7/10/2016

Terrain Tiles

 

A global dataset providing basemap elevation coverage, tiled for easy usage.

The Mapzen terrain tiles provide basemap elevation coverage of the world in a raster tile format.

Raster tiles are square-shaped grids of geographic data that contain contain either elevation data in a raw or processed format.

Tiles are available for zooms 0 through 15 and are available in several spatial data formats including PNG and GeoTIFF. The tiles also can be in a raw elevation and processed normal value format that’s optimized for mobile and web display, and desktop analytical use. Data is available in both web Mercator projected and raw latlng.

Mapzen Terrain Tiles are powered by several major open data sets, including 3DEP, SRTM, GMTED, and ETOPO1.

In the past, access to the titles required a Mazpen developer API key, but they can now also be accessed via Amazon Web Services.

Example: Grand Canyon Rendering

Using the titles, Michael Fogleman created a detailed rendering of the Grand Canyon.
 

In a blog post, he explains how the titles streamlined the rendering process:

I already had some Go code that can download and stitch tiles from any tile server into a large image. I stitched together three different sets of tiles: terrarium, normals and satellite imagery. The terrarium data is basically height map data that I used to generate a 3D mesh. The normal map is used to provide higher resolution lighting on the lower resolution mesh. And the satellite imagery is used for color information on the terrain. I used MapQuestOpen.Aerial for the satellite imagery, found on the Leaflet providers site.

Again, the terrarium image was used to generate a 3D mesh that I saved as an STL file. You can see some of that code here. The other two images were used as textures for OpenGL. I used my Python OpenGL library, pg, that makes it really easy to put together simple OpenGL apps. I used it to create the video above.

Visit the Terrain Tile webpage here.

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