View Full Version : TransDEM- What do i need to know?

March 2nd, 2018, 05:29 PM
Hi guys
As the title says, TransDEM- What do i need to know?
I am strongly considering getting TransDEM, but do i need anything to go with it? For instance do i need to purchase OS maps of my local area (if so where can i do so) or is it free? Secondly, what version do i need. From the looks of the website there a lot of different versions, i assume the latest one? Is it compatible with TS2010 and / or TS12?

Thanks, Simon @ Thomas2000

March 2nd, 2018, 06:36 PM
Put briefly Maps can be accessed from within Transdem no need to buy anything extra, the digital terrain data for the UK is available free from Ordnance Survey Open Data or The Environment Agency.

Yes it will work with 2010 and TS12.

March 2nd, 2018, 08:07 PM
You need to download and work the maps, trace railway lines ... It is not as simple as it seems, as Transdem doesn't do all the figuring of data for you ... It takes a bit of a learning curve ... and I wonder how many people have bought Transdem, but they could not figure out how to download, and work the data, and get it into Trainz

March 2nd, 2018, 09:59 PM
I wonder how many people have bought Transdem, but they could not figure out how to download, and work the data, and get it into Trainz

Add my name to that list. I did manage, with much difficulty, to use TransDEM to create the Trainz (TS12) terrain with track for my local branch line. Obtaining the correct local DEM data was a nightmare.

The main issues I had was time to climb the learning curve and lack of understanding of where to get and how to use the source files.

I have vowed to go back into it one day because I can see it has huge advantages over any other method of creating the terrain. I have also vowed to learn Blender, a vow I have yet to even start working on.

March 2nd, 2018, 11:13 PM
TransDem is really not that hard to learn. What I did was find my area that I wanted to use, and use the tutorial in TransDem and used my area where they were using in the tutorial. It mite take a couple times, but you'll get it, just stick to it.

March 2nd, 2018, 11:53 PM
True, the tutorials are great but the hardest part I found was trying to understand where and how to get the satellite data and what type of data I needed. That will vary greatly from one country to another and they seem to have their own unique terminologies and web labyrinths to negotiate. It seems as if they don't want you to get the data for such a "non serious" purpose as "playing a game".

March 3rd, 2018, 03:05 AM
It really is not that difficult. Without sounding arrogant, if you have the intelligence and mindset to build a route then using Transdem at least at its basic level to get a route from DEM overlaid with Open Street Map or maybe Sabre Maps for the UK really isn't that hard.

March 3rd, 2018, 06:19 AM
Hi guys
Thanks for all the advice. I will (hopefully) purchase it today

Best, Simon :)

March 3rd, 2018, 07:34 AM
Even I, got it to work, and I am a dunce, although cyphering out UTM data coordinates on 4 corners of a map was challenging, luckily I had some previous knowledge of cartography

I would recommend that you have quite a bit of disc free space, to store map files on, or an external HD

March 3rd, 2018, 11:26 AM
It's got a lot of stuff to it, but like anything with lots of stuff to it you can only learn to use bits and pieces of it at a time. There are things in this great package which you may never, ever use while others you'll use quite often.

The most difficult part of the whole shebang is getting the map and data from the source. For USGS data, the National Server has changed data formats and methods about 5 times in the past three years, which makes keeping things straight on how to do stuff. Before we used to select data, submit the request, and download via email. A bit later we needed a Java applet to request and download data. Now it's direct download, but the files are YUGE!

In the olden days, we could download tiny areas, which were truly very helpful. Why download from Newington, NH to the Rhode Island border when all you need is a small area along the Merrimack River! The biggest part of the job now is trimming the unwanted parts down to what is really needed and then some more after that.

There are other things which I can't remember offhand at the moment, but if you need help don't be afraid to ask.

March 3rd, 2018, 12:30 PM
Hi all
Just finished installing it! Roland says that a pdf manual is included. Ive looked everywhere, and i cant find it. Ive emailed him back, but is it under a different name?
Best, Simon
EDIT: AH HA! Found it, and bloody hell this is going to take a lot longer than i thought! 180 pages??!!! HAHAHA :eek::o:D:hehe::hehe:

March 4th, 2018, 07:59 AM
Hi all
Just finished installing it! Roland says that a pdf manual is included. Ive looked everywhere, and i cant find it. Ive emailed him back, but is it under a different name?
Best, Simon
EDIT: AH HA! Found it, and bloody hell this is going to take a lot longer than i thought! 180 pages??!!! HAHAHA :eek::o:D:hehe::hehe:

When I personally first used TransDEM it took me a solid 2 days stint, and many cups of tea to produce a result. The manuals contain all required information, but I found that I was jumping from place to place in them while determining what to do next to produce the result I wanted. ModellerMJ's expanded texture set for TransDEM (if you want to use it) and his advice on selecting your optimal "eye height" when getting imagery from Google Earth adds additional jumping around in manuals as well. So I recommend from experience that you take your own set of notes and produce your own workflow document that suits you and is written your way. Then you have a sequential workflow procedure that you can repeat at a later time without having to go through the manuals in detail again. Now each time I use my own workflow document, I end up refining and clarifying it each time so it gets easier and faster to follow.

Your first route build with TransDEM will be difficult, but taking notes in this way - even though time consuming - will likely make your second attempt much much easier. HTH

March 4th, 2018, 08:15 AM
Its possible, but don't expect fast results. I use a serious pc with 10 TB of drive space, and I have made some large transdem routes with entirely too many maps.... And At times I had to leave my pc for 4 hours only to return to an error message, and repeat until I found all the limitations of the program, and figured out ways to work around them. When you run into a limitation you will just get a error, which never helped me with figuring out the problem.

A set of tools is helpful when dealing here.

Microdem helps with the dem data and merging dems, if you have 40 dems, transdem will only merge 1 at a time, have fun times 40.

Microdem will merge all 40 properly(with program errors) And does it with you only selecting merge dem, and all 40 files in one action.

WinRAR lets you work with many compression formats, like .rar

An account with free dem data services like, https://viewer.nationalmap.gov/launch/ to get dem data and even topo maps and the like.
1/3 arc-second DEMs are available for all of the usa and canada.
FOR THE USA, i guess they don't have outside the us, why not the damn satellites orbit.

Signing up with googles signature service(free) will let you download many more daily google maps than the free daily limit does.

A higher speed internet connection helps for all the dem data and ground maps.
Don't expect the results to be clean with the maps you apply in transdem, they are ment to be guides for placing your objects and ground textures.
The maps transdem puts down, are processed improperly by tane which causes graphic glitches in the transdem terrain map in the far distance.
You can see the discussion on the issue here: https://forums.auran.com/trainz/showthread.php?143694-How-do-I-disable-enable-wireframe-view-in-driver&p=1652364#post1652364

It is very fun and rewarding to be able to drive an entire route before even adding anything with tane.
This will allow you to see the way the landscape looks, and if you need more dems from a specific area that shows landscape gaps when you are on your rail line.


March 5th, 2018, 01:58 PM
Hi All
Turns out you don't really need the 180+ page manual. Just follow the tutorials in their respective sections. Much easier.
@Anathoth71 Same as. Took me a few attempts, but once youve got the hang of it, its relatively simple
@TINE Yeah, that's like the pro version way of doing it. I do it the MapTile way. Means having to put all the track down, but its really engrossing. Good fun :)
Best Simon

March 5th, 2018, 08:35 PM
You do not need to read the 180 page pdf which is the TransDem_engl.pdf Manual.
What you need to read is the OTHER manual TransDemTrainz_engl.pdf which is only 103 pages and gets you straight into the tutorials.

March 6th, 2018, 03:03 AM
I recommend buying TranzDem. It doesn't cost that much and being able to import a 3D terrain into Trainz is a big plus.