Private Land Geography Research

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Second Life Geography

Private-owned sims are the vast majority of land on the grid. They show a high diversity in Geographic features: land features, ground texture, vegetation and buildings. In many cases, they also have a complex system of skyboxes. But, a classification of these land features is possible and it shows in fact what are the aspirations of the people behind the scene.

Private sims are found in the following places:

The following listings are the data collected by Second Life Geography team by visiting private-owned sims.

Geographic features

Land fragmentation

  • Undivided: 42.2%
  • Divided by mountains: 5.1%
  • Divided by objects: 4.4%
  • Divided by parcel lines: 13.3%
  • Divided by roads: 4.0%
  • Divided by water: 14.6%
  • Unknown: 16.5%

Geographic type

  • Artificial & skyboxes: 5.1%
  • Hills: 11.5%
  • Mountains: 13.2%
  • Plain: 22.8%
  • Plateaus: 9.2%
  • Tropical beach paradise: 18.0%
  • Water: 3.8%
  • Unknown: 16.4%


  • Air: 0.5
  • Inside buildings: 4.8
  • None: 23.9
  • Paths: 6.8
  • Railways: 0.8
  • Roads: 7.1
  • Water: 6.3
  • Unknown: 10.7

Water presence

  • No water: 19.6%
  • <40% water: 41.0%
  • ~50% water: 13.9%
  • >60% water: 9.4%
  • Complete flooded: 1.3%
  • Unknown: 14.7%

Ground texture

  • Covered ground: 4.9%
  • Designed special: 0.8%
  • Empty ground: 4.0%
  • Grass: 49.8%
  • Sand: 23.9%
  • White: 0.6%
  • Unknown: 15.9%


  • Colored plants: 3.9%
  • Dead plants & desert: 0.3%
  • Forest: 12.0%
  • None: 19.7%
  • Parks: 2.4%
  • Small plants: 3.4%
  • Temperate, not forest: 15.4%
  • Tropical: 23.3%
  • Water submerged plants: 0.8%
  • Unknown: 18.8%

Building style

  • Advertise (large): 5.3%
  • Advertise (small): 5.2%
  • Antiquity: 1.0%
  • Beach style: 15.5%
  • Exposition: 1.0%
  • Fantasy: 1.9%
  • Far East & East: 1.5%
  • Industrial: 0.5%
  • Later then medieval: 2.4%
  • Medieval: 5.0%
  • Modern: 7.8%
  • None: 6.8%
  • Not quite buildings: 1.8%
  • Ruins: 0.6%
  • Rural: 4.9%
  • Rustic: 7.9%
  • Sci-fi: 1.8%
  • Suburbs: 7.4%
  • Under water: 0.2%
  • Urban: 3.6%
  • Unknown: 18.0%

Land destination

  • Club/party: 4.4%
  • Commercial, not shops: 3.4%
  • For sale, rent: 9.3%
  • Institution: 2.3%
  • Not used: 2.1%
  • Private sandbox: 0.3%
  • Recreation: 20.8%
  • Residential: 25.6%
  • Roleplay: 6.3%
  • Shops: 7.8%
  • Unknown: 17.7%

Access restrictions

  • None found: 67.0%
  • Themed outfit: 1.8%
  • Ban lines: 9.4%
  • Entity orbs: 4.5%
  • Skybox limited: 3.4%
  • No access: 13.9%


These results are made after visiting (or attempting to visit) 682 private sims at random with an avatar. Results are calculated based on what was found on each sim. If access was limited, other possible resources were used (like world map). When no information could be obtained, the sim was noted as 'unknown' features.

For land fragmentation, it was important if that is visible. For example, if land is divided but used by the same person, it was not count. Or, if land is used by two persons and it is not a visible separation, also it was considered undivided. In some cases, land separation is done by multiple ways: by water channels and mountains at the same time (for the same separation line or for two different borders). The dominant feature was counted.

Also, for Geographic style, the dominant feature was considered. It is known that a single sim can host at the same time all types of land. The only exception is that a flatland separated by mountain ranges, where almost all land is flat, was considered a plateau, because a plain must be almost completely flat.

At Transportation, the dominant transport way was considered. This, because sometimes in the same sim you might find roads, railways and waterways. In some places, transport ways are only decorative, but were still noted.

At Water presence all is very clear: water surface was measured.

Ground texture varies from sim to sim. There are a few categories listed here. Please note that there are many subcategories, not listed. For example, when ground looks like grass, it cound be lighter, darker or covered with flowers. Only main categories were listed to avoid confusions.

Vegetation includes the main type found in a sim. It was not required that a sim is completely covered with trees to be listed as a 'forest'. And also, forests are over 95% made of temperate trees. Palm trees only on rare occasions form a forest. So, dominant type of vegetation is of temperate origin, tropical vegetation is second, but only at a few percents difference.

Including a sim in a different category based on its Building style was the hardest challenge. Again, the dominant feature was considered representative. In the following, each category is explained:

  • Advertise (large) - might be a shop or a place for gambling, but not inside a building.
  • Advertise (small) - usually found at places set for sale or for rent
  • Antiquity - ancient buildings
  • Beach style - from wooden to modern buildings, but connected to water
  • Exposition - expositions
  • Fantasy - as its name say, something out of this world
  • Far East & East - Arabic, Chinese and other Asian
  • Industrial - as its name says
  • Later then medieval - steampunk and related
  • Medieval - middle ages and also Western
  • Modern - usually modern buildings
  • None - no building
  • Not quite buildings - statues, fences for animals and other things that are not buildings
  • Ruins - as its name says
  • Rural - rural communities
  • Rustic - buildings in nature, but not rural
  • Sci-fi - tomorrow style
  • Suburbs - something between a city and a rural building
  • Under water - rare, as its name says
  • Urban - both dark-urban and towns
  • Unknown - no information available.

Land destination is listed as follows:

  • Club/party - when a large part of a sim is made for this
  • Commercial, not shops - for example a place for gambling
  • For sale, rent - as its name says
  • Institution - as its name says
  • Not used - nothing built
  • Private sandbox - rare
  • Recreation - this includes wilderness places, decorative things, hangout, expositions and estate protected land
  • Residential - all what looks residential
  • Roleplay - includes also combat places
  • Shops - inworld shops (if they are large)
  • Unknown - places that could not be visited and no data is available.

For Access restrictions, only what the visitor avatar encountered is listed. This is better, because it shouldn't be fair to list an entire sim to have ban lines or entity orbs if only a tiny parcel has these restrictive devices. Please note that some places allow a single parcel for access (the tier box). In other places, access is granted, but there is no parcel that allows direct teleport. so, it might be possible to visit a sim from another nearby sim, if they are connected.

Estimated errors are about 5% of value + 0.2%. For example, if for a category the measured value is 10%, error is 0.5%, plus 0.2 (=0.7%), while if the measured value is 2%, error is 0.1% plus 0.2% (=0.3%).

Not planned for this research, but as a direct result, it was also made a small name research. It shows that in over 70% of cases there is no connection between a sim name and what that sim really hosts.

See also

Second Life Geography