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Sat Nov 28 15:55:11 2015

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QGIS Crowdfunding: 2.5D Rendering

2.5D rendering

SpaceMouse in Ubuntu 15.04

While preparing some 3D scenes for an exibition I discovered the SpaceMouse by 3dconnexion. A neat device we plan on installing in front of a projected globe. To get it to run in Ubuntu first get the drivers from

3D viz with QGIS & three.js

If you are looking for a tool to easily create 3D visualizations of your geodata, look no further! Qgis2threejs is a plugin by Minoru Akagi which exports terrain data combined with the map canvas image and optional vector data to an html file which can be viewed in 3D in any web browser which supports WebGL. To do that, this plugin uses the Three.js library.

This is the result of my first experiments with Qgis2threejs. In the following sections, I will show the steps to reproduce it.

Türkenschanzpark, Vienna

click for the interactive version (requires WebGL-capable browser)

1. The data

The building blocks of this visualization are:

  • elevation data and the hillshade derived from this data
  • a base map (WMTS from in my case)
  • OSM building data provided by Geofabrik and
  • tree data from the city of Vienna

Load all datasets into QGIS.

2. Preparing the map

Qgis2threejs will overlay the map (as rendered in the QGIS map area) on top of the elevation model. You can combine any number of layers to create your map. I just loaded a WMTS and a hillshade layer. To add a nice tree shadow effect, I also added the tree layer (dark grey, 50% transparency, multiply blending).


3. Preparing the vector features

The vector features in the visualization are buildings and trees. The buildings are based on an OSM building layer. The trees are create from two point layers: one point layer to create the tree trunks (cylinder shape) and a duplicate of this point layer to create the tree crowns (sphere shape).

Load the data and choose the desired fill colors.

4. Using Qgis2threejs

Now we can start Qgis2threejs. The first tab is used to configure the terrain. Just pick the correct elevation data layer. I didn’t modify any of the other default settings.


The second tab provides the settings for the vector data. As mentioned in the previous section, the trees are created from two point layers and the buildings are based on a polygon layer. The tree crowns are spheres with a radius size 3 and a z value of 5 above the surface. The tree trunks are cylinders. Finally, the buildings have a height of 10.


That’s it! Just press “run” and wait. When the export is finished, your default browser (or a different one, if you specify another one in the plugin settings) will open automatically and display the results.
The visualization is interactive. You can tilt the visualization using the left mouse button, pan using the right mouse button, and zoom using the mouse wheel. I found that Firefox used around 1.6 GB of RAM to render this example.

5. Share your visualization

In the browser window, you will see where Qgis2threejs stored the html and associated Javascript files. To share your visualization, you just need to copy these files onto a webserver.

I would love to see what you come up with. Please share a link in the comments.

The state of QGIS Globe

The Region of Umbria, Italy, sponsored 4 days of work to update QGIS Globe for current QGIS versions. Most of the functionality is working again and the globe is now compatible with osgEarth 1.0 up to 1.3. The bad news is, that the globe plugin is not working on Windows with OSGeo4W. It seems that one of the OSGeo4W libraries (GDAL?) is compiled with an incompatible MS compiler version. Christmas holidays are coming…

At least it gives Linux users the possibility to play with the globe using the current development version and do exciting stuff like Oslandia does:

PostGIS 3D demo

Imagine someone would sponsor four weeks of QGIS Globe work!

3D DXF from MapInfo Tab or ESRI Shape (or anything) using OGR

Note:The following post requires gdal 1.8

A lot of times we need to send/use 3D dxf files, we used to use FME however FME is not free or cheap. So I went looking for a free solution.

If you have gdal 1.8 it’s just one simple command line run using, what is becoming my favorite GIS tool, ogr2ogr.

All you have to do is run:

ogr2ogr -f "DXF" {outFile} {inFile} -zfield {ColumnWithZValue}

So in my case I ran:

ogr2ogr -f "DXF" C:\Temp\contourswarwick.dxf C:\Temp\Contours.TAB -zfield Height

I haven’t fully tested it but {outfile} can be any file ogr supports.

and the output:

Top view of contours

Top view of contour layer

Contours side view

The side view of the above image.

In the words of, the not so great, Charlie Sheen. WINNING!

Happy mapping :D

Filed under: MapInfo, Open Source Tagged: 3D, ESRI, gdal, gis, mapinfo, mapping, ogr, Open Source, OSS

Real World Mapping with the Kinect (via Decorator Pattern (Martin Szarski’s Blog))

Always wanted your very own 3d scanner? Try Kinect:

Real World Mapping with the Kinect Many people have experimented with using the Kinect for more than just user interaction. One thing that I have been very interested in is extracting point clouds from the device. People at the ROS ( project have gone to some trouble to determine empirical calibration parameters for the depth camera (disparity to real-world depth) here, and Nicolas Burrus has posted parameters for the RGB camera (relationship between the depth image and th … Read More

via Decorator Pattern (Martin Szarski’s Blog)

QGIS goes 3D

Marco, Matthias and me spent three days at the QGIS hackfest in Wroclaw (pictures). There I got the time to work on the QGIS globe plugin and made a presentation of the current state.

As soon as the threading branch (Martin Dobias’ Google of Summer project) is merged into trunk, the globe should make its way into trunk as well. In the meantime you can compile the QGIS branch from guthub to test the globe. Thanks Vincent for writing step by step build instructions.

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