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Fantasy NED Creation Questions

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Nolan Parker

Nolan Parker


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I would like to join different sections of elevation datasets in order to create a fantasy map, and I need some guidance. I used to manipulate the old DEM format with Photoshop, but I forget how I did it, and they went and changed the format anyway, so I'm not sure where to start.

I'm trying to merge or join bits and pieces of differing areas into an entirely new heightmap for further processing in ArcGIS (e.g. watershed, topo contours, etc), not stitch together multiple DEMs (as is possible with 3DEM, for example). I guess it could be considered a type of topographic substitution?

Large area coverage will probably be around 1:10,000,000 scale, but I would like to get down to scales of 1:1,000,000 for closeups, and as close as 1:24,000 for populated areas, points of interest, etc.

What is the best way to manipulate USGS NED data cleanly and with no resolution loss? What is the process that the USGS uses?

Which format should I choose to download (ArcGRID, BIL or GridFloat) that requires the least amount of conversion to go from NED > Photoshop > ArcMap (and which file extensions should I look out for)?

Are there any other workflow ideas you have?

This is all just for fun, but any help is warmly welcomed. Thanks!

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