How to Get Real Height Data

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yzmxer608
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How to Get Real Height Data

Postby yzmxer608 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:44 am

Here's a tutorial on how to use actual height data from satellite information.

Software:
Here's a list of the software you will need.
Google Earth- You can just use the satellite on Google's website but it doesn't show coordinates, which is important if you want to be exact.
Microdem

Important links:
Geo Community GIS Data

Getting the Data:
  • First you will need to go into Google Earth and find where you want to take the terrain from. Important things to remember are the coordinates and the nearest county (if it's in the U.S.)
  • Next go to the Geo Community link and click "Download GIS Data" (Note: You have to sign up to download the data. Don't worry, it's free, but there is also a premium membership if you are interested).
    If what you want is in the U.S just click the state, then on the next page click county wide, find the county, then on the page after that click "Digital Elevation Models (DEM) - 24K".
  • If it's from any other country click the letter the country starts with, find the country in the list, then click nationwide data. I warn you in advance, not every place seems to have the data you need (you're looking for the "Digital Elevation Models (DEM) - 24K").
  • On the list that comes up after that, find the/closest place you are looking for. Once you find it, to download the data look on the right side where it says Download and Add to Cart. Click the green arrow pointing down. That will bring you to the download page. If there is more than one option, try downloading both and see the difference between them.
  • Extract it's contents somewhere you'll remember.

Getting the Terrain:
    Now that you have the data, you have to get the terrain out of it.
  • Open up Microdem. Go to File>Open>Open DEM. Go to where you saved the files you downloaded and select one of them. If there are multiple try opening a few of them to see the difference. So far all of the ones I've tried look the same as the rest in that set. You can also try File>Open>Open and merge DEMS.
  • So now you'll see a grey image. This is where the coordinates come in. Try to find the coordinates you want, make sure they are actually even in that image. If they are not try another file that came with the set, if you still can't find it you'll have to go back to the Geo Community site and try to download data from a different location.
  • Depending on the size of the area, and what you want, you can use the subset and zoom tool (the one that looks like a rectangular marquee with a white pen). To only get the area you want, It's the equivalent of the crop tool.
  • Now I normally zoom in a bunch (factor of 5-10 depending on what you want the size of your disp map to be). I just do it so it's big enough for the disp map.
  • Go to Modify>Display Parameter>Elevation. In the box that comes up click gray scale, then Ok. Now you have something that looks familiar.
  • Now go to Modify>Map Area>1:1 view. This will give you the height range. Using that with the length ruler, you can get the terrain close to it's actual size in game.
  • Once you have it in gray scale and the area you want, go to File>Save Map as Image>As GEOTIFF, screen scale (gray scale). Choose the name and where you want to save it and click Save.
  • Now you have the terrain! But, you have those overlays on it. I normally open the file in an image editing program, crop it square, resize it to whatever you're using, then save that for my terrain.png (also as a psd). That way I still have the original to use for the scaling information.

There is probably other sites that you can download the data from, but that is the one that was shown to me and I've had success with it. If you have any questions or things to add feel free to post them.

Thanks to haggqvist for posting info on the process. Also thanks to cpt_Slow for being the first to try this.
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Re: How to Get Real Height Data

Postby Sandhapper » Wed May 04, 2011 8:21 pm

Thx for the tutorial, but if i would try to make a heght map from budds creek i cant find Mechanicsville in Virginia. Do i something wrong or....?
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yzmxer608
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Re: How to Get Real Height Data

Postby yzmxer608 » Wed May 04, 2011 9:40 pm

Budds Creek is in Maryland, it's on this page (Mechanicsville) http://data.geocomm.com/catalog/US/6107 ... up4-3.html.
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Re: How to Get Real Height Data

Postby BrutalMX » Sat May 07, 2011 3:29 pm

THANK YOU so much for this yz! Ive been trial and erroring this whole idea for the past 2 months trying to make a replica of my home track, but this helps me out so much! thanks man!
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Re: How to Get Real Height Data

Postby cpt_Slow » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:24 pm

When I tried it I think to get the original DEM data I used this little google earth plugin http://www.ambiotek.com/topoview basically overlays all the regions of data on google earth and you can download straight from there. Hope this helps somebody

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Re: How to Get Real Height Data

Postby haggqvist » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:57 pm

I finally got the 1/9 arcsecond NED-files from http://seamless.usgs.gov/ to work and thought I'd post it here as an extension to the tutorial above.
These files have a resolution of 3m/px, instead of the 10m/px of those covered in the tutorial above, but are only available for parts of the US. A map of the cover can be found here.
Feel free to incorporate this in the main tutorial and erase this post.

Software
QGIS. This can most likely be done with other GIS-software as well but this is the one I used.

Instructions
- Download, install and start QGIS. Then click on add wms layer.

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- Click on new and fill in the wms url, in this case "http://imselev.cr.usgs.gov:80/wmsconnector/com.esri.wms.Esrimap/USGS_EDC_Elev_NED_9?" without the quotation marks.

Image



- Pick the county of interest from the list, in this case southwest PA to see what High Point looks like as an example. I find it easier to zoom in to the area of interest using a shaded relief image so first click once on ShadedRelief_PA_Southwest in the list to mark it and then click the add button. Then click once more on ShadedRelief_PA_Southwest to unmark it and scroll down in the list until you find Elev_PA_Southwest. Mark this and then click the add button. After the files are loaded click close to return to the main window.

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- There should now be two layers in the left pane, one greyscale heightmap and one shaded relief.

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- After some zooming in, perhaps with the help of google maps for reference, it should look something like this.

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- This is what the grayscale heightmap looks like. To save as a base terrain for mxsim click save as image from the file menu. This will save what can be seen in the main window as an image.

Image


- The saved image can then be opened in Photoshop, or some alternative image editing software with 16bit greyscale capability, for postprocessing.
Image

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Re: How to Get Real Height Data

Postby yzmxer608 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:07 pm

Yes!!!!! You're amazing man, that's going to produce some awesome stuff.
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Re: How to Get Real Height Data

Postby haggqvist » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:40 pm

yzmxer608 wrote:You're amazing man...

I wish that was true...
I'm sorry to say that everything I wrote in my previous post should be disregarded. I didn't actually get the dem-data in game before writing that. When I tried to later I found out that the export image function in QGIS is somewhat lacking to say the least. In short; it doesn't work and the post should be removed.
However, I've now found out how to use the seamless viewer at USGS properly and been able to download both 1/3 and 1/9 arcsecond dem-files that I've imported into the game. This method has a huge advantage over the method described in the original tutorial: it makes it possible to download orthophotos covering the exact same area as the dem-file and thus eliminating all tedious manual aligning of the terrain and the reference orthophoto.
I don't have time to describe it properly atm but I will later, after some well earned vacation.:)

Here are two screenshots of Budds Creek from a 1/9 dem-file. The only post-work done to the disp is partial smoothing of the scaling artifacts.
Image

Image
Image

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Re: How to Get Real Height Data

Postby yzmxer608 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:28 pm

yzmxer608 wrote:Yes!!!!! You're amazing man.

This still stands!
TeamHavocRacing wrote:If I had a nickel for every time someone asked for this, I would have a whole shitload of nickels.

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Re: How to Get Real Height Data

Postby yzmxer608 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:16 am

Finally got around to trying this. How did you get the demo files? In the seamless view I was able to find what I wanted, then downloaded from there after you use the box selector, but in that download the only thing I see that will work with microdem is a shp file but when I open that it doesn't seem like it has anything to do with what I want.
TeamHavocRacing wrote:If I had a nickel for every time someone asked for this, I would have a whole shitload of nickels.

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Re: How to Get Real Height Data

Postby haggqvist » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:37 pm

yzmxer608 wrote:Finally got around to trying this. How did you get the demo files? In the seamless view I was able to find what I wanted, then downloaded from there after you use the box selector, but in that download the only thing I see that will work with microdem is a shp file but when I open that it doesn't seem like it has anything to do with what I want.

Here's a brief description of how I go about it:
- Find the area of interest.
- Click the download button in the right pane.
- Mark the area you want to download data for with the "Define rectangular download area"-button and a new window opens.
- Click "Modify data request".
- At the bottom, change the value of "Maximum size per piece" to 250MB.
- Check the boxes next to the files you're interested in, typically all the orthophotos listed and the 1/3 and 1/9 dem files. For the dem-files, change the data format to geotiff.
- Click "Save changes and return to summary".
- Download the files from the request summary page.
- Open the geotiff dem in microdem. Don't resize it! Just convert it to grayscale, make a note of the z-range for the terrain.hf. and save as .png.
- Open the .png in ps and change it to 16bit.
- Paste the orthophoto in the same .psd.
- Now you have a base disp, with a perfectly aligned orthophoto as a reference, that can be cut down to whatever size you want.

Hope this works for you...
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yzmxer608
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Re: How to Get Real Height Data

Postby yzmxer608 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:40 am

That sounds like it'll work great, I'll have to test it out. Thanks man.
TeamHavocRacing wrote:If I had a nickel for every time someone asked for this, I would have a whole shitload of nickels.

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Re: How to Get Real Height Data

Postby yzmxer608 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:02 am

Oh yeah, works like a charm!
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Re: How to Get Real Height Data

Postby BraydenKTM » Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:04 am

ohk i did what you told me to do but i cant find dade city in there
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Re: How to Get Real Height Data

Postby BraydenKTM » Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:18 am

BraydenKTM wrote:ohk i did what you told me to do but i cant find dade city in there




all good i found it
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