3D models with Lidar data
I just spent far too much time playing with a new tool called Aerialod. It's free software that allows you to create 3D models from Lidar data.
If you haven't heard of Lidar, it's a process that involves firing laser beams to measure distance. If you fit these lasers to a plane, you can create 3D models of the ground beneath.
Armed with this new software and the right data, it's pretty simple to create some stunning imagery. My first attempt is of Bristol city centre (bottom right is Temple Meads train station):
Creating a model is a drag-n-drop process, although fiddling with almost endless settings to achieve the right lighting took much longer.
That made me want to push a little harder.
I noticed the Aerialod demo doesn't use raw Lidar, just a black and white graphic. The shading represents the heights used to generate the model.
I grabbed the data for my office in Swindon (Nationwide HQ), exported it out of Aerialod to a PNG file then cropped the image into a circle and added text.
Re-importing it back to Aerialod resulted in this nice little 3D penny of our offices, with duckpond: