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View Full Version : Need Help with 3D Elevation Maps, Modeleling landscapes.



jboudreau
05-30-2015, 01:38 PM
Hi Guys

I'm thinking of doing some landscaping around my property and would like to design it in 3D so I can try some things to see what works or not but not really sure where to start.
Once I have the landscape modelled I was going to use Hurleys Advanced Placement plugin to populate it with shrubs, foliage, trees etc.

I was hoping to get a 3D elevation map/file etc of my property (Does anyone know where to get something like this) or does anyone know what I would need to do
to start modeling my land elevation. I was thinking I could take a picture and model on top of that but that turns out to be more difficult than I thought it would be.

Could someone please point me in the right direction, Steps I would need to do to accomplish this. Programs that would help etc, Tips Tricks, Tutorial anything

Thanks
Jason

m.d.
05-30-2015, 02:17 PM
you looking for a DEM....digital elevation model of your land?

Being in Canada you are limited to resolution....I think the Canadian geographic stuff is 10 meter resolution...1 height sample every 33ft...its described in arc seconds on the Canadian sites

Our US friends have resolution as low as 1 meter in some locations

So if it just your backyard a DEM is almost useless....if you have a lot of land more practical

http://geogratis.gc.ca/site/eng/extraction

then you will need a way to import this GEO
http://www.digitalcarversguild.com/plugin.php?ProductId=7

or conversely you can use terragen to import the terrain.

SteveH
05-30-2015, 02:26 PM
You can get terrain out of Sketch UP and Google earth. It works pretty well, is really easy - although perhaps not as detailed as you need. Here are a couple of sites for DEMS and terrain

https://store.intermap.com/MapShop.aspx?GeoLocation=World
http://msrmaps.com/image.aspx?T=1&S=13&Z=13&X=275&Y=2479&W=1
http://www.usgsquads.com/index.php
https://www.digitalglobe.com/

m.d.
05-30-2015, 02:27 PM
just checked the resource link I sent you....looks like those are 20 meter samples....so 1 elevation point every 66ft

I have found 10 and even 5 meter Canadian topo stuff before....but that is about the best you can expect......even 5 meter will be very hard to find

m.d.
05-30-2015, 02:46 PM
the best and easiest for the US is the national map viewer
http://viewer.nationalmap.gov/viewer/

jboudreau
05-30-2015, 07:11 PM
Thanks guys for all you help on this.

looks like DEM files are not the way to go since they are so far away 20-30m. Wish I lived in the US haha

what about modelling the terrain, any suggestions, what would be the best approach?

Steve: Do you need Google Earth pro or will the free version work?

Thanks
Jason

SteveH
05-30-2015, 07:32 PM
I use Google Earth Pro to get high res images to map to the terrain. The terrain though comes from Sketch Up. Sorry my previous reply was kind of confusing as to what program does what.

jboudreau
05-30-2015, 07:52 PM
I use Google Earth Pro to get high res images to map to the terrain. The terrain though comes from Sketch Up. Sorry my previous reply was kind of confusing as to what program does what.

okay so you model in skethcup on top of the high res image you get from google. Or does sketchup extract the data some how from google earth.

I saved the high res image but not sure where to go from there

Thanks
Jason

m.d.
05-30-2015, 08:21 PM
Just remember....googles terrain resolution is slightly better then 90meter....

1 sample every 270 feet...

The DEM's I pointed you to are 20m.....but you have to jump through either a plugin or Terragen to get it into LW

jboudreau
05-30-2015, 08:48 PM
Just remember....googles terrain resolution is slightly better then 90meter....

1 sample every 270 feet...

The DEM's I pointed you to are 20m.....but you have to jump through either a plugin or Terragen to get it into LW

Oh okay,

I'm on the site now and can't figure out how to download the data. It looks like I am in 11D13 on the NTS Grid

How would I download this?

Thanks,
Jason

lertola2
05-30-2015, 09:13 PM
Also once you have your DEM file you can use Qgis to view and edit it. http://www.qgis.org/en/site/ Qgis is an open source gis mapping program. You can use the the Clipper command to crop the DEM to the latitude/longitude boundaries of your property and save a grayscale .tiff file to use as a displacement map in Lightwave.

m.d.
05-30-2015, 10:17 PM
Also once you have your DEM file you can use Qgis to view and edit it. http://www.qgis.org/en/site/ Qgis is an open source gis mapping program. You can use the the Clipper command to crop the DEM to the latitude/longitude boundaries of your property and save a grayscale .tiff file to use as a displacement map in Lightwave.

cool....

I looked at this before but the website wasn't too telling...and it looked complicated

is it saving 16bit .tiff's ?

The beauty of using the ground control plugin, is being able to scale based on real world scales....I beta'd that workflow with the developer (as long as it is in the metadata)

Basically you import and decide what scale you want to work with 1/10 1/100 etc...or real world...and you have high rez geo native in LW....I do like displacements, and ground control includes that as well...
With displacements...you would need to scale using a mountain or something with a known height

But what it doesn't do is drape geo-sat images over the terrain...the old 3dem and terragen would....and it has no knowledge of UTM projection

Might be easier if Qgis can crop and overlay the sat images over using UTM projection

- - - Updated - - -


Oh okay,

I'm on the site now and can't figure out how to download the data. It looks like I am in 11D13 on the NTS Grid

How would I download this?

Thanks,
Jason

site is down right now....cant check sorry

m.d.
05-30-2015, 10:31 PM
3dem used to be the old standard...
you can still get it and very easy to use

http://www.visualizationsoftware.com/3dem

the only displacement exports are geoTIFF and 8bit BMP's
it does export geoTIFF...unfortunately I dont know a way to translate that to photoshop without pullSTS script which is impossible to find...and of course lightwave wont load it.

You can export a terragen terrain with draped sat images which can be loaded into LW through ground control, and it features clipping and joining of maps

m.d.
05-30-2015, 10:36 PM
just tried QGIS....using the save as on a DEM resulted in an 8 bit TIFF

unless I am missing something which is very likely....

that is only 256 height samples....not very good for terrain, make for some very round mountains

SteveH
05-30-2015, 11:10 PM
Sketch up can capture terrain on a 20 foot grid - which is pretty good depending on how large an area you are needing.
Here's a tutorial on how to do it. I haven't watched it myself but it looked like it shows the steps.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y22kYRnsuus

m.d.
05-31-2015, 12:22 AM
Sketchup uses the google earth data, which is comparable to 90m resolution....can be slightly better or worse depending on the location...probably averaging better than 90
http://iopscience.iop.org/1755-1315/18/1/012065/pdf/1755-1315_18_1_012065.pdf


so for a 20ft grid your height samples would be 1 for every 13 20 ft grids...unless you get it right on the border or something. It will interpolate between of course

but wow...dead simple to use...no arguing that....for bigger stuff that is pretty nifty. I will probably use it after seeing that video. All depends on your scene scale

erikals
05-31-2015, 03:26 AM
you checked this one from Larry Schultz, right ?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXfe3xizdnE

prometheus
05-31-2015, 06:44 AM
not directly related to the landscape topic but with Lighwave and sketchup...hereīs the ol sketchup exporter written by Alex Young

Can anyone with the latest sketchup builds (standard version) verify that it works? Im still on version 8.0.3117 and I donīt want to mess with a new installation if this exporter donīt work with the new one.

Here it is...

jboudreau
05-31-2015, 08:08 AM
Hi Guys

Thanks for all your help on this really appreciate it. Love this community. Lots to look into here. I'll keep you posted on how I make out

Checking out the Sketchup tutorial and the larry shultz tuturial now.

Thanks again
Jason

SteveH
05-31-2015, 08:14 AM
One tip when getting terrain from Sketch up - the closer in you zoom the smaller the mesh. If you are zoomed out to get a quarter mile area the mesh will be very large - but zoomed in close - like I said you can get it down to 20 feet or so. I always try to capture detailed mesh at my site, then a little farther zoomed out surrounding that mesh - then even further zoomed out for the outside polygons. Once you delete overlapping polys - then you can eventually map the high res Google Earth images to it.

lertola2
05-31-2015, 09:21 AM
just tried QGIS....using the save as on a DEM resulted in an 8 bit TIFF

unless I am missing something which is very likely....

that is only 256 height samples....not very good for terrain, make for some very round mountains
Qgis does exports elevation at what ever bit depth the imported data is. I have gotten 16 bit and 32 bit tiff files out of it. Yes if you use the Save As Image command the file will be 8 bit RGB. But if you right click on the layer you can use the Save As... command to save the DEM as a Tiff file with the same bit depth as the source file. Also in low lying coastal areas 8 bit dems might be fine as there would be no values greater than 256.

I only use Qgis to merge DEM files and export Tiff files to use as displacement maps in Lightwave but it will do a lot of what you could do with ESRI's ArcGis programs. Here are two tips: Use the Raster:Miscellaneous:Build Virtual Raster command to combine several DEMs into one. Then use the Raster:Extraction:Clipper command to crop and export a Tiff file with specific boundaries.

jboudreau
05-31-2015, 11:54 AM
you checked this one from Larry Schultz, right ?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXfe3xizdnE

Hi Guys

I'm trying what Larry Shultz does in his video above but I don't see a toggle terrain button in sketchup 2015 pro. Does anyone know why or where I can find that button?

UPDATE:

For those of you that aren't aware, The toggle terrain button that use to be on the top bar has been replaced with the show terrain button. It can be loacated under File/Geolocations/Show Terrain

Thanks
Jason

SteveH
05-31-2015, 12:11 PM
I'm trying what Larry Shultz does in his video above but I don't see a toggle terrain button in sketchup 2015 pro. Does anyone know why or where I can find that button?


Go to File>Geo-Location>Show terrain

jboudreau
05-31-2015, 12:29 PM
Go to File>Geo-Location>Show terrain

Thanks,

I had just updated my post when you wrote

Thanks
Jason

m.d.
05-31-2015, 12:40 PM
Qgis does exports elevation at what ever bit depth the imported data is. I have gotten 16 bit and 32 bit tiff files out of it. Yes if you use the Save As Image command the file will be 8 bit RGB. But if you right click on the layer you can use the Save As... command to save the DEM as a Tiff file with the same bit depth as the source file. Also in low lying coastal areas 8 bit dems might be fine as there would be no values greater than 256.

I only use Qgis to merge DEM files and export Tiff files to use as displacement maps in Lightwave but it will do a lot of what you could do with ESRI's ArcGis programs. Here are two tips: Use the Raster:Miscellaneous:Build Virtual Raster command to combine several DEMs into one. Then use the Raster:Extraction:Clipper command to crop and export a Tiff file with specific boundaries.


Cool...thanks for the tips.

I will definitely be playing with this more, i suppose it can assign geo imagery draped over displacements as well? That would be the holy grail outside of terragen pro

prometheus
06-04-2015, 07:59 AM
No one responded to my help request, if someone could be so kind to check the lwo exporter I posted here in google sketchup make 2015 and see if it works?
it is attached in my previous post, tested sketchup installed on not my computer but I donīt have admin rights so I canīt mess around with installing the plugin in the sketchup folder.

jwiede
06-04-2015, 08:07 AM
No one responded to my help request, if someone could be so kind to check the lwo exporter I posted here in google sketchup make 2015 and see if it works?
it is attached in my previous post, tested sketchup installed on not my computer but I donīt have admin rights so I canīt mess around with installing the plugin in the sketchup folder.

I have SUPro2015 installed at work (BTW, it isn't Google SU anymore, SU now belongs to Trimble), and will try to remember to give it a try this afternoon.

SteveH
06-04-2015, 08:34 AM
Sorry - I couldn't get it installed. I put the folder in several places (Sketchup doesn't have a "plugins" folder any longer). When I run Sketchup and go to windows>preferences
Basic LWO exporter doesn't show. I also tried installing as an exporter but it looks for a *.rbz file - and what is in the zip file is a .rb file.
If John or someone else figures it out let us know. I always obj out - but straight to Lightwave would be great.

SteveH
06-04-2015, 08:56 AM
Small update - I put the two files (export.rb and lwo_export.rb) in the tools folder. When Sketchup loads you now get an error that says there is an undefined method when loading export.rb
I clicked 'ok' and then went to Windows>preferences and the basic LWO exporter was there - and even though I checked the box - when I went to file>export 3d model - lwo wasn't an option.
Bummer.....

daforum
06-04-2015, 09:47 AM
Did you tick the box in 'Extensions'?
Also, the lwo export option should be at the bottom of 'Tools' in the Menu Bar.

Hope it helps :)

SteveH
06-04-2015, 09:49 AM
Yes I did click the box in extensions.
lwo export does not show up at the bottom of tools though.

prometheus
06-04-2015, 10:07 AM
I got the same as you on a work computer steveH, it has no plugin folder so I had to create one, but as for you it didnīt recognize the plugin folder when looking for it in preferences, so I will try something along what you did and move it to different folders.

to bad you didnīt got the export showing up in the tools menu, should say export lwo, not sure if you have closed sketchup and restarted after checking the extension box? if not..try that.

I have to get all admin rights tomorrow on a work computer and mess around with moving the plug in different folders, which I couldnīt do today, if it doesnīt work I would like to keep my sketchup 8 version at home, but at the same time the sketchup 8 version has a broken function where I canīt grab geo locations anymore.

Not sure if I can have both sketchup 8 and sketchup 2015 make installed.

cggb
06-04-2015, 11:29 AM
Hi Guys

I'm thinking of doing some landscaping around my property and would like to design it in 3D so I can try some things to see what works or not but not really sure where to start.
Once I have the landscape modelled I was going to use Hurleys Advanced Placement plugin to populate it with shrubs, foliage, trees etc.

I was hoping to get a 3D elevation map/file etc of my property (Does anyone know where to get something like this) or does anyone know what I would need to do
to start modeling my land elevation. I was thinking I could take a picture and model on top of that but that turns out to be more difficult than I thought it would be.

Could someone please point me in the right direction, Steps I would need to do to accomplish this. Programs that would help etc, Tips Tricks, Tutorial anything

Thanks
Jason

You could maybe try the 123D Catch app on a smartphone? (http://www.123dapp.com/catch) Some people seem to get OK results scanning their rooms, so maybe it will give you a decent enough model to start from. Haven't tried it myself yet, and I'm aware there's maybe some copyright issues about using the generated models professionally, but for a home project it should be OK. Models (with image maps) can be exported to various formats such as FBX, OBJ, DWG, STL and more.

cove
06-04-2015, 03:17 PM
Hi jboudreau.
Just now come across your post regarding landscaping in 3d.
Just thought id let you know that i have Hurleys Advanced Placement plugin.
And ALso have 3d landscape software and lots of dem/.hgt files.
Im still learning Hurleys software but as a test i thought id load into the LW scene a 3d map covering the area of mount fuji in Japan
and see if AP could handle what is a very big file.
Im shore you will be pleased to know that AP processed the 3d landscape succesfully [Object flashes red while being proccessed by AP/took about 30 seconds]. I expected
Ap to lock up and or LW to crash but all ok.
Also to my great suprise i found that instancing/painting some shrubery and a few trees all over this landscape was just as if i was painting on a simple polygon.
I hope what ive discribed HelpS you decide wether to buy into AP.
Regard. KEN.

daforum
06-06-2015, 04:18 AM
I have a "plugins" folder ( no capital P ) and inside that I have this:
"lwo_export.rb"
"lwo_export" ( folder ) and inside this folder is "export.rb"

prometheus
06-06-2015, 08:39 AM
I have a "plugins" folder ( no capital P ) and inside that I have this:
"lwo_export.rb"
"lwo_export" ( folder ) and inside this folder is "export.rb"

And you mean that works with sketchup make 2015?

daforum
06-06-2015, 09:22 AM
I'm with Sketchup 8 like you, and it does work in that version.
Can't see why it wouldn't work that way with Sketchup make 2015 :)

prometheus
06-07-2015, 02:02 PM
I'm with Sketchup 8 like you, and it does work in that version.
Can't see why it wouldn't work that way with Sketchup make 2015 :)


of course it does, since I got sketchup 8 and asked about 2015 not about sketchup 8:D

well you can see that it doesnīt work in sketchup make 2015 according to some tests, none has shouted out that it works, and I couldnīt get the plugin to read at all in the extensions preferences, and one guy managed to get it to show there..but it wonīt list
in the tools menu...so it is still in a lost country wether or not it could work.

daforum
06-07-2015, 02:54 PM
Ah well, never mind :(
I'm sure someone will find a fix for it...eventually!

Might be worth asking over at the Sketchup forum if anyone can do an update.

prometheus
06-15-2015, 03:18 AM
Ah well, never mind :(
I'm sure someone will find a fix for it...eventually!

Might be worth asking over at the Sketchup forum if anyone can do an update.

I did as you guys did, place the exporter in the tools folder ..sure it showed up in the preference dialog for box checking, but as mentioned, it donīt show up in the tools menu and I also got the undefined error.
I thought it was due to using 64 bit, but I tried the 32 bit too, same results...I also cant get windowizer plugin to work.

seems I have to keep the older sketchup, though then I canīt use geolocation or loading directly models from warehouse.

The author of the lwo exporter is alex young, might send him a mail...
Alex Young
All notes, comments and criticisms to alex[email protected]

daforum
06-19-2015, 03:56 AM
Not got my exporter in my tools folder.
See the attachments where they are. They then show up at the bottom of the Tools tab in Sketchup.

Have a go at doing it like this for Sketchup Make 2015, it might work too.

Hope it helps :)

128647128648

prometheus
06-19-2015, 04:04 AM
Not got my exporter in my tools folder.
See the attachments where they are. They then show up at the bottom of the Tools tab in Sketchup.

Have a go at doing it like this for Sketchup Make 2015, it might work too.

Hope it helps :)


128647128648



thanks for testing, unfortunatly I will not be able to test it on those machines that has sketchup 2015 until the end of next month, will try and remember this.

tcoursey
06-19-2015, 02:19 PM
Here is another option for HEIGHT MAPS. http://terrain.party/ Still looking for a good GIS or other method to match up DEM data with good sateleite imagery data. Large areas....

Right now we just screen grab and splice together inside Google Maps...page by page...very teadeous. Anyone with a much better way? We have Google Earth Pro too...is there a way inside there to save large area of high res data?

JonW
06-22-2015, 12:30 AM
Bought myself a Bosch GLM 80 laser to basically measure property to fill in gaps for architectural plans. A laser measuring tool can do height and distance from the angle. Although a bit tedious manually writing down various dimensions to build up your properties elevation. It will be the cheapest way to make an accurate survey within a few cm for this type of environment if you are happy to put in a bit of effort. Or you can pay a surveyor which will cost vastly more to basically do the same job but obviously to a professional standard.

If you don't have your land's dimensions, just start by triangulating horizontal key dimensions and then gradually fill in the gaps. It's not difficult.