User Tools

Site Tools


This is an old revision of the document!

Satellite Image Resolution Size Explained

Why is my terrain's satellite texture very low quality!? frequently asked question - answered!

Anybody who has computer hardware to run ArmA 2 / ArmA 3 can edit about 20480 x 20480 resolution satellite images in photoshop or gimp. This resolution is enough to do decent enough 40km x 40km terrains.

Satellite texture resolution is not an really issue, unless you are creating a huge terrain, perhaps above 50km.

This page is about satellite texture / mask image resolutions, if you are looking for terrain sizes then please refer to Terrain Grid and Cell Sizes.

Recommended 1 meter / 1 pixel

Recommended sizes (1m / pixel):

Kilometers Satellite Resolution
2.5 2560
5 5120
7 7168
10 10240
15 15360
20 20480
40+ 40960

Of course you can go higher than 40960 res but good luck running your photoshop / gimp with such resolutions :)

Meter / Pixel Ratio

If you place one satellite texture / mask resolution pixel into one meter of terrain, that is very good quality and recommended.

When you start to increase that ratio, you stretch that texture over to wider area, 2, 5, 10 or whatever the ratio would be and then you get lower and lower quality the further you stretch pixel above terrain meters.

Meter / Pixel Quality
0.5 Crazy good, rarely used
1 Good, recommended
2 Good
3-5 Okay
5-20 Low
20+ Very low, dont use

It is up to you to decide what ratio to use, what quality do you want. One fact that does not depend on personal opinion about quality is large terrain size, for example 1 meter / pixel ratio with 40960 resolution image means you can do only 40km sized terrain.

Now some might already run away scared when we talk about 40960 resolution images and many think even 20km is too large terrain. But that has nothing to do with the fact that the larger your terrain, the closer you are to photoshop editing limits like the mentioned 40960 resolution.

Pixel and Resolution

Satellite meters / pixel vs satellite texture resolution

Following table gives you some idea how the satellite texture resolution increases as you increase meters / pixel ratio.

Terrain Size Kilometers Meter / Pixel Satellite Texture Resolution
1 1 1024
2 1 2048
3 1 3072
4 1 4096
5 1 5120
10 1 10240
15 1 15360
20 1 20480
30 1 30720
40 1 40960
50 1 51200
60 1 61440
1 2 512
2 2 1024
3 2 1536
4 2 2048
5 2 2560
10 2 5120
15 2 7680
20 2 10240
30 2 15360
40 2 20480
50 2 25600
60 2 30720

Miro (the bis dev who made Take On Helicopters South Asia terrain) said that TOH South Asia satellite was 61,000 resolution and it worked fine.

When we (PMC + some guys in arma2 community) did experiment with 40960 satellite texture resolutions, it was borderline doable with photoshop (no idea about gimp, if someone has info please let us know), but even then saving took several minutes while photoshop swapped to the disk like a crazy. This was with 16gb ram on win 7 64bit.

Now with terrain builder we can import satellite texture / mask as tiles which eases the load while compiling our WRP (back in arma2 visitor3 we had no such option). So one could think that using larger resolution satellite images (than mentioned 40960) is now possible…

Also in late 2017 the arma(1) terrain / object making legend Opteryx, have 64gb ram in his monster computer and he used photoshop to load 71,680 x 71,680 resolution image there and he still had RAM to spare.

So the bottom line is, your computers RAM dictates what size of single image satellite texture / mask you can do, this limit is removed if you split satellite into smaller image tiles.

arma3/terrain/satellite-image-resolution-size-explained.1508901764.txt.gz · Last modified: 2017-10-25 04:22 by snakeman