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"Surveyor - Topology"
Computer-generated Terrain

Last Revised: 12/12/2003
Background:
In addition to manually changing the elevation of areas on the baseboard, Trainz provides a way to use bitmap images to raise and lower the elevation. These are discussed on the page that describes the Topology Panel .
If you want to model a real world layout, you may want to download two data sets and two programs that are available on the Internet, but which work together to help provide elevation to the surface for your layout's baseboard and, optionally, paste an image showing locations of streets and the rail line on it.
1. The first data set is called "DEM" (Digital Elevation Model) data. It's a database, prepared for areas within the United States, by the U.S. Geological Survey with elevation data for 90 meter, 30 meter and 10 meter intervals over the U.S. This type of data is also available for other countries from various local agencies, (often at considerable cost). With the help of the "MicroDEM" program, described below, this data can be transformed into a computer image, where different shades of color are used to represent the various elevations. Then, with the help of the "HOG" program, also described below, the image can be used to change the elevations on your Trainz baseboard.
2. The second data set is called TIGER (Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing system) data. It is a computer image map showing roads, rivers, lakes, rail lines, and other features. In this image, each feature is represented by a different color. The MicroDEM program can also display this data as a computer image that it can be placed on your Trainz baseboard by the "HOG" program, described below.
3. The first of the two programs is called MicroDEM. It is a microcomputer mapping program written by Professor Peter Guth of the Oceanography Department, U.S. Naval Academy. It displays and merges digital elevation models, satellite imagery, scanned maps, vector map data, and GIS databases. from sources such as US Geological Survey, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, Census Bureau, National Ocean Survey, British Ordnance Survey, Landsat TM, and SPOT. 19
4. The second of the two programs is called HOG. It's a Trainz terrain generation tool written by Adam Wojcieszyk, a Trainz user. It is a utility to create Trainz ".gnd" files out of ".tga" images. Once the ".gnd" file is created, it can be used to replace the ".gnd" file that Trainz includes when you create a new single-baseboard, empty layout, (more about this later). Starting with a new one-baseboard layout, HOG will add as many baseboards as needed to cover the area described by the DEM image you give it. If you also supply the TIGER image, that MicroDEM created, it will paste this image on the baseboard surface. Finally, it can identify rail lines in the TIGER image, (by their color) and trim baseboards that can't be seen from the rail line. All of this is under your control because you tell HOG which images to use and how many buffer baseboards to include when trimming, We go into more detail about this below.
Proceed to these topics in turn, unless you are already familiar with them:
1. Downloading and Installing DEM Data
2. Downloading and Installing TIGER Data
3. Downloading and Installing the MicroDEM Program
4. Downloading and Installing the HOG Program
5. Using the MicroDEM Program
          Selecting The MicroDEM Elevation Display
          Selecting Elevation Map Options
          Eliminating MicroDEM Grid Lines and Marginal Information
          Determining MicroDEM Minimum and Maximum Elevations
          Determining and Adjusting MicroDEM screen Pixel Size
          Saving The MicroDEM Elevation Image
          Creating and Saving the TIGER Image
6. Converting the MicroDEM data to ".tga" Format:
     Using IrFanView

       Using Photoshop
7. Using the HOG Program
8. Moving the HOG Data to the Trainz Program

CONTINUE with the next topic, Downloading and Installing DEM Data

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