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mickydavies



Joined: 04 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:28 pm    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

I have reached the age where I have time to kill and have had a few goes at designing previously, but haven't had the patience OR the time to get anywhere. I see lots of references to designs using Google Earth as a start point, but can't find anything specific about using it. The course I want to design is called Mountain Ash. It is in the Welsh valleys and is incredibly hilly so if Google Earth would help with elevations that would be a great help to start. Does anyone have any advice about this?

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Stephen Sullivan



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:59 pm    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

Micky

Take a look at Lez's videos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Esldq_re4KI&feature=youtu.be

AND

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3nsAF4s6mY&feature=youtu.be


"I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it." Sir Terry Pratchett
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Danny D



Joined: 02 Dec 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:45 am    Post subject: Re: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

mickydavies wrote:
I have reached the age where I have time to kill and have had a few goes at designing previously, but haven't had the patience OR the time to get anywhere. I see lots of references to designs using Google Earth as a start point, but can't find anything specific about using it. The course I want to design is called Mountain Ash. It is in the Welsh valleys and is incredibly hilly so if Google Earth would help with elevations that would be a great help to start. Does anyone have any advice about this?
Hi Micky... I took a look at Mountain Ash Golf Club on Google Earth, and you should not have any problems setting the elevations using Google Earth as a reference. The Google Earth images are sharp enough that you should be able to use them as an overlay to create the course.

I volunteered to help designers get started by creating a plot with the overlay on it, and sized to the correct dimensions. If you are serious about creating that particular course, I would be happy to do that for you.

It will be a flat plot with the Google Earth images on it that you see when viewing it from Google Earth. It will be up to you do set the elevations yourself and lay out the rest of it. Another thing to consider is what you would use for the panorama.

Let me know if you want to give it a go, and I will get with you to give you some pointers and help get you started.

Cheers

Dan


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mickydavies



Joined: 04 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:22 am    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

Thanks very much guys. Bit scared by your note Dan. I will have to make a real effort... I will get a bit of prep done and will be in touch when I think I can ask some questions that won't waste your time. (And the panorama will be a challenge)!!!

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Danny D



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:11 am    Post subject: Re: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

mickydavies wrote:
Thanks very much guys. Bit scared by your note Dan. I will have to make a real effort... I will get a bit of prep done and will be in touch when I think I can ask some questions that won't waste your time. (And the panorama will be a challenge)!!!
OK Mickey. If there's anything you don't understand about the process, don't hesitate to ask.

Best wishes,

Dan


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brooks2345



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:23 pm    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

Hi Mickey

The way that Danny D does it is exactly the way I work. You can download Google Earth picture of your course, save it to a file then use Photoshop to create a 1024x1024 24-bit TGA texture file.

Then use this to create your course, expanding the file to create holes that agree exactly with the hole lengths (use the measuring tape icon for this). .

Easiest way to get the elevations is to use the elevation feature in Google Earth hole-by-hole, then just fill in slopes between holes.

You do this LAST, after creating greens, tees, fairways, water hazards and bunkers, then seam blends, then planting. You then swap what's left of your file for rough,

Mountain Ash should be a doddle.

Good luck and cheers

John Brooks


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Danny D



Joined: 02 Dec 2015
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:05 am    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

brooks2345 wrote:
Hi Mickey

The way that Danny D does it is exactly the way I work. You can download Google Earth picture of your course, save it to a file then use Photoshop to create a 1024x1024 24-bit TGA texture file.

Then use this to create your course, expanding the file to create holes that agree exactly with the hole lengths (use the measuring tape icon for this). .

Easiest way to get the elevations is to use the elevation feature in Google Earth hole-by-hole, then just fill in slopes between holes.

You do this LAST, after creating greens, tees, fairways, water hazards and bunkers, then seam blends, then planting. You then swap what's left of your file for rough,

Mountain Ash should be a doddle.

Good luck and cheers

John Brooks
I already have a plot laid out for him with the yardages already set up, and ready to start setting the elevations. Yes

I decided recently that when I create an overlay for someone, I will send it to them as a CRZ plot, pre-sized to accurate yardages and ready to go...

It is ready for him to load up, should he decide to take it on. All he has to do is ask me to send it to him. Smile

Dan


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Adelade



Joined: 03 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:10 pm    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

How high resolution did you make it?

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Strong4W



Joined: 28 Feb 2018
Posts: 13
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:32 pm    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

Danny, you're saying to set the elevations at the tail end of the design process, which makes sense. Can I assume that adjusting verts in a periodic grid-like pattern would work well for even course coverage, and filling in the voids as you describe as a fine tuning task?

Regards

Kevin


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Danny D



Joined: 02 Dec 2015
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:41 am    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

Strong4W wrote:
Danny, you're saying to set the elevations at the tail end of the design process, which makes sense. Can I assume that adjusting verts in a periodic grid-like pattern would work well for even course coverage, and filling in the voids as you describe as a fine tuning task?
No, I didn't say to set ALL the elevations at the end of the process. At the END of all of the construction work, the elevations should already be close. All you need to do to finalize it, is to go over every green, bunker, bunker lip, tee box, fairway edges and so on (all play areas) and fine tune them using Google Earth...

Setting the entire plot elevations are the very first step once you apply the overlay to the plot and size it. Go to GE and retrieve elevations from all over the entire course, mark them on your overlay, pop a vert into every one of them, and lift or lower each one to the GE measurements. The more spots that you create and elevate, the more accurate the entire plot will be. When all elevations are to your liking, THEN you start laying out the course. With the land all set to proper elevations at the beginning, all of the rest of the land will already be close, as you create your fairways and greens etc... Then, when your course is complete, go over each area and fine-tune them.

I'm going to be typing up a tutorial soon on how this process is done. I will post it for the new designers that are not yet familiar with the process. Look for it within a couple of days. Hopefully it will clear up your questions.

Best wishes,

Dan


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Danny D



Joined: 02 Dec 2015
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:58 am    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

Adelade wrote:
How high resolution did you make it?
The maximum resolution for an overlay picture is 4096x4096. The APCD can accept one that large. However, the overlay MUST be deleted from your course before you do a validate & save, and play it with Links2003. The maximum texture size that Links will render is, unfortunately, 1024x1024. Sad

Dan


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Strong4W



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:30 pm    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

Thank you Danny. I gotcha. I already have an aerial overlay completed courtesy of the video series by Lez, and after reviewing #25, I see I misinterpreted something, but all is good now. I think I'll get elevations of the course perimeter, and then rough plot the fairways, center of greens, and fill in open areas. Thanks for the assist.

Regards

Kevin


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Danny D



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:25 am    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

Before reading this, I strongly recommend that you watch these two video presentations by Lez Marwick. Lez does a nice job of explaining the process that I illustrate in this short tutorial. For the most part, I'm simply repeating what Lez says in his video. The difference is, I go into greater detail on how to get the course more accurate.

Plus, I have volunteered to make the course overlays for anyone that wants to start a new course, provided the Google Earth imaging is sharp enough. I will create the overlay and then apply it to a plot, and size it, and then turn it over to the designer as a CRZ file. Then they just open it in the APCD and start setting the elevations, in the manner that Lez illustrates.

Les Marwick - Episode 24 - http://youtu.be/Esldq_re4KI

Les Marwick - Episode 25 - http://youtu.be/f3nsAF4s6mY





The following is a short tutorial on a method of setting your land elevations, before beginning to construct your course. This will be for those that choose to replicate a real course using Google Earth elevations. (hereafter called GE for short)

Assuming you have created the overlay, and applied it to your plot, and sized it correctly, I will start from there...

When your overlay is complete and applied to the plot, it will be flat and only have 1 vert in the center and 8 more around the edges like the ones you see here...





Make several copies of your overlay picture for backup. You might need them. Open a copy in Photoshop. Using your paintbrush, paint small round dots in every spot that you want to set the elevation. I preferred, and would recommend that you use a lot of them. I put them down the edges of all fairways, green, tees, bunkers, and I always lined the cart paths with them. Just remember, the more dots you create, the more accurate your creation will be in the end.

Here's a view of my entire plot. Note the red dots.





Here's a closer view. Notice I have an elevation next to each dot.







Now mark the entire plot with whatever color dots you prefer. Go to GE and take readings in every spot where you created a dot, and then type that number next to it, until you have all dots marked. When complete, save your file, and make an extra copy of it.

Use one of the copies for the APCD to replace the original overlay photo. Name it the same as the original overlay file name, and just tell APCD to replace it. It should fit back in the plot exactly like the one you replaced. Now your APCD plot will have elevation markers all over it. Plus, you have another copy just like it to use in Photoshop.

Once you make an elevation adjustment on the plot in the APCD, Use Photoshop to paint the dot that you adjusted a different color. This will help you to keep track of the ones that are already adjusted. Trust me, it can get complicated and you can easily lose track if you don't mark them off in some manner as you adjust them. It's a time consuming process, and I doubt you will get all of them adjusted in one session, so if you only do a small section of them at a time and want to quit, simply make a copy of the Photoshop picture where you left off. When you come back you can load one of those edited copies back into the APCD and overwrite the one that's there. Then your plot will match the Photoshop picture that you will again use to change the color of adjusted dots.



Before you start raising or lowering verts, note that your new flat plot, by default, is set to 100 feet above zero elevation. You might need to raise it to match the real elevation of the actual course.

As an example, on the plot that you are replicating, lets say that your elevations were falling in the 500 to 600 foot range, but your new flat plot is at 100 feet. Grab the entire plot using the vert move tool, and on the Z axis, raise it up to a middle level somewhere between 500 and 600 feet. I would set it in the middle at 550 feet. That way you will be both raising and lowering to make the whole thing more balanced, so to speak.

Now, using the Terrain Painter set like the picture below illustrates, place a vert in the center of every one of your dots. Do NOT place any verts anywhere else. Only in the dots that you have created. Just keep adding verts until all of your dots have a vert in the center.





When you are ready to begin setting the elevations, use the APCD Perspective view and the vert mover set on the Z axis to raise or lower each vert to the elevation marked next to it. As you set that dots elevation, paint it a different color in Photoshop.

I'm going to repeat something I mentioned a little ways back. When you are tired of working, make a copy of your edited Photoshop image showing the ones that you have marked as complete, and load it into the APCD overlay texture to overwrite/replace the one that's there. That way you can easily spot the finished ones in the APCD while you do another batch. You can keep doing batches, and repeating the same process as above until you finally have them all adjusted and marked. Once you have all of your dots re-colored to verify all adjustments are complete, you can load the original un-marked overlay photo back into the APCD before you begin laying out the course shapes.

At this point, your land is elevated to reasonably accurate specifications. Now, as you begin laying out your course, the edges and verts will all interconnect with each other at the correct elevations, as you add them. Continue outlining all of your fairways, and greens etc around your entire plot until all construction work is complete.

When all construction is completed, before you start the planting, use GE to go over every tee box, fairway edge, bunker lip, bunker depth, green fringe, etc, verifying and tweaking, if necessary. Start at the first tee and work your way around the whole course. You may spot other things that need adjusting in areas between your markers. At this point, you're probably about as close to having accurate elevations as your going to get, using Google Earth as a reference.

You can also do close-up screen captures of each green, open them in Photoshop, and put dots all around the perimeter of the green, and scatter some thru the centers, and mark their elevations using GE, and then use that photo as a reference while adjusting them in the APCD. I find it easier to make and mark my own photos then I do trying to keep up with eyeballing and remembering places on Google earth. You can use whatever method you're comfortable with. Personally, I prefer logging it in Photoshop as I go.

It's time consuming, and boring at times, but put on some music, or put on a pod-cast of your favorite talk show to keep your mind occupied while you work. You'll breeze through it in no time. :)

--------------------------------------

Removing the overlay for testing your course in Links

As you work with the verts, you will be creating the fairways and such. As they are created and you apply the correct texture to them, it will overwrite the overlay image until eventually all of it will be (and MUST be) overwritten. If even a tiny sliver of it is left on the plot, it will save it inside the CRZ when you do a S&V, and it will not be playable in Links.

To remove the overlay completely, you must select it using the SELECT ALL OF TYPE tool,






and overwrite it by applying a different texture, such as rough for example. Once you have overwritten 100% of it, do a save & verify. The saved CRZ will then be clean of the overlay texture, and playable in Links for testing your course.

If you still need the overlay in areas that you've not completed yet, but you want to take your course to Links for testing, be sure to make a copy of your last saved CRZ file. Then open the copy in the APCD and overwrite the overlay. Finally, do a save & verify, and test that copy in Links. When you go back to the APCD to continue working on the course, open the original that you made a copy of. It will still have the overlay in it.

NOTE: You'll know when the overlay file has been removed from a saved CRZ file, because the file-size will be reduced by about 30MB.

I hope this is enough information and detail to get you started. Once you get involved, you'll catch on and it will go faster than you think.

Good luck and best wishes to all,

Dan

And a big thanks to Lez Marwick for his video presentations. That's exactly how I learned!


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Adelade



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 3:01 pm    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

Nice job on the guide Thumb Up It might be hard to find unless in a separate topic.

One VERY important detail this highlights to me is that Google Earth is actually significantly more detailed in elevation readings when using Feet since I cant see anywhere to make it display decimals in Meters. If you use Meters I strongly recommend swapping over to feet in Google Earth and APCD during this initial process (you can always swap back to Meters after ground work is done). In Google Earth (within the App/Program) this is done at Tools > Options > 3d view. Pretty crazy that such a random little detail matters so much in this case Oh My I didnt think even greens could be somewhat detailed with this, thats great to know!


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SLucey



Joined: 19 Mar 2019
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:54 am    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

Danny D wrote:


Plus, I have volunteered to make the course overlays for anyone that wants to start a new course, provided the Google Earth imaging is sharp enough. I will create the overlay and then apply it to a plot, and size it, and then turn it over to the designer as a CRZ file. Then they just open it in the APCD and start setting the elevations, in the manner that Lez illustrates.


Danny, is this something you're still willing to do?


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Danny D



Joined: 02 Dec 2015
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:43 am    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

SLucey wrote:
Danny D wrote:


Plus, I have volunteered to make the course overlays for anyone that wants to start a new course, provided the Google Earth imaging is sharp enough. I will create the overlay and then apply it to a plot, and size it, and then turn it over to the designer as a CRZ file. Then they just open it in the APCD and start setting the elevations, in the manner that Lez illustrates.


Danny, is this something you're still willing to do?
Yes, it is SLucey, provided the course you choose is in hi-rez detail in Google Earth. Tell me what course you have in mind and I'll let you know if it's do-able.

Dan


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SLucey



Joined: 19 Mar 2019
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:28 am    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

Dan, course is Sea Island - Seaside course. Its at southern end of Saint Simons Island, GA. Just south of an airport runway and off to the left.

If the resolution isn't high enough, my second choice is Dorado Beach East Course (Dorado, PR).

Thank you inadvance!


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Danny D



Joined: 02 Dec 2015
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:46 am    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

SLucey wrote:
Dan, course is Sea Island - Seaside course. Its at southern end of Saint Simons Island, GA. Just south of an airport runway and off to the left.

If the resolution isn't high enough, my second choice is Dorado Beach East Course (Dorado, PR).

Thank you inadvance!
I took a look at both courses. Unfortunately neither of them are in 3D hi-rez. Let me explain what that would mean.

With the low-rez, non-3D images available, you can't get accurate elevation readings. If you go to Google Earth and drop down on the ground, you will be on top a photo that is laid out over rolling scenery. All you will see is a smooth surface with no 3D trees or buildings sticking up out of the ground. With this type of surface, the elevations are inaccurate. You can run your mouse over a lake, which should be perfectly flat, and it may show 4 or 5 feet elevation changes as you move across it. Sure you might get a clear overhead image of the fairways & greens and such, but you would not get accurate elevation readings. If the elevations are not important to you, I can still make the overlay with the imagery scenery as it is on Google Earth.

If the elevations are important to you, then the best option is to find a course that provides the 3D imagery. Those types have much more accurate elevation readings and are much easier to see the details and to work with.

Here are two examples of the imagery I'm referring to.

This is Sea Island. Drop down on the ground and look around. No ground detail here.
Paste this co-ordnance into the search box on Google Earth. 3108'43.08" N 8124'32.83" W

Now go to this course and look at the difference. 3913'11.52" N 9442'31.60" W
Notice when on the ground you see everything in 3D. Trees and building stick up from the surface. The ground is contoured in such a way that the elevations are much more accurate. This is the type of imagery that is best to get the most accurate elevations.

Not all courses have the 3D imagery, so you may have to keep looking until you find one that does.

Let me know what you decide to do and we'll take it from there.

One more thing. Make sure the 3D imagery is full enabled in GE options, Here's what you need set...

In Google Earths menu, select TOOLS and then OPTIONS. Select the 3D tab and make sure your settings match these...



Good luck and let me know what you decide.

Best wishes,

Dan


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SLucey



Joined: 19 Mar 2019
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:56 pm    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

Dan,
yea, I now see what you mean about Sea Island not being 3D. The bizarre thing is Dorado Beach - the East Course is 3/4 in 3D. But, there is a portion that is flat 2D. Weird and just my luck I guess.

Here is a course that is 3D: Wexford Golf Club, Hilton Head, SC


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Adelade



Joined: 03 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:12 pm    Post subject: Any advice on using Google Earth as a starter? Reply with quote

Have you noticed any middle ground ones Dan? Or are they always either detailed or nowhere near?

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