Battle Atlas Application Profile

Battle Atlas Application Profile

Introduction

Definition of Terms

  • Metadata

    • Metadata is information about an entity. Typically structured information which describes elements, qualities, or features of the entity it is describing. 

  • Application Profile

    • A Metadata Application Profile (MAP) describes the application of a particular metadata schema. For example, the Battle Atlas MAP describes the application of the Battle Atlas metadata schema. 

  • Controlled Vocabulary

    • A controlled vocabulary is a restricted list of terms which can be used to describe an element. These are important for findability as it means that similar items will have shared terms. Using an uncontrolled vocabulary creates the risk that two items that are related in some way might be described using different terms and therefore not be findable. For example, a map might have a water feature which could be described as a brook, a creek, a stream, a river, or a rivulet depending on how it is understood by the record-creator. To avoid this, a controlled vocabulary might restrict the term to “river” and perhaps provide sub-terms such as “small”, “medium”, and “large” to offer back some of the granularity without sacrificing the ability of a user to search “river” and find all maps with streams or brooks or rivers on them.

  • Element

    • An element is a term which describes the value being captured by the metadata. Each has its own definition and application. In this document,  the definitions for each element is provided when it is either a novel element or it requires further clarification or modification from the Dublin Core definition.

What is this for?

The Battle Atlas MAP is intended to support the application of metadata to war gaming and tabletop RPG maps to make these resources more findable for game masters and fans. The schema is meant to be applied to image files. 

Scope of the Project

The Battle Atlas is intended to support a large number of image files. There are a substantial number of maps that have been produced either by publishers or fans to support the hobbies of role-playing. The goal of the project is to capture meaningful information for maps to support any game that uses these maps as a play support. This makes the project fairly broad, with maps as diverse as world maps, gridded maps of a room or terrain, or side-views of cities within scope. Since there is overlap between some games, such as World of Darkness and the real world, maps of actual places could be considered within scope if they are being used, built, or adapted for use for the purpose of playing such games

Who is this for?

This project is intended for anyone who is interested in using, browsing, or finding maps for role-playing games. It is primarily built with game masters and map creators in mind, but it is also suitable for interested enthusiasts who are interested in maps within the framework of the project.

Supported Functions

The schema is intended to support findability, flexibility, extensibility, repeatability, and interoperability. Users should be able to find maps by search. This is meant to include a fairly granular search level to allow a user to find maps that suit whatever their need is, whether for use online or print. This means being able to know technical information such as image quality, file size, and format in addition to content and intellectual property information. 

Controlled vocabularies (CV) support findability by ensuring that related entities are linked by the related term. Therefore, several of the elements recommend the use of a CV to improve findability of entities. Where possible this document includes preliminary vocabularies. However, this infrastructure has not yet been completed and remains either unavailable or in need of significant work.

Interoperability and extensibility are important because there might be a need to capture different information or to be able to relate an item with its record in another schema. For this reason the Battle Atlas schema has been built as an extension of Dublin Core. The Battle Atlas elements are, where possible to be encoded using existing standards. This application is, however, domain-specific. It is not intended, for example, to work with architectural or navigational requirements. 

There are a few more specific functions that this schema is intended to support. Browsing is another important function, and the granularity of the metadata allows is intended to allow for browsing (for example, to browse by Map Type in order to find only cities). The DC term “relation” is important for this, allowing maps to be linked by their direct relationships. A future implementation will be to develop an approach to linking related maps into clusters around parent-child and sibling-sibling relationships. This is not well captured by the existing DC term. This schema’s implementation does not adhere to the recommended best practice. It is not helpful to users if a map of the Yawning Portal is given the term-value pair <dc:relation>9780786966257</>. While this would be a better practice under the Dublin Core recommendation, it is of less use to the intended user than <dc:relation>Waterdeep: Dragon Heist</>.

Domain

This schema is intended for fantasy maps or maps being used for role-playing games captured as images only. There are some video maps available, however, they not intended for use in games and therefore fall outside this domain. Real-world maps fall into this domain when they have been appropriated for use in the role-playing community. 

Rationale

There are a good number of fantastic maps created by publishers, professional artists, and amateurs alike. There is, however, inadequate informational infrastructure to support their use. A metadata schema would improve the findability of these resources, making it easier to game masters to take advantage of the many resources available to them. Dublin Core was chosen as the core of this schema because it is a well established metadata initiative that supports the functionality discussed above. Additional elements were added to address the specific needs of the intended audience.

Stakeholder input is important to the creation and application of any metadata schema. In order to ensure that the needs of the community are being met, I have developed these terms after an initial round of consultation which occurred on Reddit here. This version will be provided to the community for additional feedback and use with the goal of updating it when needed. The goal of this project is to capture meaningful information to help users find maps that suit their needs. In order to meet this goal, the schema should be updated to include new features relevant to the community. While it is not a specific metadata element, it is strongly recommended that a folksonomy is implemented with this schema. Folksonomies available in conjunction with a controlled vocabulary based subject term support better findability than either by themselves could. Controlled vocabularies will always have blind spots no matter how much consultation is undertaken; perspectives differ and usage can change. Folksonomic terms smooth out this limitation.

The design of this schema is intended to make it as useful as possible for finding maps while also respecting the intellectual property rights of the creator. Intellectual property important information is therefore mandatory or mandatory if applicable. In order to be as flexible as possible and to promote ease of implementation, the only information which is mandatory is the basic information that is required to identify a resource and who owns the rights to it. The schema is designed in such a way that it can be run with or without hosting the items within the repository. When it is implemented without the images, the provided information and use of an URI (typically an URL) to identify the items will make finding easier than it would otherwise have been. The richer experience will, of course, be to have both the image and the metadata side by side. 

Challenges

There were a few challenges in developing this schema. The first, and biggest, challenge was regarding what to do with DC terms that fit a need but failed to do so well. This came up in particular with the terms “Coverage”, “Subject”, and “Relation”. Coverage fits a need well, but its best practices do not reconcile well with the needs of fictional places. It is difficult to implement a controlled vocabulary for an unspecified and incomplete number of named locations. This is not as much of an issue in using the Thesaurus of Geographic Names because these terms are (1) more restricted and (2) better supported (with the institutional backing of the Getty Institute) than any thesaurus of fictional geographic names could ever be while remaining unbeholden to a specific setting, like Middle Earth. Similarly, the subject terms for this project do not exist. The CV needs to be developed still, which is beyond the current scope of this project, but has not been forgotten. The first hurdle in developing this was to consider what the ‘subject’ of a map would be. My initial inclination was to scrap the “Subject” element and replace it with one called “Genre” however, this would add unnecessarily to the complexity of the schema. DC:Subject already maps well to the needed function. Instead I have attempted to propose a hierarchical system that could serve as a frame for a more comprehensive vocabulary, the outline of this is included under “Subject Field Controlled Vocabulary”. Finally, dc:relation’s implementation is the compliant with DC best practices, but this has its limits. A map could have many relationships of different kinds. These include parent-child and sibling-sibling relationships. Connecting all of these in a meaningful way is problematic. For now, I have chosen to create three sub-elements to address this: parent, child, sibling. 

A few more problems have come up. Controlled vocabularies, are the biggest hindrance to implementation right now. There is a need for a few controlled vocabularies to be finalized in order to create meaningful term-value pairs for findability. Similarly, many items are not published with rights clearly specified. As a result, I have chosen to allow the term dc:rights to specify the rightsholder in lieu of a particular copyright statement. The term is still mandatory, for now. This issue requires further discussion with stakeholders in order to determine how best to interpret and apply the term in a way that allows users to know if there are any access or usage restrictions before deciding whether or not to use it. Rights related concerns were also a concern during development. The schema should be usable without the original images so that maps can be included in the repository without requiring them to be free access or pirated. 

Something I wanted to include but I am not sure of how it would be possible is the pixel dimensions of the grid square. This is important because there are differences between the resolution size of a grid meant for online play with a platform such as Roll20, which uses 70×70 pixel dimensions, and a print map which is typically better at 50×50 pixels. I have chosen to  include this for now but it isn’t easily discerned if not provided, meaning that it might be of very little use to most people since image size can be adjusted to make the resolution fit their need.

Style is an element I also had difficulties with. It came about as a result of repeated mention when I consulted with the battle map community on Reddit regarding what they found important. I do not know artistic styles well, however, and I also needed it to cover colouration since this affects whether someone wants to print a map. The challenge has been in establishing its obligation. I have included it as an optional element because I do not think it is important enough to list as recommended, but I am also aware that this might be wrong. Further consultation is needed to address this. 


Overview

This schema is built off of Dublin Core with additional terms added. The battle atlas (ba) terms are meant to capture the specific needs of the domain not met by existing terms. Please see the tables on repeatability and obligation for information regarding these concepts when creating records.

Dublin Core

The definitions of each Dublin Core element can be found on the DCMI website Dublin Core Metadata Element Set, Version 1.1: Reference Description. Wherever possible, usage should follow the best practices recommended for Dublin Core. Where exceptions occur they have been noted below. However, this MAP is extensible should additional DC-compliant terms be required for future use. 

Contributor

Coverage

Used to specify a named location or time period (e.g. Waterdeep). Time period should only be captured when it is relevant to the map. While this element typically is used in conjunction with a controlled vocabulary, this is not possible for fantasy maps. Therefore, coverage should provide as much detail as is reasonable. For example, it is preferable to use “The Docks, Duskvol” to “The Docks” in order to improve clarity. 

Creator

While the use of a CV like the Union List of Artist Names is ideal, it is not required. Use a standardized form of an artist’s name when possible.

Date

Use this only for actual dates. If you want to capture a date relevant to the map, please specify it under coverage (e.g. “17th Century”). Should use subelements to specify kind of date (e.g. date created, date added. Two date records are used by this schema. Both should comply with standard recommended under Dublin Core.

created

Used to specify date created. 

submitted

Used to specify date map record was submitted to the repository.

Description

Use to capture information about the map’s purpose, features, or usage in sentence form. This can include information covered in the other elements but it can be used to suggest the map’s use. (e.g. “The Bog Witch’s hut is surrounded by murky bog water, making the approach difficult terrain. A putrid smell wafts from the lit chimney.”) If a map is specific to a game, the description can also be used to specify the game. (e.g. “A map for Starfinder.”) However, this is not recommended as a map may be applicable to multiple games.

Format

Use Media Types standard in conjunction with ISO/IES 80000-13-9.c compliant measurements for information size (e.g. KB). 

Identifier

A URL should be used to link to the source. This should not go directly to the download or a mirror. Current recommended practice is to link to creator’s official page. (e.g. “https://www.patreon.com/posts/jungle-ruins-20959355”)

Language

If there is textual information on the map, the language of the map should be recorded. This is meant for maps with notes. If there is only a title, this element is optional. 

Publisher

Patreon is not considered a publisher. 

Relation

Use the identifier of the related map here. Maps are considered related if they have a spatio-temporal relationship. This could include adjoining maps, different scales covering the same area, or maps of the same area but at different times. Relationships to other items should also be captured here.

Rights

If no specific licence or copyright terms are known, specify the rights holder.

Source

Title for source item. This will not be common, but if a map is from another item, it should be captured here. For example, if a map is from a digital or print book, a URI should be provided to that item.

Subject

Controlled vocabulary to describe genre of the map. A preliminary CV has been provided for examples of terms that might be relevant. Use uncontrolled vocabulary until the CV is established. When CV is established, all non-conforming terms should be replaced with compliant subject terms or transferred to a Folksonomy

Title

Type

Use to specify the perspective or form of the map. Can be repeated to capture multiple elements. This should be implemented as a pick list with the option to add additional entries.

Battle Atlas

These terms are provided in addition to the Dublin Core elements.  They address domain-specific needs, such as tactical grids, terrain features, and conceptual information related to the use of the maps in role-playing games. Please see the Guidance section for information about the specific application of these terms. 

Grid

Defined as “None”, “Square”, or “Hex”.

MapType

Describes how large the conceptual representation of the map is.

Quality

The resolution expressed in dpi or d/cm

Scale

Dimensions of one scalar unit (e.g. grid size).

Scope

Measurement of the map’s dimensions.

Special Feature

Describes a prominent feature, obstacle, or terrain element not already defined by another element. 

Style

The artistic style of the map.

Obligation

Each element has an obligation level which is described below:

Mandatory

Must be included for all records.

creator, identifier, title, rights

Mandatory if Applicable

Must be included if applicable.

contributor, language, publisher, scale

Recommended

It is recommended that these elements are included in all records if possible.

coverage, date, description, format, grid, gridSize, mapType, quality, relation, scope, specialFeature, source, subject, type

Optional

May also be included.

quality, style

Repeatability

Terms that are not repeatable are generally restricted to things that cannot be repeated because they represent unique elements of the entity; a single instance of a map can only be created once. A map may also only have one grid type. 

Repeatable

coverage, contributor, creator, description, identifier, language, mapType, publisher, relation, rights, scale, scope, specialFeature, source, style, subject, title, type

Not Repeatable

date-created, date-submitted, format, grid, gridSize, scale, scope, quality

Guidance on use of Battle Atlas elements

Term Name: grid

URI

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sgqR5yYYM0_y3tHtQsA8B6fwfBQex5JXpPkG1LI3br8/edit#heading=h.jz7gyyxp06zk 

Label

Grid

Definition

The presence or absence of a regular grid on the map. 

Obligation

Recommended

Repeatable

No

Encoding Scheme

ba:grid pick list: none, square, or hex

Comment

A map may only have one grid. If a second grid version exists that file is treated as a separate version which should be linked through the use of the relation field.

Term Name: gridSize

URI

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sgqR5yYYM0_y3tHtQsA8B6fwfBQex5JXpPkG1LI3br8/edit#heading=h.jz7gyyxp06zk 

Label

Grid Size

Definition

The dimensions in pixels of a single grid unit. 

Obligation

Recommended

Repeatable

No

Comment

Grid size should always be expressed in pixels (e.g. “50×50 pixels”)

Term Name: mapType

URI

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sgqR5yYYM0_y3tHtQsA8B6fwfBQex5JXpPkG1LI3br8/edit#heading=h.y87fhfghdo3a 

Label

Map Type

Definition

The conceptual scope of the map.

Obligation

Recommended

Repeatable

No

Encoding Scheme

ba:mapType controlled vocabulary

Comment

This term describes the scale of the map in terms of what it captures. For example, a map of Waterdeep would have a mapType: city. A controlled vocabulary has been proposed. If the CV remains small, use a pick list.

Term Name: quality

URI

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sgqR5yYYM0_y3tHtQsA8B6fwfBQex5JXpPkG1LI3br8/edit#heading=h.91grqfduov1r 

Label

Quality

Definition

Image resolution quality expressed in dpi or d/cm

Obligation

Optional

Repeatable

No

Comment

Unit type must be specified in the value.

Term Name: scale

URI

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sgqR5yYYM0_y3tHtQsA8B6fwfBQex5JXpPkG1LI3br8/edit#heading=h.ox543k1gc05o 

Label

Scale

Definition

How large one scalar unit is, expressed in feet or other appropriate unit.

Obligation

Mandatory if Applicable

Repeatable

No

Comment

While a scale of 5’ or 10’ is common, there are other kinds of measurements which might be used, such as AU for a solar system. Ideally a controlled vocabulary should be used, however, best practice is to used the units provided. If no unit of measurement is known, leave blank.

Term Name: scope

URI

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sgqR5yYYM0_y3tHtQsA8B6fwfBQex5JXpPkG1LI3br8/edit#heading=h.e20fmoii7xk0 

Label

Scope

Definition

The measured dimensions of the map expressed in grid units. 

Obligation

Recommended

Repeatable

No

Comment

Scope is useful for understanding how large a space is and what kinds of combats or encounters are possible within the map.

Term Name: specialFeature

URI

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sgqR5yYYM0_y3tHtQsA8B6fwfBQex5JXpPkG1LI3br8/edit#heading=h.xreomswr815l 

Label

Special Feature

Definition

A prominent feature, obstacle, or terrain element.

Obligation

Recommended

Repeatable

Yes

Comment

An uncontrolled vocabulary should be used as what counts as a special feature is broad. These elements should be highlights of the map, including things that might not be “special” per se (e.g. trees). 

Term Name: style

URI

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sgqR5yYYM0_y3tHtQsA8B6fwfBQex5JXpPkG1LI3br8/edit#heading=h.br3fwb33un4r 

Label

Style

Definition

The artistic style of the map

Obligation

Optional

Repeatable

Yes

Encoding scheme

Controlled Vocabulary recommended.

Comment

An appropriate encoding scheme might be to use the Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus’ Style Facet, however, additional concerns towards printing need to be captured as well (e.g. black and white vs. colour).


Examples

Title: Map of Thèah

Creator: John Wick Presents

Rights: Free access from John Wick Presents

Coverage: Thèah

Date-Submitted: 2018-11-11

Description: In-world map of the Thèah from the 7th Sea setting. Map has two sets of navigation lines emanating from the Trade Sea and the Vaticine Gulf. 

Format: application/pdf 1.93 MB

Grid: None

Identifier: http://7thsea.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/7thSea_In-World-Map.pdf

Language: en

mapType: World

Publisher: John Wick Presents

Special Feature: Navigation lines

Style: black and white

Style: antique map

Subject: Thèah

Subject: Fantasy

Type: Player Map

Title: Forked Road

Creator: Neutral Party

Rights: Neutral Party

Date-Created: 2018-11-09

Date-Submitted: 2018-11-11

Description: A forked road in a lightly wooded area with cliffs along one side.

Format: image/jpeg 410 KB

Grid: Square

Identifier: https://www.patreon.com/join/neutralparty/checkout?rid=2500734&redirect_uri=/posts/forked-road-22614746

Map Type: Area

Scope: 30 x 30 squares

Special Feature: cliffs

Special Feature: trees

Special Feature: ruined pillars

Special Feature: road

Style: colour

Style: graphic ink

Subject: Road

Subject: Fantasy

Type: Player Map

Title: The Fortress City of Finbarr’s Marsh

Creator: Matt Millby

Rights: Free access provided by Matt Millby.

Coverage: Finbarr’s Marsh

Date-Created: 2018-11-09

Date-Submitted: 2018-11-11

Description: Indexed and gridded map of the city Finbarr’s Marsh. Insides of buildings are visible. Finbarr’s Marsh is a fortified city. Contains annotations. Has several related maps. 

Format: image/jpeg 1.55 MB

Grid: Square

Identifier: http://www.milbysmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/finbarrs-marsh-ground-level-color-annotated-jpg-web.jpg 

Language: en

Map Type: City

Publisher: Millby’s Maps

Relation: http://www.milbysmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/finbarrs-marsh-second-level-color-jpg-web-1.jpg

Relation: http://www.milbysmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/finbarrs-marsh-third-level-color-web-1.jpg

Relation: http://www.milbysmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/finbarrs-marsh-fourth-level-color-web.jpg

Relation: http://www.milbysmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/finbarrs-marsh-upper-levels-COLOR-web.png

Relation: http://www.milbysmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/finbarrs-marsh-overview-large-web.jpg

Relation: http://www.milbysmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/finbarrs-marsh-underground-color-web.jpg

Scale: 5 ft. 

Scope: 109 x 99 squares

Special Feature: Island

Special Feature: Abbey

Special Feature: Quay

Special Feature: Stables

Special Feature: Castle
Special Feature: River

Special Feature: Marsh

Special Feature: Church

Special Feature: Dock

Special Feature: Index

Special Feature: Fountain

Style: colour

Style: Graphic Ink

Subject: City

Subject: River

Subject: Fantasy

Subject: Annotated Map

Type: Bird’s Eye View

Type: GM Map


Controlled Vocabularies

Proposed CV are subject to revision with feedback from stakeholders. These are provided for example only.

DC: Type

  • Pick List

    • Bird’s Eye

    • Stereographic

    • 3D

    • Animated

    • GM Map

    • Player Map

    • Adventure

BA: grid

  • Pick List

    • None

    • Square

    • Hex

BA: mapType

  • Pick List

    • World

    • Region

    • Area

    • City

    • Dungeon

      • Small (1-5 rooms)

      • Medium (6-10 rooms)

      • Large (11-20 rooms)

      • Huge (21+ rooms)

    • Building

    • Room


Subject Field Controlled Vocabulary:

These are a proposed framework upon which a vocabulary can be built. This section requires substantial work to complete.Subject terms should use uncontrolled vocabulary until this is complete.

  1. Biomes

    1. Aquatic

    2. Terrestrial

    3. Subterranean

    4. Structures

      1. Dungeon

        1. Large

        2. Medium

          1. 10-25 rooms

        3. Small

          1. 0-9 rooms

      2. Building

        1. House

        2. Tavern

        3. Commercial

        4. Industrial

        5. Military

  2. Genre Terms

    1. Modern

    2. Medieval

    3. Future

    4. Fantasy

    5. Science Fiction

    6. Western

    7. Horror

    8. Steampunk

    9. Cyberpunk

    10. Age of Sails

    11. Restoration

    12. Baroque

    13. Victorian

    14. Dieselpunk

    15. Solarpunk

    16. Renaissance

    17. Dark Age

    18. Bronze Age

    19. Space Opera

References

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. DCMI: DCMI Metadata Terms. http://www.dublincore.org/documents/dcmi-terms/#elements-coverage. Accessed 11 Nov. 2018.

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. DCMI: Dublin Core Metadata Element Set, Version 1.1: Reference Description. http://dublincore.org/documents/dces/. Accessed 12 Nov. 2018.

Getty Research Institute. Art & Architecture Thesaurus Full Record Display (Getty Research). http://www.getty.edu/vow/AATFullDisplay?find=&logic=AND&note=&subjectid=300015646. Accessed 11 Nov. 2018.

Getty Research Institute. Art & Architecture Thesaurus. http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/aat/. Accessed 11 Nov. 2018.

Getty Research Institute. Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (Getty Research Institute). http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/tgn/index.html. Accessed 12 Nov. 2018.

Getty Research Institute. Getty Union List of Artist Names (Research at the Getty). http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/ulan/index.html. Accessed 12 Nov. 2018.

Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. Media Types. https://www.iana.org/assignments/media-types/media-types.xhtml. Accessed 12 Nov. 2018.

International Organization for Standardization, et al. IEC 80000-13 Ed. 1.0 b:2008 Quantities and Units. ISO, 2006.

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