So there is a subgroup of people who make AMAZING maps you probably don’t know about.
They are not GISP, PE or ASPRS certified. Most of them do not even work in our beloved industry or even know what DEM, LiDAR or TIN stand for. They are farmers of simulated farms. Virtual Farmers. And when they put their mind to it, they can create some amazing maps.
GIANTS Software of … well not ‘merica, has created Farming Simulator ‘18 (Yes there are 18 versions) This open source gaming platform allows users to create Mods and build maps. These are not minecraft-type block maps, these are amazingly immersive worlds. To begin, users have to download data for their base, this is usually a DEM or TIN. Then they build the world and skins ontop of it changing and enhancing the terrain as needed for realism. Most of this programming is in XML (of course) with a fair amount of Lua and the gaming engine
How do I know this? Well, I have a cousin that lives in Austin, Texas that has spent over 1,000 hours recreating 6 Square miles of Tazewell County, Illinois so that he could virtually farm his family farm. Sweet? Yes, but a little obsessive, I mean, just take some pictures. 18 months ago he asked me about getting weather data, elevation and parcel data for Tazewell County for a project. I don’t think I ever got him anything (Sorry Daniel). At any rate, He’s done and his map is amazing! The video below shows off some of the terrain. There are some longer videos if you become an enthusiast.
The Farm is the family farm, the fields are their fields. He has, however, slightly embellished the farm equipment and livestock. The high power lines are correct the treeline is right, if you look close, you can even see my parents house across the field.