[Bf-committers] Geospatial Blender

Knapp magick.crow at gmail.com
Sat Mar 17 14:27:05 CET 2012

On Sat, Mar 17, 2012 at 11:08 AM, Brylie Oxley <brylie at gnumedia.org> wrote:
> Hi All,
> I am currently studying libre geospatial tools such as QGIS and GRASS,
> at community college in Nevada City, CA.
> http://qgis.org
> http://grass.fbk.eu/
> I would like to figure out how to use Blender3D for geospatial analysis
> and visualization. For instance, there is a nation wide survey of
> elevation data, in the United States, called the National Elevation
> Dataset (NED). I would like to take some known terrain data (from NED,
> LIDAR scans, etc.) and distort a Blender3D primitive (such as a grid) to
> simulate the terrain. This would open up many doors such as watershed
> simulation, fire simulation, city planning, game development, etc..
> There are several file formats involved in geospatial systems, most of
> which are already handled by Python GDAL/OGR. I think that my proposal
> is to integrate these tools into Blender3D via the compositor, game
> engine, or some other means. The compositor seems like a strong
> candidate for geospatial process modeling.
> http://webhelp.esri.com/arcgisdesktop/9.2/index.cfm?TopicName=An_overview_of_ModelBuilder
> I appreciate any feedback and/or mentorship that members of this
> community can provide. Would this be a worthwhile GSoC project? Thank
> you for your time and consideration.
> --Brylie Oxley

I did this in the past with Blender. It is not that hard to do. All
you need to do is convert the data to a bump map distortion or normal
map and apply that to a subsurfaced mesh grid Check out Andrew Prices'
video on making asteroids to lean how that is done. I also used Pand3d
to play with this sort of thing. The physics can be done to with the
game engine or other sim tools in Blender. Getting scientific data
back out is not something I have played with but I have seen a
tidal-wave simulation through a city somewhere and a building collapse
done with Blender, so it can be done.

Here is a shot I did using Crystal Space. This is the northern end of
Flathead lake MT USA.

Note date may 2007. It has been a long time and I am sure it can be
done much better now buy someone with the time and skills to do it.

I wrote a short python script to change the data to the data types I
needed for the game engine and I have used the same data in blender as
a normal users (no programming at all).

Not to sure why the others or so closed to the idea, perhaps there
linked tools really are the better way to do. I would not know
anything about those other links or the science use of it all.

If you know the government data format, Blender's data format and
Python, you should be able to pull this off in about 1 hour or less.

Douglas E Knapp

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