Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

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Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by cyruspace » Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:28 pm

I almost moved to a town where I would have been about 60 miles from my retreat in a SHTF situation. I looked up google maps and then using the satellite images I started to recon the area. I considered the driving and then the hiking alternatives. The area was quite rural. I remember thinking with good camouflage, night vision and traveling at night. I would in the cold perhaps wear a ghillie suit. It was possible to make it on foot, even if a hostile environment. I remember it was quite a rural trip except for 1 little town where there was a bridge across a large but slow river. It was a choke point! I remember going to ground view and checking the approaches to the bridge which left one very exposed. If the move would have happened it might have been a good idea to start to look into how to get across that river without using the bridge! I wonder how much weight a portable raft would add to a BOB.

Who has done this? What did you learn that could help us?
You can't do this type of recon once the lights go out! :idea: :lol:
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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by TheWarriorMax » Wed Nov 26, 2014 8:33 pm

1. Time spent in recon is seldom wasted
2. I have an inflatable canoe that can hold maybe 2 adults = 2 packs at the most. "For still water use within 300 feet of shore' is the label on the side. Weighs about 20kg and is larger than my backpack when rolled up. Not portable at all. A better idea might be use your self inflating mattress to get across a river - not sure how buoyant they are though. Test and inform us? Can you launch your paracord across the river, snag it on the other side and use it to pull you across?

3. Just nitpicking about "You can't do this type of recon once the lights go out!" While there may be times when the power goes off to the cell phone towers and internet, I'm confident that the internet will be a priority for any government that exists. Given that so much of the economic activity is tied to EFT and bank transfers, and so many folks are using food stamp cards from JP Morgan (I'm not in Amerika so I'm not sure of the word - SNAP?) - The govt would pull out all stops to get the grid and internet operational as soon as possible after any disaster.

It's important to have FB and free online porn available to reduce the inclination of the masses to riot out of boredom. And for the NSA to snoop on anyone who might be planning anything uppity (by remotely turning on the mic of the phone and listening to all sounds within 10 feet of the device...even if it appears to be off)

If the internet is down for good and you are moving alone on foot across country, a rural bridge choke point will be one of the least of your worries.
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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by wildman800 » Thu Nov 27, 2014 8:40 am

I did that very thing a couple of days ago for getting out on foot. I learned a few landmarks to use for day or night navigation. I also learned that the northern route I had been planning on has a lot of populated areas that border on one another. Now I know that at a certain road/bridge crossing a coulee, I then have to veer to the NW to clear the last of the populated areas to get into some open less populated countryside.

I am going to have to study the Google mapping many times to get everything down pat inside my brain. I'm also going to extend my view much more North & Northwest of my immediate area.

I think I will start making notes on my VFR Charts from the Google info.
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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by TacAir » Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:30 pm

Modern topo maps from the USGS are 'satellite corrected' - that is to say updated from images.

Both maps and google earth suffer from the same problem - age. While the USGS map is dated, I haven't seen anyway to see how old the google images might be. The more active the active an area, like say Austin, TX - the more
"surprises" the documents hold.


It's certainly worth the time to make at least an annual pilgrimage to any site you plan to use in a disaster. Nothing will ruin your plans faster than a bridge under repair/clicked/gone or a road ripped up for 'repairs'.

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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by aikorob » Thu Nov 27, 2014 7:09 pm

TacAir wrote:.......... While the USGS map is dated, I haven't seen anyway to see how old the google images might be....
Can't you just pair the maps up with views on Google Earth? Those have an imagery date in the lower right---next to the "eye altitude".
Mine are actually printed from Google Earth---you can get broad overviews and zoom in as needed.
Also make use of the older cached views (if available) great way to see if there are any abandoned railways or roads---may make travel easier; as well as images from other seasons to pick out other terrain features.
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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by manowar1313 » Thu Nov 27, 2014 9:18 pm

Personally I do this ALL the time. I not only map out my primary exit but also secondaries. Then I try drive them. It's good to know what's behind the treeline and if you're driving past any potentially useful resources, that a walking person maybe interested in. I also keep notes about various paths I plan on taking and when I visit my BOL I try taking different routes there and back. I also try and stop at live in businesses. This way I'll be familiar with the owners and they maybe more willing to help in a SHTF situation. I also stop at abandoned buildings and landmarks that could be stop-over points in a SHTF situation.

My BOL is a friends ranch in a town no ones heard of that's not on a major route about 2 hours from my AO.
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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by TacAir » Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:44 pm

aikorob wrote:
TacAir wrote:.......... While the USGS map is dated, I haven't seen anyway to see how old the google images might be....
Can't you just pair the maps up with views on Google Earth? Those have an imagery date in the lower right---next to the "eye altitude".
Mine are actually printed from Google Earth---you can get broad overviews and zoom in as needed.
Also make use of the older cached views (if available) great way to see if there are any abandoned railways or roads---may make travel easier; as well as images from other seasons to pick out other terrain features.
I'm going to have to look at my settings. Thanks!
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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by ineffableone » Fri Nov 28, 2014 1:40 am

I would suggest adding Bing maps to your image recon. Bing adds a bit more detail to the images. Especially if your scouting an area with deciduous trees. Bing actually changes to a view taken after tree's leaves have fallen when you zoom in close. So you can see through the trees. For example.

Image

Bing is on the left google on the right.

This sort of view into forests can help you spot trails and other features you might miss if you couldn't see into the forest.

However Bing maps are definitely older then google maps. Google tends to be within about 2-5 years current depending on the location, but Bing tends to be more like 5-10 years. I imagine it is harder to stay up to date when your trying to get images that let you see through the trees. That is a narrow window when the leaves have dropped but there is no cloud cover or snow on the ground. I would still say that Bing maps has a place though. I discovered many places using it I would not have if I was using Goggle maps. I commonly use it to scout potential camping areas.
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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Fri Nov 28, 2014 11:23 pm

Map recon tells you about what's on the map. Imagery tells you what's on the image. Those are both great tools, but the only thing that tells you what's over the hill is having eyes on what's over the hill. There is no substitute for walking it out!
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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by cyruspace » Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:04 pm

You can walk the road in Google satellite images and turn 360 degrees to see what is just off the road. This is what I did regarding the bridge.

Some have mentioned railroad tracks or power line clearings as potential routes. I agree; however, one would want to move in the trees or along the tree line and not in the middle of the tracks or directly under the transmission towers if the situation is bad enough.
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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by Boondock » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:05 pm

Doctorr Fabulous wrote:There is no substitute for walking it out!
Agreed. We learned that the hard way when we first got to Afghanistan. Since we were new in country, most of our routes were planned using satellite photos and conditions on the ground rarely matched what appeared on the imagery.

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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by AceOClubs » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:11 pm

Concur with TacAir "It's certainly worth the time to make at least an annual pilgrimage to any site you plan to use in a disaster. Nothing will ruin your plans faster than a bridge under repair/clicked/gone or a road ripped up for 'repairs'." and others....

Maps and even driving through the general area is never a replacement for walking it out. Not to sound paranoid but, while walking your route you should be constantly scanning the overwatch areas... cliffs,trees, etc that zombies could be napping or whatever and watching for you!

Walking it out also shows you possible locations to take breaks, hide vehicles and most important use natural terrain for improved fighting positions. If/when you're leading a group to safety, you'll need places to do a HALT, set up security around those areas and rest. Check your maps, landmarks and let a recon team go out ahead to scout.

In my area, snakes are a problem so halt locations need to be looked at carefully.

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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:14 pm

cyruspace wrote:You can walk the road in Google satellite images and turn 360 degrees to see what is just off the road. This is what I did regarding the bridge.

Some have mentioned railroad tracks or power line clearings as potential routes. I agree; however, one would want to move in the trees or along the tree line and not in the middle of the tracks or directly under the transmission towers if the situation is bad enough.
"Walking" with google street view will only show you what's on google street view.

I use the train tracks sometimes for day hikes, and the powerline trails down here are pretty well maintained too. That might not be true everywhere, and the best way to find out is to walk it out.
Boondock wrote:
Doctorr Fabulous wrote:There is no substitute for walking it out!
Agreed. We learned that the hard way when we first got to Afghanistan. Since we were new in country, most of our routes were planned using satellite photos and conditions on the ground rarely matched what appeared on the imagery.
Same. "We're at building...okay we're 500m from Building 14, the thirteenth building to the west....yeah by the road that's not on the map...yeah near the wadi that's not on the map..." There's no substitute for walking it out, and taking notes while you're there.
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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by ineffableone » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:27 pm

Definitely satellite images are not a replacement for walking the ground in person.

I use satellite images to scout an area I have not yet been, to get a familiarity before I walk it. I will even use satellite images to review an area after I return, to see the path I walked and what I might have missed. As I mentioned previously, bing maps allow you to see through deciduous trees. This enables me to spot trails and dirt roads that don't show up on regular maps. Then when I am actually on the ground I can look for these. It can tell me that 1/2 a mile down a trail off to the left through the trees is a large clearing or a pond or lake. I might spot some interesting rock features that could make for a good defensive position if needed. Etc.

I do agree that satellite images don't replace walking the ground, but they can help you rule out routes with problems and spot potential beneficial features without having to walk the ground. It is a tool that is helpful. But once you do scout via satellite images and find a route you like, you should drive, bike, walk that route. There are plenty of things that might not come through in images that can be obvious when there in person. Not to mention the age of the images can make them obsolete. Driving can get you through long sections, but biking and walking really slows you down and lets you really pick up details you would miss even driving 20 mph through an area.
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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by Stercutus » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:08 pm

I would suggest adding Bing maps to your image recon. Bing adds a bit more detail to the images.
If you download the program Google Earth (free) you can scroll through all the different map sets, aerial photos and satellite imagery that are available in your area. In my area this is about 40 sets of images going back to the 40s. This is useful for a lot of different reasons. You can also add and remove a bunch of stuff from the map and customize it to make it more useful.

ETA: You also get some nice 3D rendering of buildings, terrain and certain vegetation where available. This can also be quite useful.

http://www.google.com/earth/download/th ... pdater=yes

As an aside I wonder how many people know what to look for in a recon or understand what they are looking at and how it may impact them?
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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by Zimmy » Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:07 am

Thanks or the tip on Bing maps. I use the Google at this time and need to diversify.
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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by ineffableone » Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:02 pm

Zimmy wrote:Thanks or the tip on Bing maps. I use the Google at this time and need to diversify.
Glad to help. Finding out Bing gave a different view was a pretty cool find for me and enabled me to find a bunch of trails near where I lived that I had no idea existed as well as a few parks I didn't know about. Gettting a different perspective can be quite helpful.
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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by Toxoph » Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:33 am

Another source I use is the county property appraiser. Each county is different and some dont offer the service at all but some have interactive web mapping services. Often, the aerial images are more up to date than Google (but not always). In addition you can overlay additional features like hydrology, transportation, or topography. Just search the county property appraiser and (typically) select GIS map (or some verbage of).
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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by teotwaki » Tue Dec 02, 2014 2:17 pm

Great thread. I completely agree with conducting the "paper recon" then getting out on the actual route. I've found that overhead photos will "compress" terrain features that will prove to be difficult to traverse.

A recent example was a hike in the Sierras to a B-24 crash site from 1943. The last mile was supposed to be up a steep gully to the foot of a glacier. The gully route turned out to be lined with small to man-sized boulders that many times were very unstable. After going up that route my next visit will be to take a hiking trail to the top of the peak then rappel down onto the glacier. That will mean carrying some extra gear but ultimately be faster and safer.

On a bug-out route we may have to include bolt cutters, rope or other tools to avoid or surmount less than trivial obstacles if we cannot take an easier path.

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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by ineffableone » Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:59 pm

Toxoph wrote:Another source I use is the county property appraiser. Each county is different and some dont offer the service at all but some have interactive web mapping services. Often, the aerial images are more up to date than Google (but not always). In addition you can overlay additional features like hydrology, transportation, or topography. Just search the county property appraiser and (typically) select GIS map (or some verbage of).
Oh good idea, I like it. Thanks for mentioning it.
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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by Norwegian » Wed Dec 03, 2014 7:33 am

Over here The Norwegian Mapping Authority has an online service with satelite and aireal photos. This includes ortophoto's (aireal photos made for mapping pourposes) and even IR photos. Coverage varies but is prettys goord, most cities and big towns has high-quality images. Is there nothing like this in hte US?

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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by Purple_Mutant » Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:05 am

I use google earth quite a bit. I have an issue with bridges. If the bridge is high enough up, I get scarred shitless and can't cross the bridge. I have issues with binocular vision, so that may be why. So when I am looking for bicycling routs to places I use google earth to find routs that don't involve bridges. It's a good idea to map out bridgless routs in your area. Depending on the disaster the bridges might not be safe to use. It's also a great idea to map out bicycle routs. If everyone is trying to get out of doge at the same time, the roads will be jammed. That's where a bicycle comes in really handy. In my area there are google street views of bike trails. Google directions now includes bike routs.

Since I live in the bay area not too far from Google HQ I assume the street views are more regularly updated than they might be for other areas. So that's a plus for me.

Google earth has other disaster related uses too. I have used the path feature to plan out wire antennas. I can trace the perimeter of the back yard to see if the antenna will fit. The elevation profile is also a very handy tool for ham radio. If you are dealing with line of site communications the elevation profile can show you hills in the way. To use the elevation profile make a path. In the places box right click on the path and pick "show elevation profile".

There are also some handy add ons for google earth. I have used one called "rings" It makes a circle of a given radius on the map. I can also mark multiple circles at a given interval.

http://www.metzgerwillard.us/rings/rings.html

FCC rules for CB prohibit talking to people more than 250 km away. I have used the rings add on to get an idea of how far away I can talk to people legally. If anyone has any other ideas of uses for rings I would love to hear them.

Of course as pointed out, google earth is no substitute for boots on the ground. It's also good to have paper maps. Paper maps don't need electricity or internet access. It's good to at least have a paper street map for your area. I wonder how many people these days would have any idea how to use a map and compass? Speaking of maps. Here is a website for generating azimuthal maps so you know where to point your ham radio antenna.

http://ns6t.net/azimuth/azimuth.html

I think I will have to post that link in the communications section of the forum too.

Thanks for mentioning bing maps. One feature I like about bing is that you can look at the satellite views from different angles. So it lets you see things google earth doesn't show.
Norwegian wrote:Over here The Norwegian Mapping Authority has an online service with satelite and aireal photos. This includes ortophoto's (aireal photos made for mapping pourposes) and even IR photos. Coverage varies but is prettys goord, most cities and big towns has high-quality images. Is there nothing like this in hte US?
My brother in law is from Norway. I might have to ask him about that. Do they only do maps for Norway?

Here is a map site from the USGS. It's a little slow on my machine. But it does give you access to various kinds of data

http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/
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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by Norwegian » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:31 pm

Purple_Mutant wrote:
My brother in law is from Norway. I might have to ask him about that. Do they only do maps for Norway?

Here is a map site from the USGS. It's a little slow on my machine. But it does give you access to various kinds of data

http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/
It's similar to that, but a hell of a lot easyer to use! There are other more advanced/detail options too, but this is the best one for "amateur" users. Here is the link if you want to have a look, it's in norwegian but should not be too hard to figure out. It does take a long time to load high-resolution pictures, I think the speed is limited by the server to reduce load and give priority to professional (paying) users.

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Re: Recon Your Bug Out Route Using Google Satellite Images?

Post by Purple_Mutant » Tue Dec 09, 2014 6:14 pm

Norwegian wrote:
Purple_Mutant wrote:
My brother in law is from Norway. I might have to ask him about that. Do they only do maps for Norway?

Here is a map site from the USGS. It's a little slow on my machine. But it does give you access to various kinds of data

http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/
It's similar to that, but a hell of a lot easyer to use! There are other more advanced/detail options too, but this is the best one for "amateur" users. Here is the link if you want to have a look, it's in norwegian but should not be too hard to figure out. It does take a long time to load high-resolution pictures, I think the speed is limited by the server to reduce load and give priority to professional (paying) users.
If there is any language barrier I can just ask my brother in law. Thanks for the link.
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