Route-Building and Landscaping for Virtual Railways
Using Geo Data


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Mountainous terrain for railway simulator Zusi 2, somewhere in Germany, created from a Digital Elevation Model, accentuating contour lines 

The last couple of years have seen a number of PC programmes for railway simulations, most of them emphasising prototypical routes. To build such routes cartographic maps have been proven helpful a resource. In the digital age these maps come as images (raster maps) or as line graphs (vector maps). A very interesting derivative is the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) which provides height information as its only feature. Geo Data is a common term for all forms of these digital maps.

In 2001 the author of these pages started working on helper utilities to facilitate the exploitation of geo data for railway simulators. Main work concentrates on Zusi – Der Zugsimulator, a German simulator written by Carsten Hölscher, with a focus on authentic signalling, operations, track geometry and physical model, to name a few of Zusi's main features. The helper utilities I have created for Zusi are commonly known nowadays as the “Ziegler Tools”. They are available as part of the Zusi distribution CD.

In 2003 work began on the latest of these tools, a programme named TransDEM. TransDEM is a geo data pre-processing utility which features DEM editing, georeferencing of raster maps and vector data conversion. TransDEM has become popular outside the Zusi world, particular in its special Trainz edition with specific features for Auran Trainz Railroad Simulator.

© 2002 - 2007 Roland Ziegler