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PostPosted: 06 Jul 2013 17:56 

Joined: 05 Jan 2011 16:45
Posts: 1303
TransDEM 2.4 is available.

Version 2.4 brings new map processing capabilities once again and also full compatibility with TS12 SP1.

The new features in brief:
  • GeoPDF import (with the help of GDAL), particularly USGS historical and modern topo map series.
  • Enhanced support for ESRI World Files for georeferencing, now including rotation.
  • Support for DEM file formats ERDAS Imagine and ESRI Float Grid.
  • Support for DEMs with non-integer raster width.
  • Ability to load only a subset of a large DEM file.
  • Writes and reads native TS12 SP1 route file formats.
  • Complies with TS12 SP1 Content Manager asset requirements.
  • Includes replacement texture asset to be used for wireframe mode in Trainz Surveyor.

What is TransDEM about?

TransDEM Trainz Edition is a helper tool for building prototypical routes in Trainz. It processes geo-data, in particular DEMs (Digital Elevation Model = height data) and cartographic map images and creates Trainz terrain from it.

New Users: How much does it cost?

TransDEM Trainz Edition is Payware. The fee for a personal non-commercial license is €22.90 including PayPal fees.

(This is about GBP 20.00, USD 31.00, CAD 32.00, AUD 34.00, NZD 40.00, JPY 3100 or RUB 1000, including PayPal fees. Currency conversion rates as of 05 July 2013.)

New Users: How can it be ordered?

You can order TransDEM or request more information with a simple email: I will send you an info letter with further details of the purchasing and downloading process.

Current Users: Update Policy

There will be a free update for current TransDEM users who purchased their license within the last 12 months. These users should receive an email from me with further details within the next couple of days.

All other users can obtain an upgrade license for a fee of €7.90, including PayPal charges. Please email me at if you are interested, including enough information to find you in my database: your full name and original order ID.


Updated TransDEM configuration samples for WMS and map tiles can be downloaded here (without any warranty!). Some servers will only work with TransDEM 2.2 or higher!

What kind of features does TransDEM offer?

Geo-Data: Digital Elevation Models (DEMs)

  • Direct support for SRTM, USGS NED and ASTER GDEM (GeoTIFF), Canadian CDED DEMs, various ESRI formats and ERDAS Imagine, many including projected coordinate systems, plus MicroDEM format for a lot of other DEM types. (SRTM support includes US 1 arc sec data and “Viewfinder-Panorama” 1 and 3 arc sec DEMs.)
  • DEM Editing capabilities: adjustment of elevations (Triangulated Irregular Network algorithm - TIN), hole filling, smoothing, clipping, re-sampling, horizontal and vertical shifting, plus contour tracing for DEM refinement.
  • DEM shading, DEM based contour lines to ease to enhance DEM visualisation.

Geo-Data: Raster Maps, Orthophotos

  • Georeferencing of topographic raster maps with coordinates, dedicated functions for easy-handling of this often error-prone task.
  • Easy-handling of maps from on-line geo-servers (conventional browser interface).
  • Automatic georeferencing of GeoTIFF and GeoPDF images (GDAL required for GeoPDF).
  • Function to create transparent margins to avoid occlusion with overlapping maps and plans.
  • WMS client (“Web Mapping Services”) for automating the cartographic map image acquisition. Compatible servers exist in several countries, e.g. USA, Canada, Norway.
  • Map Tile client, similar to WMS client, for raster maps in Mercator projection and organised as a quadtree structure, as offered by certain Web servers. Examples are the (road-)map and orthophoto services by Google, Microsoft or Open Street Map.
  • Semi-automatic georeferencing of Google Earth™ images, using “placemarks”.
  • Support for UTM, geographic coordinates (lat/long) and a number of national coordinate systems in use in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Geo-Data: Vector Data

  • Vector overlays and polyline editor, read and write support for various file formats, shp, dxf, kml/kmz and others.
  • Data exchange with GPS devices via .gpx data.
  • Import conversion for data in national coordinate systems.

Trainz Map Creation

  • Direct creation of all files making a Trainz route map.
  • Fully compatible with TRS2004, TRS2006 family (including TRS2007 and Trainz Classics), TS2009 (SP2), TS2010 (SP3) and TS12 (SP1).
  • Baseboard alignment with the UTM grid. Allows for a modular route building approach.
  • DEM shaped terrain.
  • Ground texture and minimap based on raster map (limited resolution). Optional 5m grid for TS2009 and above.
  • Support for custom ground texture set, including removal.
  • Automatic placement of UTM tiles (texture carrier objects with higher raster map or orthophoto resolution), 1000m and 500m
  • Direct creation of Trainz spline objects from 2D and 3D vector data, allows to “lay track” in TransDEM.
  • Usage of the Trainz World Origin object for maintaining an absolute coordinate reference which allows adding of UTM tiles or spline objects at a later stage.
  • Lowering or raising a conventionally built Trainz route to merge it it with a DEM based route.
  • Optional horizontal baseboard grid offset for TransDEM-generated terrain to achieve better matching with existing conventionally-built Trainz route modules.

Support for GPS devices

  • Import: Live track log option for GPS devices via NMEA1083 protocol to record GPS positions as vector data, COM or USB (USB needs 3rd party converter).
  • Export: Option to save georeferenced raster maps as a .kmz package with geographic coordinates and automatic tiling for Garmin® GPS devices (and Google Earth™).


TransDEM comes with extensive English documentation in pdf format, about 260 pages in two manuals. Tutorials make up a major part. They cover various aspects of TransDEM's capabilities including the mainstream functions of generating terrain for Trainz quickly.

Example: US route with historical maps from the USGS collection

The following series of screenshots shows the typical TransDEM approach to use geo data for prototypical route building, emphasizing some of the new functions in this latest release..

GeoPDF support is the major new feature in TransDEM 2.4. It enables TransDEM users to process USGS topographic maps from the historical collection and the current series. (To import GeoPDF data, TransDEM requires the GDAL utilities, a free software package.)

This shows historical USGS topo maps and modern 1/3 arc sec NED DEM for the East Broad Top Railroad in Pennsylvania, a coal hauling narrow gauge line, closed in the 1950s (a short segment survived as tourist railroad).

For this route four map sheets were used, originating from 1924 to 1942. The GeoPDF maps are georeferenced, the projection is Polyconic, another new addition to TransDEM 2.4. They also have a so-called neat line, to separate the contents of the map from the map collar. TransDEM can clip-off outside this neat-line, marked in semi-transparent pale yellow in the following screenshot.


After conversion to UTM the map, now slightly rotated, is shown without the map collar. There is a slight discrepancy between the meridian at -77° 50' on the map and the purple grid line in TransDEM. The map was made with the NAD27 geodetic datum and ellipsoid, but the purple lines are WGS84 (equivalent to NAD83 here).


The next image shows all four maps combined. The route resides in two UTM zones, 17 and 18, with the 78th meridian as the border. TransDEM has re-projection functions to put all data into the same UTM zone, as seen here.


DEM data in 1/3 arc sec resolution for the same area, downloaded in 1x1 degree huge chunks. TransDEM 2.4 adds two more DEM file formats. ERDAS Imagine (.img) is one of them, and the USGS says they are planning to offer this as the only format in the future. TransDEM 2.4 also adds a new function to open only a subrange of a large DEM file, and to leave away areas not needed to save memory.


Exported to Trainz and viewed from high above, Trainz 12 Surveyor renders the minimap, combined with terrain shading.


Viewed from the surface level we look into the narrows east of Orbisonia (with two rulers to measures length and with of the narrows.


Finally, Orbisonia depot area of the present day tourist railroad as orthophotos on TransDEM UTM tiles, shown in Surveyor wireframe mode. The TransDEM 2.4 package comes with an optional wireframe replacement texture for improved transparency in this mode in TS12 (and TS2010).


Roland Ziegler (geophil)

 Post subject: Update Version 2.4.1
PostPosted: 05 Oct 2013 15:18 

Joined: 05 Jan 2011 16:45
Posts: 1303
A TransDEM update is available on my homepage. The new version is 2.4.1.

This update is free for all TransDEM 2.4 users. Registered users of previous TransDEM versions can upgrade for €7.90.

It addresses a few minor issues:
  • Handles some special cases in the data structures of Trainz route files, found in files written by TS12 SP1.
  • Fixes a compatibility problem with the coordinate system saved with a control point file, needed for TIN georeferencing of raster maps. It also offers a new helper function to convert control point files written with 2.4.0 to the latest file version.
  • Brings back TransDEM ground textures V3 because the build number of new V4 will be rejected by TS2009 and TS2010.

These issues were reported by TransDEM users, many thanks for providing the feedback!

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