Sunday, 25 March 2012

AgiSoft PhotoScan

I'm impressed by this piece of work by former Birmingham Landscape Archaeology and GIS master's student Lawrence Shaw demonstrating the archaeological use of AgiSoft's PhotoScan photographic modelling software.  This nice demonstration of the software is of rock art found at Al Jassasiyah, Qatar and is compiled from eight different photographs taken from a pole.  OK, not landscape, but I'm very impressed by the fidelity of the model.  PhotoScan can output models derived from appropriate photographs in a variety of 3D object formats as well as those suitable for  digital elevation models.  I for one will be downloading the demo version to take it for a run, maybe at a bit of appropriate landscape, as well as the more usual objects and structures.

Lumion 3D

I've recently stumbled upon Lumion 3D visualization software, courtesy of the Digital Urban blog.  The free version of Lumion produces stunning output and can import greyscale heightmaps (from ArcGIS) and building and object models in collada format, exported from SketchUp. Output is in the form of high quality still images or rendered movies, the free version of the software adds a watermark in the top left corner. 

Above is a great example of the results achievable with the free version, this movie won the 2011 Lumion competition gaining a prize of $I0000 and a free copy of the software.  I have yet to see an easier to use piece of visualization software and I recommend immediate download and playing in time for the 2012 competition!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Outerra and Mirror Worlds

I'm grateful once again to the sharp-eyed Jack Hanson for pointing me, via New Scientist towards Outerra. Occupying a nice somewhere between Google Earth and Second Life, Outerra is a planetary rendering engine, allowing "seamless planet rendering from space down to the surface."

This is an interesting development, a true virtual world, unlike Google Earth for example which as an amalgam of remotely sensed data merely warehouses digital representations of the real world.  I'm put in mind of David Gelernter's Mirror Worlds - there are endless interesting possibilities.

The free technical demo is certainly impressive and there is considerable potential here for visualizing one's own data using the sandbox tools provided as part of the paid for version.