Empire Earth – Elevation Data

by ShadowViper

One of the great features of the EE editor is the ability to import elevation data and use it to create a map. What does this mean? It means you could use imported elevation data to recreate e.g. France and the map would recreate the country from the data. Create any part of the world in minutes!

First thing you need is the folder to put the data in. Go to wherever you have installed EE and find your Scenario Folder, e.g. C:\Program Files\Empire Earth\Data\Scenario. Make a new folder in here called Elevation Maps.

Next, somewhere to get the data from. We recommend the site below;

National Geophysical Data Center

Data Center 2

The second link is better as it has no download limit – it also makes smaller files. Our example uses the first link.

In order to define the area you wish data for you need the following four figures;

the latitude that defines the north of your map
the latitude that defines the south of your map
longitude that defines the east of your map
longitude that defines the west of your map

As you can see this creates a square area with the land that falls between those coordinates. You can use the java map to draw the area you wish, or enter the coordinates by hand.

In our example we wish to create The British Isles and part of France so we give it the following figures;

Northern most line of latitude is 60 degrees
Southern most line of latitude is 47 degrees
Western most line of long is -12 degrees
Eastern most line of long is 10 degrees

Enter these figures and hit the select button. The data is generated and the page refreshes. You will see a message appear in the blue banner strip across the page that will look like this;

“Output data will be raw binary (with little-endian—Intel PC—byte order), is about a 13 by 22 degree area (1560 rows X 2640 columns = 4,118,400 grid cells), and each data value will occupy 2 bytes. The uncompressed data file size will be 8,236,800 bytes.”

The important information here is the number of rows and columns, make a note of them as you will need these later.

Grab the data by pressing get data under the blue banner strip. A new page opens up where you will see three files at the top with different extensions, as follows – mydata.bin., mydata.hdr and mydata.fmt. The one you want is the .bin file so right click on the link and save as, then save to your Elevation Maps folder, giving it whatever name you like and changing the extension from .bin to .dat.

Warning: these files are often quite large, for the above example an 8MB file is generated.

Ok, you’ve got your data. In the Elevation Maps folder in Explorer, create a new text file and give it the same name as the file you just downloaded, i.e. if it is called BritainAndFrance.dat call your text file BritainAndFrance.txt. Open the text file and put the number of rows and columns you made a note of. The columns must come first, then a space, then the rows, so in our example this would be 2640 1560, then save and close the text file.

Open the EE Editor. Click on the mountain icon to get the Elevation Screen, then select your file from the drop down list under the Elevation File label. 4 more settings appear, set them as follows;

Water Depth 2 or 3
Water Cutoff around 1000
Land Height 9 or 10
Land Cutoff 2000 or 3000

Set the Map Width, choose the Terrain you want then hit “Create Map”.

And that’s it! One map in a few seconds, saving you hours of painstaking recreation. Experiment with different settings to see the effects of scale between the land and any units you place. You will also have to play around with the land and water cutoff values at times if the imported terrain looks too mountainous.

Some figures for you to try (note you will need the second link that has no download limit for these);


North 37.539444
South -40.403893
West -18.170559
East 63.498604


North -60.501945
South -90.0
West -180
East 180


North 81.290543
South -10.93
West 25.663883
East 180.0


North -10.05139
South -43.66
West 112.907211
East 153.64


North 81.851929
South 34.808884
West -10.474724
East 68.931366

North America:

North 83.623596
South 7.206111
West -179.142
East -52.614449

South America:

North 13.378611
South -55.919724
West -109.44917
East -29.84

The World:

North 90
South -90
West -180
East 180