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Ursus Maior
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Creating Your Own Maps: Military Style!

Fri 18 Jun 2021, 16:44

Recently, when searching for free map software, I came across a tool provided under the link https://www.map.army/ and I think it's brilliant! What it does is access one of the regular free zoomable map services of your choice (e. g. OpenTopo) and let you apply the current set of military tactical symbols to it (APP-6C?). It's free to use and certain settings can be switched on/off or altered. Also, you can save your overlays, i. e. the symbols you put on the map.

As the maps scale, so do the symbols so that you can use the tool for any scale of combat, movement or level of conflict desired, from a firefight to Operation Reset. When you save your work, you can choose what symbols in a layer to save and export everything to PDF to. But be aware, maps in high resolution can easily accumulate to hundreds of pages. Of course, you can load copies stored locally from other computers, so working on a desktop PC and using a more mobile device on the gaming table is no problem.
liber & infractus
 
baldrick0712
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Re: Creating Your Own Maps: Military Style!

Fri 18 Jun 2021, 17:01

Just tried it now. Do you know how to select OPFOR symbols (red diamond ones)?
 
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Re: Creating Your Own Maps: Military Style!

Sat 19 Jun 2021, 09:04

If you want to add new symbols to the map, you first go to the button with a big plus symbol ("+") on the right hand top corner and choose the appropriate basic symbol, e. g. "infantry". Then you can choose to place the symbol on the map or press the button below the "+" that says "MSS Symbol Editor" (it has a roll over / pop-up text which shows when you hover the cursor over it). Entering the editor opens a new box to choose from. You can enter text in various boxes (unit name, strength/level of command etc.). All boxes have info tags you can click. Additionally, there is a top line of three pull down menus: "Modifiers", "Affiliation" and "Operational Condition".

Under "Affiliation" you can click "Hostile", which gives you all the red diamonds you'll ever want. :)

Sometimes there will be updates and pop-up windows linking to a YouTube channel. The company responsible for the website seems to offer tutorials there (https://www.youtube.com/c/gssoftAG/videos). So far, I haven't watched a video yet, but they seem to hit those questions, too. There is also a 3D-map mode, which I haven't tried so far.

It's all free, so I figured I'd use it. Of course the maps are contemporary and not from 2000. So there might be some anachronisms.
liber & infractus
 
baldrick0712
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Re: Creating Your Own Maps: Military Style!

Sat 19 Jun 2021, 14:43

It would be nice to know what symbols suit what units. For instance, BRDM = armoured recon (cavalry diagonal and tank oval) etc. We could do with some sort of unit glossary.
 
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Re: Creating Your Own Maps: Military Style!

Sat 19 Jun 2021, 21:32

I think the software is mainly written for military personnel, who often use APP-6C standards for this type of maps. Wikipedia is y friend here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_Join ... _Symbology
liber & infractus
 
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omnipus
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Re: Creating Your Own Maps: Military Style!

Tue 22 Jun 2021, 20:47

Pretty rad. I've been building stuff out using OpenTopo and OSM sources anyway... this puts it all in one place. If only there was a way to make it "multiplayer" for my VTT usage! I may still just try streaming it. Note that you can also apply a hex grid -- unfortunately the grid comes in only 3 pre-set sizes, but there's one that's about 4km across and one that's about 6km across. Might be perfect for a revised travel map (which I think 5km is a much better fit than 10km, the more I've used it).

You can also approximate day/night cycles (in "3D mode" which is not actually 3D for Poland, you can even do this "automatically" using their daylight simulator).

As mentioned, though, the biggest issue is that the maps are all current. The anachronism may not bother some people or be a factor in some areas. The inability to easily edit it, though, and mark certain areas as destroyed/reduced is a little thematically annoying. I suppose you could do it with symbology or even with an image overlay, but that starts being a lot of work. Hmm.
 
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omnipus
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Re: Creating Your Own Maps: Military Style!

Tue 22 Jun 2021, 20:55

One nice thing this also has is all the graphics for stability operations -- I could see that being real handy for a T2K campaign. Maybe if your group is real nerds you'll pair it with a pattern analysis plot!
 
baldrick0712
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Re: Creating Your Own Maps: Military Style!

Tue 22 Jun 2021, 20:56

Are there any sources of 1990s era maps of Poland and Sweden? In some ways I wish they'd advanced the timeline to 2025 or something so maps would be easier to deal with.
 
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Jedo
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Re: Creating Your Own Maps: Military Style!

Tue 22 Jun 2021, 21:00

The Perry-Castañeda Map library at UT is one of the best online map resources I have found. And all of their maps are downloadable. And they have older maps as well as current ones.
https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/
 
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Ursus Maior
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Re: Creating Your Own Maps: Military Style!

Tue 22 Jun 2021, 21:45

Pretty rad. I've been building stuff out using OpenTopo and OSM sources anyway... this puts it all in one place. If only there was a way to make it "multiplayer" for my VTT usage!
Hm, what do you need? You mean like a version for you and one for the players? That could be done by clicking away certain layers, when exporting it into PDF, PNG etc. You can also collaboratively edit the maps by sharing a certain link. It's explained in their latest YT video clip. That way your players could either edit the master/GM copy or (probably better) a reduced intelligence/player version.
liber & infractus

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