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Chernarus: a forgotten region in the windswept depths of Eastern Europe, it still bears the scars of a recent past dominated by the Soviet Union.

Today it is at the epicentre of a zombie outbreak sweeping across the world. Ordinary citizens fight for survival against marauding bandits, rogue military units and hordes of wandering undead.

None of this is of course true. Chernarus is famous not as the scene of a civilisation-destroying zombie apocalypse, but rather as the fictional setting for the popular DayZ survival video game.

As an avid player, I could hardly pass up the cartographical opportunities that this massive 225 km2 map presented. This map of an imagined pre-outbreak public transport system is my second dive into the depths of the extensive DayZ lore and geography.

The Map

This is a revised version of a project to map a plausible pre-apocalypse public transport system for Chernarus. The first version, available here, has a number of issues and areas for improvement.

I took a number of these issues into consideration when making the new map. The first and most obvious is the inefficient use of space. Schematic maps are not intended to replicate actual geography. Rather, they are intended to make the network as simple and legible as possible. Most cities have adopted this approach to mapping their transport systems. Even Melbourne’s well-established geography-based map was recently changed on this basis.

The map’s presentation has also been completeley remade from the ground up. Using a colour palette inspired by 1980s propaganda posters from the Soviet Union, new colours have replaced the fairly generic graphics of the first version. Open Sans has been substituted by ‘Snowstorm’, a fantastic font by Denis Sherbak.

Some other changes from the previous version include:

  • Adding a new bus stop at North East Airfield and Topolka Dam
  • Reorganising the legend for space efficiency
  • Changing railway colour scheme and station shapes
  • Adding 'Chernarus Transit' logo

To clarify, this map is based on the original Arma 2 mod version of Chernarus, not Chernarus+ in DayZ Standalone. There are important differences between these two regions.

Planning the Network

Without going into too much detail, my approach to planning the network is based off a fairly new theory of public transport network planning called ‘Triangle Town’.

Basically, it is based off a Swiss approach to regional public transport which involves connecting primary and secondary nods with each other in increasingly smaller triangles. The process involves a number of steps, but can be briefly summarised as progressively identifying and connecting nodes of primary, secondary and tertiary importance to create a network ‘backbone’ along which services can run.

Triangle Town is useful for this situation as it doesn’t require high-frequency services, which would be impractical and useless for 99% of a vehicle’s journey when travelling through the countryside of Chernarus.

This has been implemented in this map where I began with identifying primary nodes. In this case, they were the major towns and cities. Smaller villages and hamlets followed.

Some of the smallest hamlets have no services at all. This is not because I have a particular dislike for any of them (except maybe Tulga where I died glicthing through a burnt out car) but because servicing them would be fairly pointless given their tiny populations.

In the end, there’s no point slavishly adhering to a theory without taking context into account. No public transport network in the world is one hundred percent compliant with any standard or theory. Judgement calls must be made. In the end, I think it is a fairly good representation of the public transport that the good citizens of Chernarus might have enjoyed before the Great Infection.