I am teaching a Blender class and my advanced students are animating a scene in Charleston Harbor set during the Civil War. Since I am a CAD guy, creating a scaled version of a harbor chart using AutoCAD and Inventor was easy for me but creating a varied elevation was not. I extruded the landscape to an elevation of 20 feet it is flat. I'd like some help finding an easy way to give the mesh a varied height based on the harbor chart shown below. I plan to use the chart as a texture over everything.
You can find the text I am using at http://www.cdschools.org/cms/lib04/PA09000075/Centricity/Domain/81/BlenderBasics_4thEdition2011.pdf. On pages 32 & 33 of that text it shows a process similar to what I have in mind that divides a plane into squares and changes the height by selection and movement of vertices upward. That would work for this but I don't know a way to make an accurate measurement of height for movement of a mesh as large as the one I am using (8 x 10 nautical miles). One can scale an object by typing the scale factor. Can I move vertices up in that manner?
Is there a way you can show me that allows me to paint height areas rather than to drag them up? It would be great if I could add the harbor chart over the land areas as a texture and use it as a guide for changing the elevation of pertinent areas.