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Resurgam.
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122 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
6 years ago, I had an idea to create a tool that could aid preppers in choosing their ideal Bug Out Location. After much work, revision, and feedback from this community, I proudly presented my BOL Mapping Tool. While it would only serve as a fun mental exercise for me, the hope was that others in this community might actually find the data useful. 6 years later, thanks to a member of this community who contacted me, I am reposting the tool with a few updates, functional links, and some additional analysis. Here's hoping that it continues to be a useful asset to those who find it.

BOL Mapping Tool v3
Using a base map of the US, I have overlayed maps of various criteria in a Photoshop document linked below. Criteria are sorted into layer folders for easy navigation. Users can easily black out areas of the US that don’t fit their preferred criteria. Below, I’ll list each map I have so far as well as a description of how the layers are broken up. For those of you who don't have Photoshop, you can download The Gimp for free and open the file there.

Download The BOL Mapping Tool v3 Here

Population Zones - Population Density
Sample
First up is Population Density. General consensus is that a proper BOL should be in a relatively remote area. Cities and metropolitan earea make for a terrible BOL. This series of layers breaks down the US by a county's population density. There are 7 layers with various population density ranges from under 1 person per square mile up to over 3000 persons per square mile.

Population Zones - Top 25 Cities
Sample
Next we have the top 25 most populous cities in the US. Similar to the last set of maps, the goal here is to avoid large population areas. Layers exist for 10, 50, 150, and 300 mile radii from the city center. The 150-mile and 300-mile radii loosely correspond to how far a family could drive from the city on a half tank and full tank of gas. If there were to be a mass exodus of people from these areas, you may want your BOL outside of the standard driving distance. Alternatvely, maybe you WANT to be within 1 tank of gas of a city. While I haven't done so, you could create an inverse layer to show what your options are.

Population Zones - Gang Presence
Sample
Gang presence may correlate to increased violent crime. This series of maps includes 6 layers for various magnitudes of gang presence within a specific county.

Population Zones - Major Highways
Sample
Movement during a disaster (and therefore population) may be heavily centered around our highway systems. This set of 6 layers includes 5 and 10-mile buffers around the Eisenhower Interstate Highay System, STRAHNET, and other significant NHS routes.

Climate - Annual Precipitation
Sample
Annual precipitation has an effect on farming, solar power generation, or could just be a personal preference. Regardless of your reasoning, this series of layers break down annual rainfall in inches into 14 distinct ranges.

Climate - Hardiness Zones
Sample
Whether it's farming or general temperature range, hardiness zones should play a vital role in selection of a BOL. 8 layers are included to cover zones 2-10

Natural Disasters - Peak Ground Acceleration
Sample
While not a perfect connection, I have used peak ground acceleration to fill in for earthquake prone areas as the destructive force of earthquakes is tied to the rapid acceleration/deceleration of the ground. For those interested, this is based off of a return period of 2% in 50 years. There are 15 layers, which is probably overkill.

Rules and Regulations - Personal and Economic Freedom
Sample
From a single study, you get the next 3 sets of layers. Titled Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom, this study sought to index the freedoms a citizen of a given state has. One set of layers covers personal freedom, another set covers economic freedom, and the last set uses a combined overall ranking. The study contains an analysis for each state should you want some insight into the ratings.

Nuclear Facilities - Nuclear Power Plants
Sample
A personally-generated map of the location of each nuclear power plant within the US using the List of Nuclear Reactor Units by the NRC. Layers include 10, 20, 50, and 150-mile radii from each reactor. Maybe you think nuclear faciities will be targets. Maybe you think they will melt down in a disaster scenario. Regardless, you have options here at your disposal.

Sample Map
Sample
Here is a sample map generated using this tool. The result: if I were looking for a good location for a BOL for myself and my family, I should be looking somewhere around Iowa and Missouri.

Placeholders
Sadly, I don't have all the time in the world to dedicate to updating and adding to this file. I may get around to it eventually, but in the meantime, I have several placeholder folders for my to-do list of additions:
Tornado Prone Areas
Hurricane Prone Areas
Volcano Prone Areas
Wildfire Prone Areas
Drought Prone Areas
Nuclear Material Storage Areas
Nuclear Submarine Bases

As always, comments and suggestions are appreciated, so I can add them to the ever-growing list of improvements.
 

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[96] wks to off-grid esc
Joined
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1,542 Posts
Sorry this has not gotten more interest here, but most of us are not quite tech savvy enough to just trust and click download or executable links on the interweb. Could you explain a bit more about the mapping tool. Is it a stand alone downloaded program with all those layers included or something we'd be accessing in the cloud? or is it something like a kml or kmz file for google earth or a GIS layer in Arc? I guess I'm asking if you could explain what happens when we click one of your links.

I do have an interest in seeing the results for my location, I've thought long and hard about the many elements you've included and feel like I've picked the ideal spot, but would be really curious to see what I may have missed in that assessment.

At the same time, I'm not sure to what extent I want my information available to be captured by someone else on the web, do you have an offline version available on disk or USB? Also, is there a potential for this to be a mobile App for use on an Ipad? Maybe some JPGs posted might help explain this to folks and get more interest.

I assume my use of computer vernacular here is probably at least a half-bubble off, I am not a techie, just trying with my limited vocabulary to explain the context of my misgivings and hoping you can further explain to me and others what you've got, and why, and how we would be affected before we click on anything.

thanks for the effort and the post.

(edit- So sorry, I see clearly this is a photoshop doc now, not familiar with Gimp, will have to study further. Much of what I wrote here still applies I think).

(edit: Also would love to have these layers in Google Earth or ArcView If that's possible.)
 

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Registered
Joined
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2,990 Posts
Most of the said data can be had from the various RGIS sites and various third party and gov. sources.

Plastering them together is simple in an ArcGIS online account.

Granted most are not that savvy with cartographic aspects and terms, but more power to those who can do it.
 

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Homesteader
Joined
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2,571 Posts
6 years ago, I had an idea to create a tool that could aid preppers in choosing their ideal Bug Out Location. After much work, revision, and feedback from this community, I proudly presented my BOL Mapping Tool. While it would only serve as a fun mental exercise for me, the hope was that others in this community might actually find the data useful. 6 years later, thanks to a member of this community who contacted me, I am reposting the tool with a few updates, functional links, and some additional analysis. Here's hoping that it continues to be a useful asset to those who find it.

BOL Mapping Tool v3
Using a base map of the US, I have overlayed maps of various criteria in a Photoshop document linked below. Criteria are sorted into layer folders for easy navigation. Users can easily black out areas of the US that don’t fit their preferred criteria. Below, I’ll list each map I have so far as well as a description of how the layers are broken up. For those of you who don't have Photoshop, you can download The Gimp for free and open the file there.

Download The BOL Mapping Tool v3 Here

Population Zones - Population Density
Sample
First up is Population Density. General consensus is that a proper BOL should be in a relatively remote area. Cities and metropolitan earea make for a terrible BOL. This series of layers breaks down the US by a county's population density. There are 7 layers with various population density ranges from under 1 person per square mile up to over 3000 persons per square mile.

Population Zones - Top 25 Cities
Sample
Next we have the top 25 most populous cities in the US. Similar to the last set of maps, the goal here is to avoid large population areas. Layers exist for 10, 50, 150, and 300 mile radii from the city center. The 150-mile and 300-mile radii loosely correspond to how far a family could drive from the city on a half tank and full tank of gas. If there were to be a mass exodus of people from these areas, you may want your BOL outside of the standard driving distance. Alternatvely, maybe you WANT to be within 1 tank of gas of a city. While I haven't done so, you could create an inverse layer to show what your options are.

Population Zones - Gang Presence
Sample
Gang presence may correlate to increased violent crime. This series of maps includes 6 layers for various magnitudes of gang presence within a specific county.

Population Zones - Major Highways
Sample
Movement during a disaster (and therefore population) may be heavily centered around our highway systems. This set of 6 layers includes 5 and 10-mile buffers around the Eisenhower Interstate Highay System, STRAHNET, and other significant NHS routes.

Climate - Annual Precipitation
Sample
Annual precipitation has an effect on farming, solar power generation, or could just be a personal preference. Regardless of your reasoning, this series of layers break down annual rainfall in inches into 14 distinct ranges.

Climate - Hardiness Zones
Sample
Whether it's farming or general temperature range, hardiness zones should play a vital role in selection of a BOL. 8 layers are included to cover zones 2-10

Natural Disasters - Peak Ground Acceleration
Sample
While not a perfect connection, I have used peak ground acceleration to fill in for earthquake prone areas as the destructive force of earthquakes is tied to the rapid acceleration/deceleration of the ground. For those interested, this is based off of a return period of 2% in 50 years. There are 15 layers, which is probably overkill.

Rules and Regulations - Personal and Economic Freedom
Sample
From a single study, you get the next 3 sets of layers. Titled Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom, this study sought to index the freedoms a citizen of a given state has. One set of layers covers personal freedom, another set covers economic freedom, and the last set uses a combined overall ranking. The study contains an analysis for each state should you want some insight into the ratings.

Nuclear Facilities - Nuclear Power Plants
Sample
A personally-generated map of the location of each nuclear power plant within the US using the List of Nuclear Reactor Units by the NRC. Layers include 10, 20, 50, and 150-mile radii from each reactor. Maybe you think nuclear faciities will be targets. Maybe you think they will melt down in a disaster scenario. Regardless, you have options here at your disposal.

Sample Map
Sample
Here is a sample map generated using this tool. The result: if I were looking for a good location for a BOL for myself and my family, I should be looking somewhere around Iowa and Missouri.

Placeholders
Sadly, I don't have all the time in the world to dedicate to updating and adding to this file. I may get around to it eventually, but in the meantime, I have several placeholder folders for my to-do list of additions:
Tornado Prone Areas
Hurricane Prone Areas
Volcano Prone Areas
Wildfire Prone Areas
Drought Prone Areas
Nuclear Material Storage Areas
Nuclear Submarine Bases

As always, comments and suggestions are appreciated, so I can add them to the ever-growing list of improvements.
Not sur exactly how your site works my computer said possible security risk and would not connect. How ever I was playing at this just using an old road atlas. And looking up cities within 1 tank of gas from our location. The shocker came when I realized that for a true city population density that if you drill down a little more and include metropolitan area of that city the density sky rockets. Example St. Louis if city I 2 M when you had metro area it becomes like 4m. Then if you draw a circle around you and out 300 miles you will crap at how many people are on your door step. Not counting the bad apples in smaller near by towns and country roads.
 
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