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Instructions for j. H. Sullivan's incomplete routes

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    Instructions for j. H. Sullivan's incomplete routes

    (Please note, I will be editing this topic over the next few weeks as I discover new things)

    Given that I have achieved the age of 85, and my forebears did not make it past 96, I doubt there is any way that I will completely finish all routes that I am currently piddling with. Also, Kinney Eaton and many others are far better at reproducing nature than I am, so my contribution will be to provide track, most important roads, and full digitizing of any less than important roads. If nature has taken over an abandoned rail line so that it is hard to discern the path on the ground, I will note that and provide the best rendering as I can. All of my routes will have terrain and distant mountains generated and while I would prefer to use higher resolution digital elevation modules (DEMs) than 1 arc/sec the USGS seems to have changed the format (again) and only those are now usable in DEMEX. The only software tools that you will need are KML2MKR which is in the utilities portion of the library, and Google Earth Pro, which is free. I would also recommend the use of the ConText editor for eding marker files. With that tool you can copy & past the seperate .mkr files into the route marker file in as many or as few sections at a time and when a section is complete you can just delete the digitizing for that section. When digitizing a path in Google Earth, note that only the points you produce will display as markers. Therefore you can zig-zag as much as you want in order to fill in as many road lines as desired. I would recommend that you NOT do this with track lines should you decide to add any.

    Google Earth is a great tool but it is far from perfect. In the early years of MSTS we did not have Google Earth but a retired airline pilot had produced something called UsaPhotomaps which used date kept by Microsoft. Images were black and white and for the most part produced good results --- BUT ---. Eventually Microsoft did away with the database used by this product and when we went to Google EArth, we found that the coordinates were off by just a little bit, about 50 meters, small in the context of the earth, but huge if you are laying track. Also depending on time of year and presence or lack, of cloud cover, and distortion there can be some undesired wiggles here and there, especially if you have to switch back and forth a bit between collection dates of the data. I try to use only the data that is in sharp focus. If there is a lateral break in a line to be digitized, then all I know to do is adjust tje digitzed path to minimize the zig or zag.

    If you want to copy part of one route into another, as I will have done with Harlowton and Great Falls on the N.Montana route there are some things that cause a problem. In the first place the other author may have used another coordinate group than you are using because he may not have had a choice. This was the case with Michael Stefan who did a really great rendition of Great Falls but it is about 100 meters north of the location using Google Earth. This was so great that I considered not using it, but in the end, I eased the visual change as best as I good at a point just east of Malmstrom AFB, and just west of downtown on the line going on to Agawam, MT. The other issue is dynamic track. If there is any, in the route you are copying from, then you must be careful when you touch each piece of track. If you touch, and notice in the object window that there are just some numbers, then I hope you have saved your work just before selecting the piece. If so, then jot down the parameters, first straight, radius, etc. Now when you select something else, this piece will not find an entry into the dynamic track data file and TSRE will crash to desktop. Hence, save at least every few "touches".

    For each route, I will fill out the description sheet and if anyone completes the route, they should edit the description to fit their contribution. I just ask to be footnoted as the original creator of the basic infrastructure. If you grab an incomplete route with the intention of completing it, you should post a new topic describing your expected action and perhaps a rought time line to completion. Note that "incomplete" means there will be no mileposts, signals, or other interactive items present and as far as possible, I will try to reduce the use of dynamic track.

    Jerry Sullivan, retired from CSX, Southern, Southwest Signal/Xorail/Wabtec, and the docent corps at C&TS)

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    Last edited by landnrailroader; 06-13-2024, 09:24 AM.