Looking for a 3D map of Israel
June 15, 2009 9:57 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a 3D map of Israel

I'm looking for an illustration type of map, a view as if one were flying over the Mediterranean looking east at an elevation of about 10,000 feet. This illustration would show the relative elevation of major land areas in and around Israel. I'm trying to get a better understanding of how the geography of the region affects the politics. A traditional "flat map" doesn't show (for example) how the Golan Heights area looms over the land to the west and that hostile people and armies in that area endanger the safety of the people to the west (in Israel). I want to better understand the rest of the region's geography. Topographic maps aren't as useful (for me, for this purpose) as a 3D rendering.
posted by jcdill to Law & Government (7 answers total)
How about Google earth?
posted by CaptApollo at 10:02 AM on June 15, 2009

2nding google earth - it's great for that (and free!). It's also fun to have it exaggerate the elevation differences (there's a parameter you can set for that), so the mountains look very dramatic.

Apparently Bing has downloadable 3D map software too, but I haven't tried it, so I can't recommend it.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:13 AM on June 15, 2009

Actually, having just tried it out, even with the elevation exaggerated on Google Earth, it doesn't give a great view of the topography.

Plain old Google Maps with the Terrain setting on gives a much better understading of the geography involved with that area.
posted by Petrot at 10:45 AM on June 15, 2009

I know that you are mostly looking for a picture to illustrate the differences, but I would be more than happy to give you a security breakdown.

The bottom line is that Israel is long but very narrow, known as the "narrow waist" and leading to a lack of strategic depth, exacerbated by the PA territories within central Israel (for example, at some point, Israel is only 13 km wide, compared to the 470km eastern border it shares with Jordan and Syria). This has traditionally led to the development of a doctrine which dictates early detection, early reaction and decisive action early on.

The 266 km border Israel shares with Egypt is pretty easy to penetrate. Before the current state of calm with the Hamas in the Gaza Strip, this would frequently lead to what became known as the U-Path, where terrorists from the Gaza Strip would go from the Gaza Strip into Egypt and then back into Israel. Terrain-wise, the area is largely desert and flat, without any substantial cities or natural borders which allow efficient patrol of the area.

As far as Lebanon is concerned, Israel is fairly protected. The sorry state of the Lebanese Army (which leads to it being wildly incapable of aptly combating the Hezbollah) has nullified it as a threat. That said, the enormous Hezbollah arsenal of missiles (which places it in top ten missile arsenals of actual countries, a scary thought considering that it is recognized as a declared terrorist organization) continues to be a threat, not unlike the threat of rockets from the Gaza Strip.

Finally, as you already alluded to, the terrain on the Syrian border provides Israeli with a height advantage which allows easier surveillance and also dictates specific paths which armored vehicles can travel by. Syrian doctrine seeks to overcome this issue by relying heavily on small, mobile anti-tank units.

I could go on for hours...If you would like some more information, feel free to drop me a line.
posted by eytanb at 11:58 AM on June 15, 2009

Response by poster: Is there a way to get Google Earth to give me an angled view, not just straight down? A view from straight overhead just doesn't work for what I'm trying to see.

eytanb, I've been reading up on the political scene and reviewed quite a few maps showing the boundaries over the past 60 years, etc. I just think it would really help to "see" the terrain in context with the boundaries, cities, etc.
posted by jcdill at 2:02 PM on June 15, 2009

Yes, hold down either Ctrl or Shift (cant remember which one), whilst zooming with the mousewheel or the zoom bar.
posted by Petrot at 2:21 PM on June 15, 2009

Response by poster: Google Earth really isn't working for my purposes, so if anyone has any ideas where I might find an illustration, I'm all ears. I'm hoping an illustration of this type might have been made to accompany a news magazine article at some point over the years (e.g. a Time article).
posted by jcdill at 7:52 PM on June 15, 2009

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