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xEricx

City Road Graph

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Hey, With sites like maps.google.com and mapquest.com and the like, I was wondering if there was a source where you could get for free (or cheap) graphs representing streets of well known cities? I'd like to model some sort of simulation of pedestrians and cars moving around huge cities and see how it would look... (a bit like GTA) I know I could procedurally create my own cities, but it would be a whole lot more fun to have it run in Montreal for example ;) Cheers Eric PS.: sorry if its in the wrong forum... I just didn't knew where to post that.. :)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
For roads in the USA you can get the US Census Bureau's official database, called TIGER. It's in the Public Domain, and I think they let you download it in county-sized pieces from an FTP site, or there is also a CD set available for some ridiculous copying fee, like $800 or $2000 or something like that. Of course that just gives you the locations of roads themselves -- you'll have no way of knowing if the area between two roads is an empty field or a skyscraper. I don't think it has any elevation data either (so everything will be flat), but I suppose you could combine it with (also public domain) elevation data from the USGS. But in the end you'll just end up with a network of roads on some relatively flat hills.

Of course, if you fill areas with just sort of generic city shopfronts / suburban houses based on what it looks like is in the area from Google maps, and then add in a few landmarks you might get a result you like, along the lines of True Crime: Streets of LA. Alternatively, you can buy several thousands of dollars worth of aerial photography of the city of your choice and create 3d blocks of buildings based on the outlines of buildings, but that would take you a while to do by hand and probably doesn't give you the best results when done automatically, and I assume that you'd have to pay extra to the company you got your photographs from to be allowed to redistribute your 3d buildings (like, include them in a game). Google Earth (the downloadable program, not maps.google.com) has 3d buildings for a select few (American) cities -- so it's possible there is a company somewhere selling 3d building datasets for a few cities, but I'm sure it isn't cheap.

As to data for Canadian cities, I don't know anything about what's available. Many cities of Montreal's size seem to have offices dedicated to GIS stuff, so if they have one you could ask them what (free) datasets they know of.

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