In computer games a heightmap is an image “used to store values, such as surface elevation data, for display in 3D computer graphics”. Without getting too technical, when the developers create the game they usually use a black and white image to determine the actual elevation changes of the terrain. This lets them both easily tweak the terrain using something as simple as Photoshop, and also they can take images from satellites and use that for the elevation data.
The DayZ heightmap is rather interesting. Unless you are in a helo (I encourage everyone to go in the ArmA2 Armory and fly around – have a look for yourself) you can’t really tell much about the terrain as a whole. Lack of a birds-eye view limits what you can see from the ground. You can use this map to plan routes to the north, find out where to set up a base, or look for high ground for your devious bandit activities.
Click below to view the Chernorus heightmap.
Looking at the map, a few things are obvious. Although the North West Airfield is on a high plateau or mesa, the hills to the north and west are much higher. They are also covered in trees, so be careful because someone might take long shot at you from there (would be a tough shot with any gun). The highest general area is the region of Altar peak and Lesnoy Krebet. These mountains are also quite heavily wooded, but the surrounding area is not. In the east, Bloody Berenzino offers very long sight lines on the western approach. Those hills are a bit out of sniper range, but there are a lot of little bushes that provide excellent cover. Keep your ears perked and your head on a swivel next time you make that Berenzino run.