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"How do YOU use Google Earth in Wargaming" Topic

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2,694 hits since 15 May 2012
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le Grande Quartier General Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2012 1:16 p.m. PST

I'm putting it out there because you all are smart and I am looking for some more ideas/uses around the technology….Thanks

Talisman15 May 2012 2:21 p.m. PST

If you were to import the geo-location of your engagement into Sketchup, you can display the topography in 3-D. Then, by gridding off the display at your gaming scale (in real units), you can transfer the topography (in one foot squares, for example) to your gaming table.

If nothing else you can geta reasonably accurate location for roads and structures.

Warning: Google Earth is not 100% accurate… but at gaming scale it's close enough. I have used it to measure Montereggioni northwest of Sienna for the layout of a walled town.

If you really want to go crazy, import the 3D buildings from Google Earth into Sketchup and use one of the unfolding programs to make paper models (Note that I haven't degenerated that far… but I'm getting close). I was looking at the fortifications outside of Amsterdam the other day and getting strange ideas…

richarDISNEY Inactive Member15 May 2012 2:32 p.m. PST

I don't except for when I am working on Formula De tracks.

GarryWills15 May 2012 2:37 p.m. PST

I have used it mainly for research and planning site visits for potential games, most recently for my Attack on Fort Mulgrave game.


Garry Wills

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2012 3:14 p.m. PST

I used it for examining South African battlefields for my Boer War battles. Remarkably very little has change since 1900.

le Grande Quartier General Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2012 3:46 p.m. PST

What is sketchup?

le Grande Quartier General Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2012 4:36 p.m. PST

Never mind- I got it. Always something new to learn!

thosmoss15 May 2012 5:58 p.m. PST

I was banging my head against the wall trying to figure out exactly what the Old Mole looked like at St. Nazaire from a particular angle. It finally occurred to me that I could use Google Earth to simply go look at it. There is a tree blocking a particular spot, however …

Even came with tourists to help me with scale …

SBminisguy15 May 2012 8:16 p.m. PST

I use it to try and figure out better terrain maps/table set ups, using a combo of period maps and sketches and Google Earth to better portray the terrain.

Martin Rapier16 May 2012 3:44 a.m. PST

I use it to sanity check historical map layouts.

Bob in Edmonton16 May 2012 7:49 a.m. PST

A friend in the military created a canvas eagles game mat for us a couple of years ago by identifying where the red baron was shot down, exporting the map to a file and having some of the mapping staff run and laminate a 10x6' print out for us.

forwardmarchstudios19 May 2012 8:08 a.m. PST

I saw some guys last night at the local hobby store playing a WWI dogfight game. Theyd used gogle earth to have printed a 6' x4' battle mat of farm fields, roads and forests on a sort of thin plastic material with a canvas backing. It blew my own recent efforts out of the water. Having one printed up only cost $110 USD they told me. I intend to get a few smaller 2'x2' and 3'x3' ones printed of various civil war battlefields that I can use my 4mm figs with. You can get print outs of google earth made in incredibly high quality. For that matter you could take, say, those handdrawn maps of 18th century Europe that cover every square foot of Germany and have a printer print those off, then youd have the elevation aspect too. I was pretty thoroughly impressed by the product. I think that if you took such a print off, scaled it as needed, and then added terrain features on top of it as needed, you could have a really impressive convention game with a minimum layout. The degree of detail you can get by printing off a battlefield is way more than anyone could ever hope to model. For instance, you would be able to see every fence at Gettysburg (at least the ones there now). Any non-period features can be easily erased with photoshop, but besides that even, you can capture other , non-historic areas, especially in the south, that are still mostly farmfields and small towns. Im going to be looking into this in the near future..

WeeWars21 May 2012 4:20 a.m. PST

You can see an old map of Aspern-Essling I've superimposed on a Google Earth image on my blog:


ratisbon Inactive Member21 May 2012 5:14 a.m. PST

Last year I attended a talk on the use of Google Earth 3D in the study of military history. The lecturer used Napoleon's 1796 Italian Campaign and battles as an example. She showed the various battlefields in 3D. With some modifications there is no reason that gamers cannot use Google as a template for their battlefields.

Bob Coggins

Beeker21 May 2012 5:54 a.m. PST

I'm currently using the "tiles" function to superimpose images (screen-captured) from the on-line 1771 Atlas Ferraris over modern Belgium.

Great for aerial archeology!

Thomas Nissvik24 May 2012 4:44 a.m. PST

I held a pre-game briefing using my laptop and a projector (we were playing in a conference room at work), doing a gradual zoom as I explained the situation to the players, some of whom were new to wargaming:
-It's 1939 and the Soviet union have attacked Finland *show all of Finland and the border area*
-The objective of the army you are in is Oulu. *zoom to middle Finland*

…and so on down to the actual road the company would be travelling down.

CorpCommander23 Jun 2012 9:47 a.m. PST

@Thomas Nissvik

That is crazy awesome. Stuff like that really adds to the visceral feel of the game. Gives a sense of "why".

My Grandfather had no idea where he was during WWII. Then one day we got some books and maps and showed his path throught the Central Pacific. It was the first time he realized how all these places related.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2012 4:33 p.m. PST

Yes, I used it in creating Wargaming scenerios.

Paint Pig Inactive Member24 Jun 2012 3:52 p.m. PST

I have been using it in our 1814 campaign to locate nearby Hamlets, comparing the layout of our battle fields with the Cassinni maps of France and the Google view.

I like to look at features such as streams, rivers, hills, elevations, dead and swampy ground etc., get a feel for the general lay of the land. For instance we have a stoush coming up in the St Etienne area and I took some screen shots of the stream located there and the steepness of the banks etc. I know that things may have changed in the last 200 years but some dont, it is nice to have the opportunity to have a look'see

Recently took a walk around Brienne. Quite lovely, particularly as there is still a large part of the town which appears to be quite old. We don't rely on it as the primary source for generating maps, however I like to get a feel for the locations.


MarescialloDiCampo Inactive Member26 Jun 2012 11:46 a.m. PST

We use google earth with multiple overlays to depict red, blue, neutral forces, along with significant acts and past projected activities for each force.
We are able to determine salient terrain features, probable courses of action, choke-points and a good over-all battlefield analysis.

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