Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Cull

Mapmakers: Aerial recon photos

Recommended Posts

Surely this site has been seen here before but I thought I'd throw it up. Err, post it.

Royal Commission

Tons of great aerial recon photos, and I thought the shots of Normandy would be especially helpful for those wanting to create "real"/historical scenarios.

Sadly most (or at least what I've seen so far) are not really low-level shots so it's a bit tough to discern much detail, or elevation changes...but the essentials are there.

Apparently one can subscribe (£15? yikes) for higher res and zoomy capabilities.

And if anyone has other sites with photos/maps (the more fine detail the better!) that would be useful for CMBN map-making, please post!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They're mostly based around Caen though, so not very useful if you want to model Carentan etc.

I'll let you on to a little trick that can be used on Google Earth to come up with easy to read contour lines.

In Google Earth you can create rectangular polygons and set their height at a set altitude. You can also set their transparency. If you set the transparency to something low, like at 30%, and set their altitudes at 10 meter intervals, you will get something like this:

16av0vl.jpg

Which will look like this, after we add black contours to highlight the places where the altitudes change:

rtp2dl.jpg

Here's the same map but with 5 meter intervals and no drawn contours.

2euslll.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sergei says:

I'll let you on to a little trick that can be used on Google Earth to come up with easy to read contour lines.
Very cool!

Let me make sure I understand here. In your example showing intervals from 30m to 50m, you'd draw five different polygons over the same area with altitude settings of 30m, 35m, 40m, 45m, and 50m?

Which Google Earth altitude setting do you use? Is the draw order significant?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Migo, it doesn't matter in which order they are placed. In this example I'm using multiple polygons with a white filling, and since they each are somewhat transparent, you can tell that the darker the ground is, the higher it is, because the lower levels are seen through multiple white layers.

Another way, which I use most of the time, is that I first print out a picture of the area I am working on, and then start going through the elevations using a single polygon, which I then adjust higher and higher. I then draw the contours onto the printed map with a marker. The result is the same, I just find this a simpler approach.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, thanks Sergei.

Yeah, sometimes I forget about technology, and I hadn't checked out Google Earth in some time. I spent several minutes trying to figure out how to draw polygons---and looking for this non-existent "tool bar"---before realizing that I needed to actually download Google Earth *shame face*

Definitely going to play around with this. Now if we could just view Normandy circa 1944 in Google Earth :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Now if we could just view Normandy circa 1944 in Google Earth :)

Yeah, it's definitely an artform of is own trying to tell what the ground looked like 67 years back! You can of course discount the supermarkets and such... anything with a big parking space is likely to be of later build. The Google Street View is also worth checking. If you're in luck, the village you're looking at is featured there. At ground level it's pretty easy to tell if a house is pre-WW2 or if it's a late development.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

cross posted from another thread:

Geoportail can be set to present with an English interface as an alternative to French. I think it also has German (and/or Spanish?).

There is also an online copy of the 1947 Air Survey done in France. It is quite detailed and a great improvement on any map you will find in books. Scale is roughly 1:25000.

http://loisirs.ign.fr/accueilPVA.do

Put the name of a location in the 'Commune recherche' box on the first page and click 'ok'. It gives you all the matches to that name. Be warned it does not go down to the very smallest villages so best to stick to the nearest big town and then find the exact hamlet when you get to the map.

Click on your choice from the list you are given and it goes to the location on a map window.

The scale box is on the top R/H side and if it is set too high then the Air Photo numbers do not appear in the box on the bottom L/H side of the window. If you do not see a lot of code numbers on the left then shuffle the 'echelle' down to 'Ville' and they will appear.

Go to the L/H box and click on the 1947 numbers. They are right at the bottom for most but it does have earlier photos for the large towns. Paris has a 1933 set you can get for free. Sometimes there are 2 sets of 1947 numbers and if one does not show up on the map click the other and that will.

Once you click on the code (eg: 1947_F1613-1413_0381 ) then on your map small green squares will appear.

If you are too close in to see them all you will want you can zoom out a bit on the scale but not to far up. Halfway between 'Dept' and 'Ville' seems to be the best.

Hold your mouse on the green square and the area on the photo appears.

Click on the square and a new window opens where you see 'Telecharger la photo' (download it) and 'Voir la phot' (view it in java). 'annuler' closes the window.

The preview is really slow and it is much better to download and view it as one of your own pictures.

When you click 'Telecharger la photo' it then gives you the standard options to save the files.

They are JP2 Format and if you do not are not able to open them then you can download Infanview for free. Click on the JP2 photo icon, open it with Infanview. Save it as a JPG or Bitmap and work on it from there.

The files are quite big - 10-35 mb - but the detail is amazing considering it is all free. There is a blow up of one here:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtop...58686#p1558686

There are also 1945 photos available, but they cost 90 Euros each.

It sounds complicated but once you get the first few over it really is quite simple.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a link to an early US 50's map with quite good contours (although not good enough it gives an idea).

It Covers most of the operational area at 1:250 000 scale.

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ams/france/txu-oclc-6617501-nm30-9-cop.2.jpg

Another good one (for parts of the brit sector) is a google earth link from RCAHMS. Just open it in google earth and then press the pins to get D-Day aerial recon footage.

http://aerial.rcahms.gov.uk/geo/kml.php?scache=3m4na1o7s1&dl=1

There are plenty of others out there too. Maybe this excellent thread should be a sticky under the scenario forum?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Holy cats, I'm having a ball using Google Earth to suss out the positions of various units and locations during the battles in/around Carentan.

Now I just have to figure out how to draw on them---can't seem to get the "add polygon" tool to actually add a polygon :/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Now if we could just view Normandy circa 1944 in Google Earth :)
Keep in mind that any aerial photos you can get your hands on can easily be put into Google Earth as a layer, and they'll lay directly on the surface, following the current contours of the Earth. So, it wouldn't be too hard to overlay a picture from the late 40's and then use the method in the OP to determine height characteristics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Keep in mind that any aerial photos you can get your hands on can easily be put into Google Earth as a layer, and they'll lay directly on the surface, following the current contours of the Earth. So, it wouldn't be too hard to overlay a picture from the late 40's and then use the method in the OP to determine height characteristics.

Well this just gets better all the time, doesn't it? Thanks!

Oh and look what I found in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, heh:

post-5429-141867622508_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I have a question for any of the Beta testors or Admin... or bascially anyone in the Know!

Can tanks go through Walls? Halftracks etc make holes in walls... Like the Canadians did when they ambushed Wittmann? Also are there Special Buildings in the editor?

Example different types of Churches, like St. Mere Eglise? What about Manor Homes, large Estate buildings, and Farms?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here's a link to an early US 50's map with quite good contours (although not good enough it gives an idea).

It Covers most of the operational area at 1:250 000 scale.

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ams/france/txu-oclc-6617501-nm30-9-cop.2.jpg

That's nice and I've bookmarked it, but it would be nicer to have it—or rather a collection of maps—in 1:25,000 scale instead.

:(

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So I have a question for any of the Beta testors or Admin... or bascially anyone in the Know!

Can tanks go through Walls? Halftracks etc make holes in walls... Like the Canadians did when they ambushed Wittmann? Also are there Special Buildings in the editor?

Example different types of Churches, like St. Mere Eglise? What about Manor Homes, large Estate buildings, and Farms?

I'm hoping for a good variety on the buildings, and I can't imagine there wouldn't be---it just won't be Normandy without them.

I'm sure that breaching hedgerows is in, so I can't see any reason why we wouldn't be able to breach farm walls (or most walls) with heavy enough vehicles.

In other words, I have no idea.

Meanwhile, I am now freaking the hell out exploring the historical images of bombed-out Berlin etc with Google Earth. I don't know why it feels so much more "real" in GE versus just looking at a regular aerial image, but it does. I suppose because I'm moving around "in it". Anyhow, super-cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Meanwhile, I am now freaking the hell out exploring the historical images of bombed-out Berlin etc with Google Earth. I don't know why it feels so much more "real" in GE versus just looking at a regular aerial image, but it does. I suppose because I'm moving around "in it". Anyhow, super-cool.

There are a number of pages that contain collections of overlays, lots of which have a military theme. Very very educational. And interesting. One of the things that struck me is just how /small/ battle fields - and even corps-level operations - are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Several years ago after Google Earth came out, I used it to go over some of the battlefields in Italy. I was a bit surprised—though I shouldn't have been—to discover that what had been farmland or otherwise open space in the 1940s was now covered by urban development. Almost the entire peninsula that isn't too mountainous has been given over to housing.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's nice and I've bookmarked it, but it would be nicer to have it—or rather a collection of maps—in 1:25,000 scale instead.

:(

Michael

I know there were loads of maps for sale on feldgrau.com in the past. I have no idea about pricing and availability today though. I think most of them were 1:25,000 or similar.

Princeton Library has a pretty cool online map (it's not possible to download it) of Cherbourg in 1:10:000 from -43.

If anyone is OCD enough to create something from it. :D

http://gisserver.princeton.edu:81/navigatorMapViewer.htm?map=23

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread (and the one where we're discussing old boardgames that could serve as operational layers/campaign management tools for CMBN) is inspiring me...

As a pastime and amusement before CMBN releases, I'm going to try using the Google Earth topo contour method described above, and make an overlay of the hexmap from the St. Lo boardgame map (West End Games, 1986) on the satellite imagery, see how it matches up, and then draw the contour lines on it (is it every 10 meters?) to correspond with what we have to work with in CMBN. That could at least become a good source image for battle maps in the future. Since the boardgame is battalion-scale and its map is 3.5 hexes per km, it's got individual farms, 14 elevation levels, and is pretty well detailed for this purpose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That French site that JonS posted is really good. Zoome din the maps are 1:8000 scale and after opening the aerial photos in Photoshop, it turned out that the scale meant that 1" on screen (72px) was equivalent to approx. 63 yards. Very nice detail. My Putot-en-bessin scenario (when the Commomwealth exp hits) will be all the much better.

Oddly enough, the lands inland from the beaches for 5-10 kilometres in the 1945/7 and 1950 images have a lot of open fields and very few places to hide. I grabbed one from the Fontaine-Henry area and was shocked at the remarkable lack of small closed fields. The roughly bounded fields rarely were smaller than 50-100yds across.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oddly enough, the lands inland from the beaches for 5-10 kilometres in the 1945/7 and 1950 images have a lot of open fields and very few places to hide. I grabbed one from the Fontaine-Henry area and was shocked at the remarkable lack of small closed fields. The roughly bounded fields rarely were smaller than 50-100yds across.

The terrain in the department of Calvados is very different from the department of Manche. Manche in the west is the real bocage country, while in most of Calvados in the east they had and still have a lot more open ground. Which is also why Calvados saw the heaviest tank fighting in the Normandy campaign: German heavy tanks would have been useless in Manche but crucial in defense of the open ground around Caen.

And because tankers like apple brandy...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...