The R-QBAM main thread

I don't really know what to say. It's finished. Canada is finally done.


Patch 115 - Oh, Canada 12 (the Grand Finale);
- Added the Queen Elizabeth Islands, finishing Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Canada overall.
- Mild tweaks to Baffin Island and Quebec.

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Replies and a longer explanation to todays post at some point tomorrow. For now, I need to do dinner.
 
I don't really know what to say. It's finished. Canada is finally done.


Patch 115 - Oh, Canada 12 (the Grand Finale);
- Added the Queen Elizabeth Islands, finishing Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Canada overall.
- Mild tweaks to Baffin Island and Quebec.

View attachment 896731

Replies and a longer explanation to todays post at some point tomorrow. For now, I need to do dinner.
Let the church bells ring, for another cartographic nightmare has been slain! Absolutely fantastic work, dude. I get a headache just from looking at the amount of fractal lakes you had to do, haha.
 
Yesterday I wasn't really in the mood for a long-winded write up. I realised on Friday that with one final push I could get Canada finished entirely, which is exactly what I did over the next two days, mostly finishing off the patch on Friday, then spending yesterday double checking and revising several areas I wasn't really happy with. The plan was to give everything a double-check, considering this was the final Canada patch and I want to put the fractal lakes behind me for now, however after ploughing through Baffin Island and Quebec I realised that there wasn't much point. I had already done so many double-checks and sweeps for mistakes that there weren't many to find anymore, and as such I was sinking an awful lot of time into tweaking a handful of pixels, which didn't feel worth it.

At 11pm I realised what the time was and that I should probably go and do dinner, so I cut short the complete double check, and turned instead to sprucing up what I had and making it look presentable. There were a few things I wanted to say alongside the patch, but I was hungry, and kinda low-key burned out from the final push, so I left it at that and posted just the map.

There were no major geographic hiccups that need commenting on. I think a couple of maps incorrectly identify the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf as land, when it's actually a chunk of Glacial ice resting on bedrock below sea level, but that isn't really the biggest deal. I could go into further detail about the fact that the area in question is home to a total population of approx 400 people spread across just three settlements, or that Devon Island (the largest uninhabited island in the world), is occasionally used by NASA to train astronauts in the recent-ish exposed at the surface Haughton impact crater, but right now I don't really feel the need to. I was unsurprised to learn however that a similar bunch of nationalistic explorers named plenty of places and locations on Ellesmere Island, hence the existence of the United States Mountain Range right next to the British Empire Range, because unimaginative names are apparently communicable.

Next up, Northwest Argentina, which is already coming along well and shouldn't take too long to throw together, then Alaska to finish off North America before pushing on to finish South America. But first, the replies I teased yesterday.


Also just noticed but it is awesome to see the new reservoir in Ethiopia

While I will occasionally miss some recently filled reservoirs, the GERD dam caused enough of a fuss in neighboring countries over the wider ramifications of damming the Nile that I couldn't miss it. Interestingly enough, the version of the reservoir on the current R-QBAM is actually outdated, however that's intentional considering the map is set on January 1st 2022 and the reservoir has been slowly being filled over the last four years. It's rather larger now, but it's exactly right for when the map is set, which is something to remember when I upgrade the map for 2024.

Marvelous!: Btw what's up with the Parana river? Why does it shares the same color as the coasts?
It's wide enough there to count as a pixel of water, same with many other rivers in the map (Pechora, Mackenzie, Saint Lawrence...)

Honestly that was a big reason the last Argentina patch dragged on longer than I'd like, as I was unsure on whether the Rio Grande is big enough to be shown at this scale or not, and I kept modifying the map every time I changed my mind. Don't be surprised if it gets removed with the next Argentina patch, possibly alongside a few more rivers around the world that I'm equally uncertain on.

@Tanystropheus42
Concerning India, there appears to be a state called "Jeypore" around modern Orissa. On the wikipedia page, it says that the kingdom was vassalized in 1777 by the British, but existed until 1947. However, I've seen some other maps have it be annexed sometime between 1798-1802. It's a pretty big Kingdom. Since you've done some research into Indian princely states for the raj patch, do you know what the situation is with this kingdom?
Here's the article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeypore_Estate

I actually mentioned Jeypore a year ago, but it was part of a blink-and-you'll-miss-it tangent buried in an already long post covering the messy Princely States of Central India. To paraphrase what I said back in April last year, just because a region was British administered, that didn't mean they owned the land. Often it was still in the possession of the pre-Raj feudal or semi-feudal landholders, usually holding the title "Zamindar" or a local equivalent, and possessing some property rights regarding the administration of their land. This was in contrast to the Princely States, that on paper had their own full governments and rights (though usually curtailed somewhat by the various protectorate agreements).

Most of what made a Princely state wasn't wealth or power or influence, it was if the British authorities thought that a place was a Princely State. Hence you had some quite rich and powerful landholdings like Jeypore that were nevertheless not considered states and were ultimately British administered, while on the other hand the hundreds of fly-speck villages in Gujarat were somehow considered states.

The Zamindars were still ultimately under British suzerainty, and period maps and documents reflect this. The 1909 Gazetteer for example calls Jeypore an estate, and none of the lists of states that I spent so long perusing last year even mention Jeypore. A few, really detailed maps from the Survey of India actually do show the borders of important Zamindars, but are also pretty clear in displaying that while these areas were different from the fully British territories, they were ultimately British administered and governed, while the full Princely States are shown much more distinctly. You really have to squint to see some of the Zamindari borders, even when neighboring Princely States are demarcated as plain as day.

But here's the thing; sometimes the British government changed their mind, and this can really confuse things. Benares State was only elevated from Zamindari estate to full state in 1911 (and is thus conspicuously absent from maps and state lists compiled before this), but had a long history as a semi-feudal estate before it got upgraded, hence why its wikipedia article has a founding date of 1740.

Benares isn't a one-off. For another example, I'm pretty sure from some incredibly spotty sources that most of the states of modern Chhattisgarh only became Princely states in the 1860's and 70's. They started out as feudal landholders that were conquered by the Nagpur Kingdom, first as part of the Maratha Empire then as part of Nagpur State once the Marathas lost to the East India Company. When Nagpur State was annexed by the Company in 1853, the local Zamindars went from being part of Nagpur to being British administered. A few of them would later be upgraded to full states in the 1860's, while the rest remained landholders on British colonial territory, however you can still find information on them if you really dig through old maps and documents.

For example this hisatlas map showing India in 1853 (I'm linking to the low-res free version, but I have seen full versions floating around on the web in the past), shows several states in the area of Chhattisgarh that I didn't recognise, such as 'Nowgudda', 'Kerial' and 'Phuljhar'. For the longest time they had me stumped, until I stumbled on this map, ostensibly from 1861 but which I strongly suspect was compiled during the 1850's and only published later, which is itself a fascinating source. It is somewhat inaccurate, which is to be expected for a mid 19th century source, while also going into a surprising amount of detail for other areas, even showing several states that had been annexed by the Company in the aftermath of the Indian rebellion in 1857, such as Jhansi and Ballabhgarh. It also notably shows several states in the Chattisgarh area that don't appear in later maps and appear to correspond to those shown on the hisatlas 1853 map under variant spellings; 'Nawagarh', 'Karial' and 'Phulgarh', which gave me something new to work off. I was able to spot the barely demarcated borders of the Zamindar estates on later Survey of India maps, and dig up some primary sources for all of them in this District Gazetteer from 1906.

From context, a pattern emerges. The EIC was apparently fairly sloppy in their administration of the area, and once they annexed Nagpur, several Zamindari estates formerly under Nagpur were powerful enough to exert some independence in the squiffy period that ensued, which the company apparently went along with. This lasted till the British government nationalised the Company in response to the Rebellion in 1858, formalising the often informal agreements that the company had previously run on during the 1860's. Some Zamindars made the cut and were recognised as full states, such as Sarangarh and Nandgaon. The others remained powerful local lords, but were ultimately under British administration, such as Nawagai or Khariar (which I think had the same borders as the modern Nuapada district of Odisha).

[This is a bit of a tangent I know, but I could never find a way to work it into the main India patch notes, so I'm writing it out now.]

Something similar apparently happened to Jeypore. They were brought under the influence of the EIC at the end of the 18th century, but apparently functioned highly autonomously as a de-facto Princely state during this time, being mentioned in sources and showing up on period maps up until the 1860's. Following the nationalisation of the EIC and the imposition of direct British rule, the new government apparently decided to treat Jeypore as an estate and annex it to their more direct holdings, hence why it doesn't show up as a Princely state after this time, though it is still an important enough estate to be discussed and highlighted occasionally. The reason it was abolished alongside the Princely states in 1947 was because the newly independent India abolished feudalism in general, not just the Princely states. The various titled landlords and Zamindars also had their titles and rights revoked alongside the rulers of full Princely States, even though their rights were much fewer.

TLDR; Jeypore was a feudal estate not a state, but the line between the two was blurry during the 19th century, and it probably functioned as a de-facto Princely state under the EIC but not after the imposition of direct British rule. Such Zamindari estates could be upgraded and states could be demoted on the whim of the British government or the Company before them, and this happened quite a lot during the 19th century, particularly during the era of Company Rule, which nobody really took accurate records of.Trying to look into to results in a bit of a confusing mess, which I didn't research as deeply as I could have done as I was focusing on the early 20th century for the Raj map.
 
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There were no major geographic hiccups that need commenting on. I think a couple of maps incorrectly identify the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf as land, when it's actually a chunk of Glacial ice resting on bedrock below sea level, but that isn't really the biggest deal.
Oh since you mentioned
Please, please accurately show ice shelves around the world, most importantly around Antarctica. Plus this is my personal opinion but I think ice shelves should be shown on maps (not as actual land maybe, but definitely with an outline between them and actual sea like a coastline outline). For all intents and purposes, they are chunks of ice no less relevant than actual ice caps/sheets. Sure, they can melt and break off, but ice caps and sheets shrink as well, and heck, even land that isn't part of the cryosphere shifts all the time (floods, erosion, deposition, new reservoirs, etc etc). Oh also, I am pretty sure there are a few research stations actually built on ice shelves that are ~30-50 meters thick and have ocean water beneath them. Just wanted to have a quick rant about how much I love ice shelves.
 
I think a couple of maps incorrectly identify the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf as land, when it's actually a chunk of Glacial ice resting on bedrock below sea level, but that isn't really the biggest deal.
Nitpick, why exactly does that disqualify it from being "land"? It seems to me that under normal geographic convention, ice is considered land when it rests on bedrock, including when that bedrock is below sea level and would flood if the ice were removed. After all, most maps depict Antarctica as solid land even though it is in this exact condition, and normal-use topographic maps depict the surface of the ice as the altitude of the land. Also I read somewhere once that ice is technically a mineral :p
 
Out of curiosity where are you getting all those conflict borders in Africa, I ask because C.A.R., Susan are significantly, well, wrong.
 
I actually finished this patch back on Monday, then forgot to post it and got cracking with Alaska. Hey, at least I noticed it now rather than later.

This is a smaller patch, adding six more Argentine provinces in the northwest of the country, plus the refinements to the Parana river I mentioned last time and a sweep to remove some minor lakes.

As I've already said, the next patch is most of Alaska (bits of the Aluetians and St Lawrence island will have to be included with the final chunk of Siberia), and it should be done by early April. That'll be followed by a push to finish South America in two patches, first southern Argentina then Chile and Patagonia. Next will be a patch I'm calling Misc Islands 2, adding the Falklands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and Pitcairn to finish off the UK (excluding Antarctic claims), plus Hawaii. After that, I'll spend a handful of patches adding the eastern Pacific (French Plynesia, the Cook Islands, Niue and chunks of Kiribati and American Samoa) before heading to the bottom of the world to get started on Antarctica.

Speaking of Antarctica ...

Oh since you mentioned
Please, please accurately show ice shelves around the world, most importantly around Antarctica. Plus this is my personal opinion but I think ice shelves should be shown on maps (not as actual land maybe, but definitely with an outline between them and actual sea like a coastline outline). For all intents and purposes, they are chunks of ice no less relevant than actual ice caps/sheets. Sure, they can melt and break off, but ice caps and sheets shrink as well, and heck, even land that isn't part of the cryosphere shifts all the time (floods, erosion, deposition, new reservoirs, etc etc). Oh also, I am pretty sure there are a few research stations actually built on ice shelves that are ~30-50 meters thick and have ocean water beneath them. Just wanted to have a quick rant about how much I love ice shelves.
Nitpick, why exactly does that disqualify it from being "land"? It seems to me that under normal geographic convention, ice is considered land when it rests on bedrock, including when that bedrock is below sea level and would flood if the ice were removed. After all, most maps depict Antarctica as solid land even though it is in this exact condition, and normal-use topographic maps depict the surface of the ice as the altitude of the land. Also I read somewhere once that ice is technically a mineral :p

Well this is awkward. I have an admission - I wanted to add the remnant ice shelves of Ellesmere island, but a bit of research led me to stumble onto a rather nasty consistency problem. The issue is that, as far as I can tell, maps and datasets covering Antarctica and Greenland may not be compatible with each other, and the key problem is how you define an ice shelf. An ice shelf is generally taken to be a lump of continental-derived glacial ice tens or sometimes hundreds of metres thick, floating on ocean but attached to the land, juxtaposed with sea ice, which forms in-situ, is often seasonal and is never more than a few metres thick. In many ways, Ice shelves are merely an oceanic extension of the great continental ice sheets, with their edges flowing over off the edge of the land onto the ocean.

For Antarctica, the convention is to use the grounding line as a proxy for the coastline - if the ice is resting on solid rock, then its land, if the ice is floating, then its an ice shelf. This method overall seems simple and intuitive, and as you would expect it works well for mapping Antarctica (for example see these maps of the Antarctic peninsula produced by the BAS). But here's the problem, Greenland hasn't been historically mapped this way. The Greenland meta is that it doesn't matter if the ice is floating or grounded on rock - the coastline is where the ice front meets the sea or sea-ice, even though several notable Greenland glaciers have long ice tongues floating on seawater. Literally every dataset I've found shows the coastline as the ice-front; Google maps (for all its flaws), openstreetmap, bing maps, NASA, ESA, the historical maps I've linked to in the past, and even GIS datasets such as QGreenland. You name the dataset, it almost certainly follows this convention.

Fortunately a dive into the scientific literature indicates that there is some scholarly debate over whether the Greenland ice tongues count as ice sheets or not, giving me some leeway to follow convention and ignore them if I so chose, however if I decide they should be shown as ice shelves, then I'd have an awful lot of work to do. I'd have to extend dozens of fjords a long way inland, and it would make the R-QBAM look radically different from basically every other map of Greenland that has ever been produced to boot. Even worse, I have a sneaking suspicion that such a patch might not even be possible to finish, at least consistently. The best source I've found so far is this paper from November 2023 that maps the grounding lines of 8 glaciers in northern Greenland, but that's just eight out of potentially dozens of ice tongues all across the island.

I only noticed the problem when I was almost finished with Canada, and really not in the mood for a potential massive Greenland overhaul. So I decided to kick the can down the road and not add any ice sheets for now till I get to Antarctica, however I was a bit too obvious trying to brush the issue under the carpet, so now I have to explain myself. I will get round to adding ice shelves eventually, but I need a month or two to dive into the literature and make up my mind on what to do before I'm forced to make a decision once I get to Antarctica.

Out of curiosity where are you getting all those conflict borders in Africa, I ask because C.A.R., Susan are significantly, well, wrong.
The map's "dated" to February 2022, so it's significantly outdated in some portions.

I'll admit some of the active conflict borders in Africa are a little off, but to be fair it was quite difficult finding source maps when I added them back in the latter half of 2022. Also, you do need to bear in mind that the areas of control I present are by now two years out of date. Mali is a bit of a mess, and I admit as much in the post where I add it, ditto for Burkina Faso. Sudan is based on this map from 2016, which was the best I could find at the time, while South Sudan is similarly squiffy. If you have better sources, please tell me.

I would disagree with you on the other civil wars however. I am confident in the accuracy of Ethiopia, Somalia and the CAR, which are based on these maps respectively, and I am absolutely certain I got the rebel groups in the DRC right. I spent the better part of a week pouring over incident reports on the Kivu Security tracker live map (which was unfortunately taken down in November 2023) to try and parse territorial control from the chaos, and after all that work I will die on this hill. Again, if you have better sources, tell me, however forn these cases I'm confident I'm right.

Replies done, on with ...




Patch 116 - Argentina 2
- Added Salta
- Added Jujuy
- Added Tucuman
- Added Catamarca
- Added La Rioja
- Added San Juan

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@Tanystropheus42
Note for when you get to China: Tibet AR de facto administers a small part of Qinghai, according to Chinese (and depths of English) Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap. I was really surprised when I first saw the change in OSM, but it's real. Just like how Heilongjiang controls part of Inner Mongolia (if that's shown on most maps, then Qinghai should be too).
Google Maps vs OSM for comparison.
Google
OSM
 
With the addition of most of the rest of Alaska, North America is finally done. It hasn't yet sunk in that Canada is done, so the realisation that another continent is finished may not hit for a while.

I have a few things to discuss here, mostly regarding my use of the 10th meridian east as a centreline. While it's a convenient round number to work with, I'll admit that its counterpart the 170th meridian west has its problems as a map edge. St Lawrence island is cut in half, the two Pribilof Islands end up on different halves of the map, and a smidge of Russia ends up poking over the edge of the map border into the western hemisphere. On the other hand, the 170th meridian cuts almost exactly between three of the Islands of Four Mountains (a subgroup of the Aluetians), so it has that going for it. The alternative (which, if I remember correctly, the HEART project is using) is to centre the map on 11.5 degrees east, consequently setting the map edge at 168.8 degrees west. This shifts that bit of Siberia, the Diomede Islands, all of St Lawrence Island and the Pribilof Islands into the eastern hemisphere, but still can't deal with the Aluetians, cutting Umnak Island in half.

When I started the R-QBAM, I decided to use the 10th meridian east for three reasons. Firstly, it's a nice round number that's much easier to work with when using programs such as G.Projector or QGIS. I also have good reasons to suspect that the coastlines of the original QBAM were traced using a basemap centred on the 10th meridian east (an explanation I've been meaning to write up in full for a while), so also using this meridian adds some more continuity between the QBAM and its successor. Finally, its impossible to perfectly thread the needle between the islands of the Bering Sea no matter waht parralel you use, so why not use the 10th meridian when the choice is between cutting St Lawrence Island or Umnak Island in half.

It also means that Alaska isn't finished; the other half of St Lawrence Island and the rest of the Aluetians won't be done till I get to far eastern Siberia, but that'll be quite some way in the future, if my current patch schedules are anything to go by.

As a final note, I'm not particularly happy with how I've mapped the hideous complex of lakes around Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), but if anyone here thinks they can do a better job, I challenge them to try.




Patch 117 - Alaska
- Added (most of) Alaska.

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From my perspective, the worst part of the 10th meridian is that a tiny part of mainland Russia is cut off. But that is very much not that big an issue compared with having a clear and consistent definition. This becomes very problematic around Eastern China imvho where internal subdivisions have never felt right.

I'm also really looking forward to Japan and the Philippines because if Rockall gets included we are going to have a really interesting island chain compared with old school Q-Bam.
 
This was a smaller patch, so I got it done fairly quickly. Not much to say here really. In all honesty, there are bits of Argentina that I'm not happy with and that feel a little rushed, though that's largely as I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for the Americas and I just want to get stuck into Patagonia. I'll probably end up giving the rest of Argentina a light revision when I drop the final South America patch at some point in the next week or two, so its not the biggest problem.

First, some replies;
Note for when you get to China: Tibet AR de facto administers a small part of Qinghai, according to Chinese (and depths of English) Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap. I was really surprised when I first saw the change in OSM, but it's real. Just like how Heilongjiang controls part of Inner Mongolia (if that's shown on most maps, then Qinghai should be too).

I'll bear that in mind. Honestly, you'd be surprised how often sources conflict on first level admin borders once you dig into them. The Robinson webmap I've been linking to, for example, is excellent for coasts, lakes and international borders but as experience has shown me while working on Latin America, its first levels can be mildly to moderately off compared to other sources. I'm generally following a combination of Openstreetmap, Google maps and wikipedia (as they corroborate each other 95% of the time), but it's still annoying.

Second glacier update in one day!

You'll be pleased to know that I'll be posting the next full glacier patch in a week or so once I've finished Chile and Patagonia. I've held off for a while now as I've known there are more in the pipeline and I don't want to clutter the thread up too much with updates, but after Patagonia there won't be another case of borders covering ice sheets for a while, so I won't need to paste a new layer separately.


Aaand the patch notes;




Patch 118 - Argentina 3;
- Added Buenos Aires (province)
- Added Buenos Aires (the autonomous city)
- Added La Pampa
- Added San Luis
- Added Mendoza
- Added Neuquen
- Added Rio Negro

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