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Alsatian

Free topo maps for anywhere at Google maps

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Finally, I've found topo maps for any scale, for any place (ETO, Italy, East Front, North Africa). Scenario designers no longer have to guess or interpolate from flat maps. No more obscure Italian geographic society maps to crunch through.

Here's Cassino:

2169014815_a4b1a29ac8_o.jpg

To use these maps:

1. Go to maps.google.com

2. At the top of the left navigation bar, select the "My Maps" tab.

3. After the refresh, again at the top of the left navigation bar, select the "Browse the Directory" link

4. In the search box, type "elevation"

5. Select "Elevation Countours" NOT earthtools.org because the latter does not show contours for all locations.

6. On the new window, click the "Add it to maps" button

7. In the new window, upper left hand corner, click the "Back to Google Maps" link.

8. Enjoy

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That's a really great resource for the contour lines.

But never forget that there's been more than half a century of furious change to most of the topographical features, so when you're putting together a map from the 1940's it's a bit like being an archeologist.

So you still need to look at old maps and aerial photographs for things like forests, hints as to which (if any) of the roads were paved, locations of old buildings, etc. And never forget that old maps of the Soviet Union often contained deliberate errors.

Having said that, I'm off to see if I can get Google to do a topographical map at 1:10,000.

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It's pretty good, a bit like Dr. Johnson's dog walking on two legs. I'm sure with time it will be an amazing resource, but for the moment my money's still on French hiking maps.

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Originally posted by Philippe:

That's a really great resource for the contour lines.

But never forget that there's been more than half a century of furious change to most of the topographical features, so when you're putting together a map from the 1940's it's a bit like being an archeologist.

So you still need to look at old maps and aerial photographs for things like forests, hints as to which (if any) of the roads were paved, locations of old buildings, etc. And never forget that old maps of the Soviet Union often contained deliberate errors.

Having said that, I'm off to see if I can get Google to do a topographical map at 1:10,000.

Certainly has been a lot of change. Even with just simple things like suburban sprawl. What were rural engagements in the 40's are now smack dab in built up areas. But moving mountains is hard. A lot of topography is going to be constant.

But as you say, there are exceptions. I thought about doing a US 30th ID scenario for their night attack against Altdorf. I had the unit history, aerial photos taken right before the attack, and a translated German POV. I go to google maps to see what it looks like today, and it's not there. A little sleuthing and I figure out it's not there because a giant strip mine has wiped it, and alot of other little German towns, off the map. So sometimes they do move even mountains.

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Originally posted by Philippe:

It's pretty good, a bit like Dr. Johnson's dog walking on two legs. I'm sure with time it will be an amazing resource, but for the moment my money's still on French hiking maps.

Not a silver bullet, but it is free. Sometimes you get what you pay for smile.gif

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Actually, in this case you get more than what you paid for. These maps are very good value, but they're only a first step and need to be used intelligently.

Nice resource, nice find!

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