2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 289-5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


MCKEVITT, Dylan J., COUSER, Victoria L. and JACKSON, Emily R, Cedarville, OH 45314, vcouser@cedarville.edu

With today’s software it is possible for just about anyone to easily create Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) from quality geotagged aerial imagery. The imagery used to create these models can be derived from a variety of sources, but it is becoming more and more common to get the images from the flying of Unmanned Aerial Systems. However, it is still most common to use LIDAR or some similar imagery obtained from other sources. Contouring the DEMs is a common step in ultimately creating a detailed topographic image that serves the needs of the end user. Often, the desired outcome from creating a contoured image is a 3D depiction of the topography for rotational viewing on the computer or possibly even printing on a 3D printer. The process of getting to the common 3D printer file type (.stl) may or may not involve expensive CAD or GIS software. And, the starting point for the process of getting to the file type needed for 3D printing does not always need to be a .jpg or some similar type of photographic image. In fact, the process of getting to a 3D model may be shortened significantly if an already existing CAD file such as a .dwg is available for the site, like can often be obtained from SITEOPs Topo Lite free site. In the case of the Topo Lite .dwg files, the topographic contours are shown at a desirable interval of either one foot or two feet. For this study the desired end product was deemed to be a 3D printed model, and the question to address became – How do I rank the printed models in terms of quality based on using drone images versus using already existing LIDAR imagery versus using already existing .dwg files for the area? A printed model of suitable quality is one that reveals the pertinent features that were readily identifiable in the 3D computer graphic model before conversion to .stl. Two very different terrains (study areas) were examined and the same imagery-manipulation processes for creating the necessary .stl files were applied to the sites. A site in Arizona and a site in Ohio were chosen for examination. UAV-derived photos and LIDAR images and topographic .dwg files were obtained for each of the study areas.

  • 3DPrintingLandscapes_GSA2015Poster_final.pdf (3.1 MB)