Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (2024)

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Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (1)

What is 'Map the Earth?'

Map The Earth is a collaborative project with a final goal of covering the entire Earth in high quality terrain meshes, which I've deemed 'Tiles'. The project is both a repository for these 'Tiles', packaged in 'Tile Sets' but also to provide instructions how to make your own 'Tiles' and contribute to the project.

Map The Earth also includes smaller 'Site' decals, with even higher resolution in areas that matter the most.

What is a 'Tile'?

Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (2)

A tile is a terrain mesh that is 1 degree latitude long (28km~) and 1 degree longitude wide (23km~).

These tiles are packaged into 'Tile Sets' as a way to eliminate the need for using a look up table for which tiles you would need for an area, while also not making the final download size 20gb.

Tile sets typically consist of a 2x2 area with a couple 'Site' decals.

While you download Tiles in Tile sets they are completely independent* from one another, meaning you can go into the file system and remove what you don't need.

What is a 'Site'?

Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (3)

Screenshot by @Adiri.

A 'Site' is a much smaller decal with a much higher resolution, allowing runways and launchpads to be in incredibly high detail, eventually KK statics can be added to these to make them fully functional. These areas also can feature colliders so you can actually land on the terrain (read drawbacks for more info)

Like tiles these are also independent from other sites and tiles, in fact you can remove these entirely and it'll run completely fine.

Locations?

Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (4)

Screenshot by @Adiri.

As you can see above in the tidbit about Tiles, this is not a global replacement for the KSP terrain, it's estimated it would be around 2TB of data for the entire Earth at this resolution and scale, and I just don't have a good way to automate this process for now.

The current locations are as follows:
- Edward's Air Force Base

Edward's Gallery:

Spoiler

Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (5)

Mojave Air and Space Port

Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (6)

Edward's Air Force Base

The following screenshots are by @Smallant55

Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (7)

Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (8)

Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (9)

- Vandenberg Space Force Base

Vandenberg Gallery:

Spoiler

Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (10)

Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (11)

Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (12)

Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (13)

Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (14)

Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (15)

Future US locations are as follows:

  • White Sands Missile Range
  • Cape Canaveral Space Force Base
  • Wallops Flight Facility
  • Boca Chica Starbase
  • Kodiak Launch Facility
  • Area 51 Testing Facility

Future International locations are as follows:

  • Baikonur Cosmodrome
  • Vostochny Cosmodrome
  • Plesetsk Cosmodrome
  • Wenchang Satellite Launch Center
  • Satish Dhawan Space Centre
  • Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center
  • Xichang Satellite Launch Center
  • Tanegashima Space Center
  • Guiana Space Centre

Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (16)

Drawbacks?

When looking at ambitious projects like this I like to look at why hasn't this been done before?

The answer is fairly simple, it has been done before, this is the exact same method as STS Locations and Katniss Cape Canaveral, except on a larger scale, and I really owe it to both Katniss and SpaceODY for directly and mostly indirectly getting this project on the ground.

Performance is the main issue that comes to mind but I, and the couple of other people who have tested this so far, have found that after a couple minutes of flying around the performance is actually hit surprisingly lightly.

Storage is the second issue that comes to mind, as previously said it would be over 2TB for the entire Earth, but almost everyone has 16gb of RAM to load all of the textures at this point, a second point on this is VRAM, which loading 1GB of textures into VRAM just for these 4 tiles is surprisingly expensive, but I've tried to counteract this by using LODs dropping the usage to 30mb of VRAM when over 60km away from a tile.

As listed above, the main issue here is colliders, currently .mu models only support convex models, which have a max vertex count of 256, which simply isn't enough. This is why I've opted for only having Sites have collidersfor now.

Other issues are tiles not being aligned 1:1 and these are primarily due to the method I use for crushing stupidly high vertex models (8 mil tris) down to something actually usable, like 50k. While this method does try it's best to preserve areas with extremely high elevation changes like mountainous regions, the UV maps that are produced by this are iffy. This causes squiggly terrain which is luckily only seen occasionally on roads and airstrips, so uhh.. don't look too hard and remember the fact that this is a 10 year old game.

Because these areas are squiggly, borders between tiles don't like to match of the greatest, I've tried my best but there's only so much restarting my game that I can take before I just say 'It's good enough'.

Scale on site decals is a bit borked and the colors are slightly off at the moment, hopefully these are temporary as I progress through better ways of creating them.

Because KSRSS is 1/4th real scale, a runway 60m wide and 4.5km long runway is now 15 meters wide and 1.13km long! This tends to look rather goofy with larger aircraft and I'm trying to figure out a good way around it. (FIXED)

Future Plans?

Currently the plan is to complete Vandenberg SFB and the tutorial on how to make tiles for yourself, then going back to Edwards and adding KK static and potentially building models for northern LA.

I also have a few friends that are playing with creating the entire Edward's campus in blender, which then can be imported into KSP using City2.

Lite versions are planned eventually featuring a half quality normal map, which will most likely look exactly the same for a much smaller file size and VRAM cost.

Come up with a better method of doing all of this, allowing extremely high quality meshes to be used.

Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (17)

Download Tiles Here: https://github.com/ballisticfox/MapTheEarth-KSP/releases or Scroll up to the Locations section and click on the area you want.

Read the Wiki Here (WIP): https://github.com/ballisticfox/MapTheEarth-KSP/wiki

Licensing and Credits:

The Map the Earth is under: CC BY-NC-SA

The DTM data is derived from the 3DEP 1/3 Arc Second Database and the SRTM Database.

The Color data is derived from Google Earth and the NAIP Database.

Since this a collaborative project sources may vary, but any sources that deviate from these will be added to the list.

Lastly I need to thank the following people, who have helped directly and/or indirectly with this project:

@Katniss218 for Katniss Cape Canaveral and just for some random tidbits along the way.

@SpaceODY for STS Locations which originally inspired me to make this project.

@Adiri for screenshots and testing.

@Smallant55 for screenshots and testing.

And a couple others including Niako, Linx, GotMachine, Aviation365, Pr0xima and many others for both help on specific questions and moral support.

Edited by ballisticfox0

Map The Earth | A collaborative project designed to map the Earth with detailed terrain meshes. (2024)

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