GoogleEarth and also "Why is it so difficult to edit terrains the way you want?"

Started by AcesHigh, April 08, 2009, 08:50:10 pm

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Hello, this is my first thread on this forum. I have two questions

1 - Does anyone knows if its possible to export GoogleEarth heightfield for use in other programs? I know that from Sketchup, you can import a heightfield equivalent to your current GoogleEarth view (both programs must be open). And Sketchup can export in a few 3D formats (like .obj for example). Thus I wonder if it would be possible to export directly from GoogleEarth to Terragen via some kind of plugin you guys may be aware of, or if it would be possible to export from Sketchup to Terragen via some common 3D format.

It would be a really good way of aquiring real world heighfield terrains, since GoogleEarth makes it very easy to select the area you want...

2 - I am not finding the terrain editor that featured in Terragen 0.9. You know, the one where you "painted" the heightfield. But anyway, it was not very good. And in fact, I havent been able to find ANY good terrain editor on the internet (tried demos of several of the terrain editors listed on Terragen Resources page). Most editors let you edit procedural features of the terrain as a whole, or edit the terrain as if it was a bitmap, adding (or subtracting) height blobs, cones, etc.

I wonder why there isnt (if there is, please point me to it!) a terrain editor where you draw a line and set the width of that line and the height of the features on that line. But that line wont "paint" over an image. That line (with its width and height) will be the location for example of a multi-perlin noise feature. Something like that. It can have the feature of adding features to the terrain as a whole, but the main thing would be to add procedural generated features (instead of paint like features) directly with the mouse...

Thanks for your patience.


1. it'd probably be easier and more likely to find some sort of way to export the earth into a heightmap instead.  Not sure exactly how to do it though.
Quick googling shows something like this will be part of the process, SRTM plugin:

2.  Have you tried geocontrol2?  Isolines seem kind of what you want. Its sort of a mix of generated and painted.


Google Earth is not actually a very good source of real world data as it's fairly low resolution. I would recommend direct DEM data sourcing, though you may have to convert before importing to TG2 (if you can obtain data in GeoTIFF format then you don't need to convert). is a good, free source.

For terrain editing, TG2 is focused on built-in procedural terrain generation, which is not exactly a precision approach, but makes up for that in part with increased detail and the possibility for planet-wide features. You *can* use the Painted Shader node to add displacements or mask displacement from other nodes, thereby somewhat realizing your "paint procedurals" feature wish. There is a fair amount of discussion about that elsewhere in the forums. Ultimately however, if you need more control, you'll need to resort to a 3rd party heightfield editor. Geocontrol 2 and World Machine both feature different takes on the "line-based procedurals" concept, both are very powerful and have features worth considering. Both can create nicely detailed terrains that import well into TG2.

- Oshyan


problem is that you can only easily find US terrain data...

I want mostly south american elevation data, in particular southern Brazil and Santiago Chile.


The site I linked to has global coverage. Data outside the US isn't as good of course, but it exists.

- Oshyan