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Thread: Best way for marking out stuff for a route

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Wayzata, MN Mile Post 26.6 on BNSF Wayzata Sub

    Default Best way for marking out stuff for a route

    Hey everyone I really want to get going on my Twin Cities route and the roads and scenery and other stuff like that. My goal is to work on one route at a time since it is multiple routes. I wanted to know what the best way to mark things out like roads, bridges, buildings and other things like that? I do know of the long method of marking them out with markers and then converting them but that seems to take up way too much time. I have seen others put map onto the tiles in the game and was wondering if that is the best way to go?



  2. #2


    The two approaches I've used the most...

    1) Within a Google KML file, creating lots & lots of path style markers to mark out the footprint of a bridge or a large building, and then placing a point for the path about every 10M so. These are dirt-easy to create, but can also quickly overwhelm the RE's memory.

    While I agree that creating markers *can* be time consuming, it's also tried and true, and doesn't require anything more than Google Earth and a conversion utility like my KML2Marker in the file library.

    2) The Solution for Real Terrain program... I'm a big fan of this, having finally gotten it to work. It requires installing an older version of Google Earth for it to work, but has the added benefit of creating Terrtex which looks pretty darn good when you get out into the countryside. In the city, it's a little distracting sometimes, but you always have the option of using Mosaic to edit or replace the terrain tiles you don't like. You can also use this for placement, and then just replace the terrain tiles with the pool table or other pre-made terrtex using Mosaic or direct editing in the .T file if you know how.

    I'm making great use of the second approach lately, and on the CNW-Harvard have re-aligned about 90% of my mainline to match the imagery, which hasn't been a small undertaking on 130+ miles of track, but it's making my scenery placement go much, much faster in the sections which hadn't been touched yet.

    On my UP-Gila (Tucson to Yuma), I'm working this way from the start, and it's making quite a difference in the appearance of the desert and mountain terrain.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    Provided you made your trackwork according to track charts, and that this trackwork is accurate , Yes, it is always possible to create single Terrtex textures, using screen captures from Google Earth .

    If you were to use this only for critical areas such as more urbanized areas, or around train stations, etc ..., and "eyeball" the rest , in open countryside, you can get a fair bit of mileage using such screen captures, which do require photo-editing skills, to "mesh" and fit with your trackwork .

    For the record, you can always "salvage" the rooftops, as seen from Google Earth, and get a very useful "template" for the buildings outer dimensions .

    In other words, yes, you can use such Terrtex patch "placemats" very efficiently, and once done, replace the too-low resolution images, with conventional terrtex textures .

    Jean Brisson

  4. #4


    Toporoute will let you use a google earth aerial map to create a clickable route and export numbered markers to a .gpx file. It works the way the 'path' feature in Google Earth by drawing a line along your path. Most of the developed world has highly visible track and features. If you zoom all the way in you can usually see the track very clearly.

    Choose 'Do Not Follow Roads' and when you have created as many points as you want, export it to .gpx and use RouteRiter to convert it to a .mkr file. Then go thru in notepad and copy-replace the names of the numbered markers with something distincitve and copy and paste the marker lines at the bottom of the routes .mkr file. I try to click precisely on the left rail or exactly between rails and then replicate the trackwork as closely as possible.

    I will also use Google Earth to manually create markers with labels for features such as crossings, etc. Export to .gpx and convert and clean up the same as with Toporoute.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Jacksonville,, FL, USA.



    All of the methods mentioned so far are good. I still use UsaPhotomaps and will continue to do so as long as downloads of the
    terrain images work. One reason is that the B&W imagery is easier to track obscure routes on, than the color from Google
    EArth or the Toporoute/bicycle method. I have used all three methods and UsaPhotomaps is not a good choice if you are
    making a route with TRAINZ or TS-2014(or whatever they currently call it.)

    I caution anyone using Google Earth though. Be careful that you do not get a parallax error. These creep in easily. Make sure
    that you are DIRECTLY OVER the point you are marking. This will require that you adjust the image a lot. Also, I have a problem
    in that if I really zoom in close, it automatically switches to a ground view which I don't want. However, the ground view or
    street view comes in handy if you want to know how something looks from the ground. I have generated markers for MRS
    Logistica, which being in Brazil, leaves little choice but to use Google Earth. However for US routes, I use UsaPhotomaps.

    J. H. Sullivan
    (aka landnrailroader)

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