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Curtis Lemay -> MAP MAKING USING THE LATLONG PROGRAM (9/5/2009 9:13:27 PM)

Frustrated with the absence of any decent TOAW Article section anywhere since the one at GameSquad went AWOL, I've decided to just post re-prints of them as threads here on this board.

Curtis Lemay -> RE: MAP MAKING USING THE LATLONG PROGRAM (9/5/2009 9:14:19 PM)


by Bob Cross

Included in the attached 7KB zip file is a copy of my Latlong.exe program. Given the parameters for a desired map, this program will calculate all the latitudes and longitudes of every hex on the map. Those required parameters are the latitude and longitude ranges, and the hex scale. The calculated longitude values will automatically be adjusted for a sinusoidal map projection, keeping the hex scale constant for all latitudes on the map. Once equipped with this data, the designer can use the latitude and longitude information on any map source (digital or paper) to easily create an accurate map. Both my Campaign for North Africa, France 1944, Okinawa 1945, Germany 1945, and Soviet Union 1941 scenario maps were created using this technique.

Curtis Lemay -> RE: MAP MAKING USING THE LATLONG PROGRAM (9/5/2009 9:17:16 PM)

To use the program, just execute it from the “Run” dialog window (use the “Browse” feature if necessary). Enter the required parameters as prompted.

Use your own sign convention for east or west longitudes and north or south latitudes. But, obviously, if the map crosses the Equator, either north or south latitudes will have to be negative, and if the map crosses the Prime Meridian, either east or west longitudes will have to be negative. It’s your choice, but then it’s up to you to correctly interpret the results. If it crosses the 180th meridian you’ll have a problem that will require some data manipulation later on. Finally, note that the program will not work if the map includes either pole.

The higher values may be on left or right, top or bottom. The program will decrement or increment values as necessary.

When the ‘THE RESULTS WERE WRITTEN TO “C:\LATLONG.TXT”’ message is written, the program is finished, and the DOS window can be closed. The file can then be found in your main directory.


Curtis Lemay -> RE: MAP MAKING USING THE LATLONG PROGRAM (9/5/2009 9:21:06 PM)

A typical file will look as in the attached screenshot when loaded into Wordpad.

The top row shows the hex column numbers. The first two columns show the hex row numbers. The third column shows the latitude values. Since the latitude values don’t vary with hex column, they are not repeated. All the other values are longitude values for the individual hexes. Note that the longitude ranges vary with latitude, due to the sinusoidal projection. I recommend this projection for most wargame map-making, but if designers prefer a cylindrical projection, they can just pick one row of longitudes and use that for all the hex rows. Other projections are beyond the scope of the program.


Curtis Lemay -> RE: MAP MAKING USING THE LATLONG PROGRAM (9/5/2009 9:23:53 PM)

The text file is difficult to work with, so I recommend you import it into an Excel spreadsheet. When you try to open the text file, the import dialog will come up, as in the attached screenshot.

Unfortunately, Excel only allows 256 columns per worksheet, so if your map is wider than 253 hex columns, you’ll have to do some mucking about with the import dialog to get the rest of the values on a second worksheet. But, otherwise, the defaults should work without any changes.


Curtis Lemay -> RE: MAP MAKING USING THE LATLONG PROGRAM (9/5/2009 9:26:04 PM)

Once imported, a typical spreadsheet will look as in the attached screenshot.

Once in the spreadsheet, the designer can do all sorts of manipulations, including printing it out however he desires. Designers may prefer to print it out to allow marking features directly on the printout. However, some marking can be done on the file itself. Note the “fill” button at top.


Curtis Lemay -> RE: MAP MAKING USING THE LATLONG PROGRAM (9/5/2009 9:29:31 PM)

Now that you’ve got the latitude/longitude values for each hex, how can you take advantage of it? While almost all maps, even ones on paper, will have latitude and longitude tics on them, a digital atlas with a latlong tool is the easiest way to exploit it. Paper maps would require hand calculations that the digital map will do for you. For example, I use the “Rand McNally New Millennium World Atlas Deluxe” on CD. I think it is also available online as well, at Rand McNally’s site. It comes with a built-in latlong tool. A typical use is shown as in the attached screenshot.

Note that the tool shows the latitude and longitude of the cursor location. It therefore becomes a simple matter to take progressive data points along a coastline you’re trying to map and transfer these to the spreadsheet using the fill button. Find the latitude and longitude pair on the spreadsheet that is closest to the values shown on the tool. Click into that cell and hit the “Fill” button.


Curtis Lemay -> RE: MAP MAKING USING THE LATLONG PROGRAM (9/5/2009 9:31:55 PM)

The results of doing this are shown with the following example:


Curtis Lemay -> RE: MAP MAKING USING THE LATLONG PROGRAM (9/5/2009 9:34:26 PM)

For a better view, I’ve zoomed the spreadsheet out further, here:


Curtis Lemay -> RE: MAP MAKING USING THE LATLONG PROGRAM (9/5/2009 9:36:48 PM)

Armed with this data, it was simple to then transfer the information on the spreadsheet to an ACOW map.

Once the coastline is mapped, it becomes progressively easier to use the same technique to map cities, rivers, roads, etc. Often much of this information must be found on other sources, such as Tactical Pilot Maps, which are on paper. But once the coastline and city information is on the map, other features are usually easy to position.

Incidentally, the cheapest site I’ve found for TPC maps is at this site:

Look under NIMA products once on the site. TPC maps have excellent terrain topography data at 500,000:1 scale and cover practically the entire earth.


Curtis Lemay -> RE: MAP MAKING USING THE LATLONG PROGRAM (9/5/2009 9:39:23 PM)

The final result (used in my Okinawa 1945 scenario) looked as follows:

Happy map-making!


Curtis Lemay -> RE: MAP MAKING USING THE LATLONG PROGRAM (9/5/2009 9:40:36 PM)

Note that I'd like this thread to be treated like an Article rather than a discussion. So I'm going to try to get the monitors to lock it. Until then, I'd appreciate that no one post here. If you want to post about the Article, please make a new thread to do so.


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