This image illustrates the optimal visibility of the Northern portion of the battlefield from Nicodemus Heights.

Determining the optimal visibility is a two step process: first the location which offers the best view must be fixed, and then what is visible from that location determined.

In order to locate the point with the optimal visibility, we define two special regions: the viewing region, which is the set of points which will be evaluated, and the target region, which is the set of points we are interested in viewing. Since we are trying to determine the visibility from Nicodemus Heights, the viewing region will encompass Nicodemus Heights itself, and the target region represents the area where most of the fighting took place - the Miller Farm. In the image above, the viewing region is outlined in blue on the left, and the target region is outlined in red on the right.

In order to select the optimal point in the viewing region, we apply a special algorithm: for each point in the viewing region, determine what percentage of points in the target region are visible. Therefore, each point in the viewing region will be assigned a value between 0 and 100. In the image above the viewing region is color coded according to these results: red represents the points with the highest percentage of points visible in the target region, pink the next best points, then dark blue, light blue, green, and then finally yellow, which represents the points with the worst visibility. In all, the range of values turns out to be 0% through 52%.

Not surprisingly, the optimal points where 52% of the target is visible are clustered near the peak of the Heights, a little toward the eastern side. A point in the middle of this cluster was chosen and marked with an 'x'.

The second step is to determine what is actually visible from this optimal point. Given the optimal point marked with the 'x', we evaluate each point on the map and determine if it is visible. If it is visible, it gets shaded normally; points that are not visible from this optimal viewing location are shaded grey.

To see what the scene from atop Nicodemus Heights looks like, see 3-D View of the View From Nicodemus Hill.