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Thread: Using real maps

  1. #1
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    Default Using real maps

    In the ancient version of TANE that I used to use - or was it Trainz? - you used to be able to overlay a photo of a real map so that you could attempt to copy at least the outlines in your game. As I recall, you had to have both map and surveyor set to exact sizes, but it wasn't difficult. Is this still possible in TRS2022? And if so, are there instructions around anywhere?

  2. #2
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    The tool in question is called Basemapz. ApproachMedium made a great tutorial on the thing, I suggest you check it out.
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  3. #3
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    There are assets called Basemap on the DLS.

    Each asset is a 720 x 720 square asset that you clone and edit.

    When you edit the asset, you replace the supplied image with one of your own with the same name.

    To use the asset, you place each on each baseboard individually in the order you want to create an overlay for your route. You then trace the tracks over them. Since they are objects, they can move easily if bumped while placing assets. To get around that, they need to be locked on another layer.

    Mike Jenkins, aka ModelerMJ created a program called Basemapz which does the same thing as above with the process automated, making everything a whole lot easier to do. This is mainly used for model railroads but I'm sure you can use it for real-world maps.

    The alternative is to use a program called TransDEM. TransDEM will import real-world DEM files and allow you to place topographic maps on top of the satellite land data. The program, however, is complex and there's a bit of a learning curve but the results are worth it in the end. There are some tutorials and videos showing how to use the program and the program creator, GeoPhil (Roland Ziegler) is a member here on the forums.
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    I made extensive use of Basemapz back in TRS2004/TRS2006 and it is great for placing man-made features such as railway lines, roads and, depending on the map source, even fence lines. Natural features such as lakes, creeks, rivers can also be accurately placed onto the baseboards. One thing they do not do, however, is elevation. The Basemapz asset is perfectly flat and does not allow for height changes so topology features (hills, slopes, depressions, valleys, etc) have to be added by some other means.

    This is where TransDEM is far superior but, as John points out, it has a long and steep learning curve. Sourcing the DEM data can also be an issue.
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  5. #5
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    For what it is worth, I've used Google Earth maps set at 720 x 720 metres with Basemapz. However to keep data levels as low as possible I make sure that I create them on a 'Route Layer' which I can easily delete, when I have completed the basic detailing of each section.
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    Hm - I read the instructions for Basemapz and it seemed to me it was really for making a copy of somone else's route, which is not what I want to do. I may still have a go with it, but for the moment, I have simply drawn a grid over a printed copy of a Google map of the areal I'm interested in and am sort of copying that. Since this is a fictitious route, it doesn't matter if I get a few things wrong - all I wanted was to have features at one end of the map match up with another feature miles away in map terms, ie what would be latitude and longitude on the real map, but is just up, down and sideways on my screen.
    It's working pretty well for getting features in roughly the right place, but I seem to stretching the limits of the program - ie saves are very slow.
    This is strange as this is my fourth attempt at this route: have sabotaged it each time by changing something so that TRS2022 lost touch with it - anyway, my freehand previous efforts seemed to work well. It is a large area and it was the first time I had filled in the entire map instead of just have 2-4 boards under each track, but this fourth time, with only one short length of track laid so far and no stations yet attached, the game is playing up on me. The only think I thought I was doing differently was making the sea a negative height, where before I had the sea at 0.00 and my land from 3.00-35.00. Now my sea is at -30.00 I can't see why this would make a difference, but something is.

  7. #7
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    I believe there is also using Transdem and JOSM to put down openstreetmap images on Transdem dem files.
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    a little tutorial using G. Earth to make templates by my friend Olaf99,
    it's in Dutch, but it will be clear what he does
    https://youtu.be/5WYshfi4X3Q

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    Quote Originally Posted by G.M. View Post
    a little tutorial using G. Earth to make templates by my friend Olaf99,
    it's in Dutch, but it will be clear what he does
    https://youtu.be/5WYshfi4X3Q
    Fascinating, but I think I'd need to be watching that on my iPad while fiddling with Trainz on my computer.
    This seems to be a Windows thing, and he was showing me a number of things I have no idea how to find on my Mac. I may still have a go at it later.

  10. #10
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    I should have admitted that, although I can see uses for this program, what I really want is a height map - I don't want to reproduce whole factories or towns, but I do like to see what I can do with someone else's physical features - OK, my girlfriend doesn't like it either.

  11. #11
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    There are some displacement maps that are the same thing. These are found in the topology tool - the topmost tool used to raise and lower land and add water.

    Click on the advanced pulldown.

    With "Ground" and "none" displayed, click on the arrow to the right of "none".

    You'll see various greyscale images. To use them, choose one of the images.

    Draw a square using the area selection button on the lower left.

    Using the horizontal slider, you can adjust the height to increase or decrease the contrast, thus the height of your map.

    Once satisfied, click on the fill area button - looks like a beaker with red liquid being poured into it.


    The bigger the area you select - you can do this by zooming out carefully and selecting a whole baseboard, the more you can fill at once and create a whole landscape this way.

    I can't remember if there are any displacement maps on the DLS, but if they are, download some and then clone them and import your own images.

    Here's a website you can use to download grayscale height maps. It says to generate maps for Cities Skylines, but they work the same in Trainz.

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  12. #12
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    Thanks for that link. It looks useful, although so far I haven't worked out how to use it. I'm afraid I steer well clear of TRS's new interface and stick with the old one, which indeed does have the capacity to create strange topography, but I'm trying to imitate real places and I find I get better fine control using the simple controls.

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