend for Patermas' coastal cities to have first developed in earnest around 1200-1500 AD, I've been looking at older trade centers like Valletta, Venice, and Istanbul. Later cities will be influenced by early industrial centers like Manchester and Pittsburgh.


One of the things that I'd be interested to get other cartographers' thoughts on is about topography and climate. In previous discussions of the OGF planet's climate it has generally been assumed that this area would be mostly desert, due to its location about where the Sahara is positioned on Earth. Looking at all of the other countries in the region, though, it is clear that there's a tacit agreement that the areas closer to the Sea of Uthyra are fertile and green, even featuring rainforests, and that the mountains would provide enough of a barrier to keep the arid Serion confined.

Given that there's nowhere on our planet that serves as a neat corollary for this—an eastern coastline along a Mediterranean-sized sea featuring a tropical climate separated from a large desert by a large mountain range—I would be interested to hear peoples' thoughts on how high the mountain range might need to be, and whether there are any real-world ranges that I might look to for inspiration. (h/t to Alessa for already providing some invaluable feedback on this via DM).

Climate and Agriculture

Building off of that, and frankly more importantly for my larger purposes, I am wondering what the resulting climate in the east would be ideal for, with regard to agriculture. I want to figure out a realistic agricultural pattern as I start out, since it will have a major impact on how the terrain is mapped. Agriculture can also be instrumental in shaping the distribution and organization of individual cities, so knowing whether I'm dealing with a region that relies more on rice, or maize, or sugarcane, or coffee, or spices will be key, I think.

Comments, Questions, Ideas, & Musings

Thanks to anyone who is willing to share thoughts and ideas, and I look forward to mapping with you all!

Actually, there is one region on Earth that closely resembles what you're describing (except for the "enclosed sea" aspect), and it's an area I know well: Northern Queensland, Australia. The eastern coast is tropical (and even rainforest), while western slopes of the Dividing Range quickly give way to desert. I think that could match your concept quite well, and although the hemisphere is a mismatch, the latitudes match and I think it's entirely plausible to have essentially a wet monsoonal climate to driven from the east, with mountains keeping the desert to the west dry. Anyway, I'm pleased to see a new user thinking so clearly and reflectively about their mapping project. Best of luck!--Happy mapping - Luciano (talk) 23:46, 19 December 2017 (CET)
Thanks for the North Queensland reference, Luciano, it led me to this fantastic site with tons of info about agriculture in the region. Looks like I'm aiming in the right direction, since I've been thinking Patermas would specialize in crops like cotton, coffee, ginger, some grains...and it also means I can realistically add mushrooms and olives to the list, which are two of my favorite foods, selfishly. >:-) --LW (talk) 17:11, 19 December 2017 (CST)
The predominant agriculture on the coast is sugarcane. Upland, in the foothills and on the plateaus, there's diverse tropical horticulture and also surprisingly a lot of dairy, and they have recently successfully introduced coffee plantations. Here's a nice rainfall map: mapping - Luciano (talk) 00:23, 20 December 2017 (CET)
Nice bliki! I suppose fruits and vegetables, as well as soybeans, corn, etc. would be a good choice for agriculture in Patermas, and even in the region as a whole. Sugercane could also work, and coffee in the more tropical and wet regions. For geography, I'd put the mountains at around 1,500 meters at the least, but higher could also provide more of a barrier against the Serion desert. --TheHolyEpicpenguin (talk) 13:03, 20 December 2017 (CET)
Sugarcane does seem like a logical choice, but for some reason I've been avoiding committing to it. It's such a huge cash crop in RW areas where it's grown, and I want to think of the Patermatians as being a little more diversified in their agricultural habits. But definitely some sugarcane, in parts of the country. Is Gamen going to have a lot of agricultural land? I've just done a rough first pass at mapping out the topography, so I can at least have a starting point to work off of moving forward. The Brocades are official! :) -- LW (talk) 12:09, 20 December 2017 (CST)
Gamen will have a varied array of agricultural crops that it produces. To help plan ahead with stuff like that, I've created a map of resources in Gamen that shows where I plan on having natural resource production at. I think a great deal of land will be devoted to fruits and vegetables, but also beans and sugercane. Iron ore and gold will probably be easy to mine in the Brocades. --TheHolyEpicpenguin (talk) 23:57, 20 December 2017 (CET)
Sounds like we're on the same page again, re: the mineral wealth of the Brocades. The El Salteadors to the south are karst (soft limestone), so not much mining, but I was planning to have lots of fun stuff buried in the rocks of the Brocades. I think our crops will be similar too, which is good; I'm planning to focus less on vegetables and grains and more on rice, cotton, and coffee as the bigger cash crops. That map is great, thank you for sharing. Also reminded me about our regional network. I'm planning to start a discussion in the Forum about the Sea of Uthyra soon that will likely be relevant, so will DM you when that's up. -- LW (talk) 18:05, 20 December 2017 (CST)
The main crops in western Draco, bordering Patermas include maize, rice, coffee, sugarcane, pitahaya (tropical fruit), watermelon and a variety of legumes. Indeed, El Salteador mountain range doesn't really possess a vast array of minerals, compared with the Foare Desert (rich in silver, copper, aluminium and iron) and the Yagui (iron, coal and uranium deposits). I hope this information is useful! RicardoNolazcoC (talk) 14:48, 29 December 2017 (CST)

Very interesting ideas. I seem to remember discussion on Jane Jacobs some time ago on this website, but no idea where now - there would be a case to have a thread on architectural/planning inspiration in the forum. To implement these ideas in Patermas, though, I think you need some very large urban settlements first. For myself, Ian McHarg's ideas have contributed to some of the things I've mapped, especially from the book Design with Nature.

In terms of climate, Luciano identifies that clear parallel with E Australia, which might be good parallel - but maybe it is just as likely something like Somalia, or Ethiopia, on the coast of the Red Sea? That is your actual comparative location. The bulk of OGF land east of you is less that half there is in those places, but even so, its considerable. You should probably try and model this. If you want to make it as believable as possible (unlike some of the coutries in that area especially TA004 - but we won't go there) I would think that aridity is key: how does the surrounding continental landmass affect this? Are there mountains immediately east of Patermas? You have challenges there, because at the moment you those areas are effectively blank. However, I'd expect the 'green area' to logically be a very narrow strip along the coast or perhaps up some rivers - or maybe one major river.
Finally, if you go with the bulk of OGF lore on this, Patermas would be in the 'old world'. That could mean old world traditional Mediterranean crops like olives, citrus fruits, etc predominating, dependant mainly on degree of cultural continuity?
All in all a great start, to think these things through early in development--Udilugbuldigu (talk) 23:45, 20 December 2017 (CET)
I have definitely bumped into McHarg's work before, and will take a look again. And as for cities, those are most definitely in the works. Patermas' history essentially starts with a network of city-states that grow up around the central bay on my coastline, and eventually grow into a single, sprawling metro region of about 9 million people; there will also be three satellite metros of 1-2 million spread around the country. One of the central tenets of Jacobs' economic philosophy is that cities (or metro regions, at least) should maintain their own will be tricky to figure out how that works within a single country, but that's part of the fun!
Re: ag, I've looked into Ethiopia in addition to the countries listed earlier, though I admit it just didn't interest me as much as some of the other areas within the climate range I'm in. It would make sense technically, but within OGF I don't think it would fit since the countries around me have all moved forward with mapping a very verdant coast, despite the proximity of the desert. I'm trying to incorporate some east African influences nonetheless, but I'll admit at the get-go that it's not my primary reference.
And by the way, while we are on the subject...could we actually go into what the heck is going on in TA004? The mapping quality is so high, but I'm baffled as to why it's happening in the middle of continental Tarephia!-- LW (talk) 18:21, 20 December 2017 (CST)