DEM Tutorial - For Dummies (Revised)

Game Version: FS11 and later
GE Version: ? and later

Modding Index | Map Making Tutorials

[center]DEM Tutorial - For Dummies [/center]Hi Everybody,

Here is my revised version of my DEM tutorial. Remember to follow each step closely.

 Firstly you will need to the following programs: WinZip, 7zip or other zip program Giants Editor (Latest version)

Before starting you will need to download the DEM overlay addon for Google Earth. This is a Google search link which will load the file you need to download. Just download it and run the file which will install the overlay in Google Earth.

The link in should say something like this: 'SRTM4.1 -'

Step 1 - Go to this website:

[img width=750 height=394][/img]

Select the link in the red highlighted area which will take you to this screen.

[img width=750 height=392][/img] [img width=750 height=750][/img]

This page gives you a map of the earth which is split up into grid boxes. Just select the area of the earth that your map is located in. (If you select the wrong box just press the 'clear area' button above the map to start again.) Once you have selected the box you want press the 'Click to Begin Search' button…

[img width=750 height=392][/img]

You can now download the map terrain data for the area you have previously selected. Download it to your desktop so that it is easier to find. Also you will need to unzip the file so that you access its files later on.

Step 2 -

Go to this website:

[img width=750 height=394][/img]

You can choose to download the microDEM either for 64 bit or 32 bit OS. Once downloaded you need to run the program.

[img width=750 height=429][/img]

[img width=750 height=447][/img]

[img width=750 height=501][/img]

You now need to Unzip the file you downloaded earlier. Once unzipped select the map picture file. This is the DEM.

Once loaded you will probably want to zoom into the area you wish so use. Select the zoom button. I found a factor of 8 worked best. You can zoom in more but it will take longer to load the more you zoom in. Once zoomed in you can move around using the slider bars on the map box. For this tutorial I have selected the Gower peninsular in South Wales.

[img width=750 height=447][/img]

[img width=750 height=447][/img]

Now you want to select the subset button. One pressed draw a rough square around the area you want. You can make this as big or as small as you want, but make sure you have the area you want for your map inside it. Once done it will then crop and zoom into that area you have marked out.

[img width=750 height=468][/img]

Once you have used the subset you need to right-click on the map and select 'Display Parameter'.

[img width=750 height=468][/img]

Followed by…

[img width=750 height=468][/img]


[img width=750 height=468][/img]

Make sure that you select 'terrain colour scale'. Then you need to select the 'z range' button.

[img width=750 height=468][/img]

Now this is the tricky bit. The figures in that box are the minimum and maximum height and depth of the map. However when you use these figures in GE you will end up with huge mountains and deep gorges instead of a rolling landscape. What I would suggest is you increase the maximum figure by about 100-200. Just in case that amount does not give you the desired terrain keep the MicroDEM program running so that you can redo the elevation figures, without having to start from scratch again. Once you have altered the elevation figures you then click 'File', then 'save map as image' , then 'Quick map export to Google earth'.

[img width=750 height=468][/img]

Press 'Ok'. [img width=750 height=468][/img]

This will now load Google Earth with the DEM overlay.

[img width=750 height=468][/img]

Next zoom into the area that you want for your map. Make sure that the image is facing straight down by holding the middle mouse button and moving until your facing 90 degrees down.

Next click the 'N' on the compass as this will then center your image exactly. [img width=750 height=468][/img]

For this next section I have used the terrain for Coldborough Farm as the landmarks should be familiar with most people who have played my map.

Here is the DEM for the area of Coldborough Farm and its surroundings. [img width=750 height=468][/img]

Next zoom into the are you want, remember to click off any place names, roads etc… you wan the image as clutter free as possible.

Now you want to get your starting terrain as smooth as possible. (The less opacity will make the trees, hedges, and roads, stand up on your terrain) you can adjust the opacity of the overlay by rightclicking on the MicroDEM image in the side bar under 'Places', then clicking 'Properties'. Once you've drawn the ruler line. Adjust the opacity so that the DEM is full opacity and not showing any of the map beneath it. This will make it a lot easier smoothing down the terrain in GE. [img width=750 height=468][/img]

Next select 'Tools' from the top tab bar, then 'Ruler'. [img width=750 height=468][/img]

Next draw a 2km line at a 90 degree angle along the edge of the area you want. [img width=750 height=468][/img]

For doing a 4x map you would need to do a 4km line. It can be a bit tricky getting exactly 90 degrees, just be nice and steady with your mouse and get it as close as you can.

Next click save. Name the line anything you want. This will save the line and keep it there for you to use later. [img width=750 height=468][/img]

Next press 'Print Screen' on your keyboard. Then load up and make a new blank image, then paste the image from google earth in. [img width=750 height=468][/img]

Now select the square crop/box tool. (Highlighted in Red) Now starting from the bottom left corner of the area we want nearest the red line hold the left mouse button and draw a square. (To make an exact square hold 'left shift' down, this will make you draw a perfect square) Keep extending the box until it is line with the other end of the red line. You will now have a box which represents a 2 square km map. [img width=750 height=468][/img]

You can now copy the cropped section of the image by pressing 'left ctrl+c' to copy, then 'left ctrl+n' to make a new image, then 'left ctrl+v' to paste the cropped image on to the new one. [img width=750 height=468][/img]

Next resize the image by selecting 'Image' then 'Resize'. Change the image size to 1025 x 1025 pixels. [img width=750 height=468][/img]

You can now load your Mod map's DEM terrain image. Then just copy your new image on top of the old one. You now have your new DEM for your map.

Just remember you will need to smooth it down in Giants Editor. Also for a map overlay just redo the last section of this tutorial but lower the opacity of the DEM overlay in Google earth to zero and print that image. You will need to make that image 2048 x 2048 pixels to be the correct size. This can be used in conjunction with Dorsets tutorial found here:

Hope this helps everyone to go and make there very own map of where they live. Just remember to take your time with this tutorial and take 1 step at a time.

Happy modding everybody…


Original Author: BulletBill83 | Date: April 21, 2015

Modding Index | Map Making Tutorials