Using Google Earth to create height maps by Richdre @ BMC
If you are using CAW then you know that everything starts with a height map. EA supplied several with the program but most are flat and require a lot of sculpting to create a world. I've tried making my own in Photoshop but I'm not an artist and the results were bad. Then I found a tutorial that outlines how to create height maps from the data in Google Earth. I decided to give it a try and darned if it didn't work.
Here is the link to the tutorial.
I followed the instructions and after I downloaded and installed the programs required I was able to create new height maps using real world data. It took several tries to get one that I could work with but I finally got the one in the picture below. The data is from a small section of the California coast line. A little rough but the basics were there. This saved me a lot of time because I didn't need to do the basic sculpting, I just flattened the areas where I wanted to build houses and smoothed out the rest. I did add some hills at the top of the map because I didn't want it to look like an island. I also added some more land at the bottom of the map. So bottom line,if your looking for new height maps or maybe you would like to make your hometown into a world this will do the job. I doubt that I will ever start with a flat map again.
The original map
After about an hour with the smooth and flatten tools I had a map that looked like this.
Several more hours and my world looked like this.