The Habitable Region lies between the Amazonis and Chryse oceans in the northern hemisphere. The loosely defined borders encompass an interconnected web of settlements linked by the trade network, without which survival is impossible. The habitable region is largely unpopulated, with the exception of clustered population centers.
Tharsis is overshadowed by the dormant shield volcanoes of Olympus Mons and the three Tharsis Montes. The first colonies were established in this region by a combined American and European effort, with notable contributions from Turkey. Water is fed to major cities by the Schiaparelli Canal network, the main body of which extends to the State of Tholus, while the southern tributary terminates in Daedalia State. The Tharsis Impasse is inaccessible to travel due to the high elevations of the plateau.
Xanthia began as a joint colonization effort of Russia and China who together founded the first permanent settlements in the Xanthe Terra region. The population of Xanthia resides primarily in coastal areas along the Valles Marineris canyon system which forms the southern border. Major cities are connected by a hydroelectric rail network.
The Independent Region has seen little in the way of infrastructure development since the Separation from Earth. While the first wave of colonization brought scientists and engineers to the northern territories, the second wave brought large numbers of settlers to the south. These newcomers differed from the technical experts and cosmonauts that had come before. On Earth, small refugee populations were allowed to apply for colonization, and select communities were chosen for their ability to survive under harsh conditions by virtue of their tenacious, tight-knit communities. With no central government, the IR is home to a mix of autonomous groups. Kurds occupy the northeast, and a diverse mix Chechens, North Koreans, Tibetans, and others are widely scattered along the northern border. Due to their difficult history, Independents maintain insular societies and harbor a general mistrust of Northerners. Radio communication with Independents is minimal, and international contact is often limited to trade at the border, with camel caravans and bicycle rails reaching outlying settlements.