# Loading ASC files in blender

I need to import an ASC, which is a Digital Terrain Model, file into blender. Basically it's a matrix of points, each represented by a number corrisponding to his height. What's the best way to do that? Is there anything you know that it's pre build or I have to write my own loader in Phyton? Thanks

• I think your best bet would be to convert asc to something standardized like obj first. – Vader Mar 10 '15 at 16:19
• And how can I do that? Do you know? – BelottiGhilardi Mar 10 '15 at 16:22
• The ESRI ASCII grid format seems to be pretty straight forward (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esri_grid). If you do not have a converter for other formats, I think writing your own python code is your best option. – maddin45 Mar 10 '15 at 16:23
• It's exactly that format, thanks. I'll look for a converter – BelottiGhilardi Mar 10 '15 at 16:27
• DEMs are no supported natively, there used to be a plugin for very old versions of blender but no longer updated. Try converting to a format that blender can read before importing: wiki.blender.org/index.php/Dev:Ref/Outdated/Resources/… – user1853 Mar 11 '15 at 2:18

## 3 Answers

for one of my project i was using this addon: https://sourceforge.net/projects/pointcloudskin/files/latest/download?source=files

it did its job very well - just had to make sure the ASCII data is correct (x,y,z)

I am not sure if its compatible with 2.76a - but once you manage to import the data and skin the point cloud - you can always go for newer blender version.

He has also a CSV import addon - which also comes very handy in this matters.

As for the skinning process: it a bit of try and error process.

good luck

Last year I wrote a simple importer for ASC files (see: this blenderartists thread http://blenderartists.org/forum/archive/index.php/t-357605.html )

https://gist.github.com/zeffii/54d65b86a460605c3d15

code:

import bpy
import time
import csv

A = time.time()

dfile = r"C:\Users\dealga\Desktop\Archive\SU8606_DSM_1M.asc"

getval = lambda i: int(next(i).split()[1])

with open(dfile) as ofile:
ncols = getval(ofile)
nrows = getval(ofile)
xllcorner = getval(ofile)
yllcorner = getval(ofile)
cellsize = getval(ofile)
NODATA_value = getval(ofile)

print(ncols, nrows, xllcorner, yllcorner, cellsize, NODATA_value)

# this will read the rest
verts = []
add_vert = verts.append
asc_reader = csv.reader(ofile, delimiter=' ')

# ni = nrows #? +1 -1
# nj = ncols #? +1 -1
ni = 1000
nj = 1000

for i, row in enumerate(asc_reader):
if i >= ni:
break
for j in range(int(ncols)):
if j >= nj:
break
z = (float(row[j]) / 60)
x = j * 0.01   #   cell x width
y = i * 0.01   #   cell y width
add_vert((x,y,z))

print('done')
print('last vertex:', verts[-1])

B = time.time()

total_time = B-A
print('total_time:', total_time)

faces = []
add_face = faces.append

# generate_edges, i = verts y, j = verts x
total_range = ((ni-1) * (nj))
indices = []
for i in range(total_range):
if not ((i+1) % nj == 0):
add_face([i, i+nj, i+nj+1, i+1])

# do your own error handling
mesh_data = bpy.data.meshes.new("LIDAR_mesh_data3")
mesh_data.from_pydata(verts, [], faces)
mesh_data.update()

LIDAR_object = bpy.data.objects.new("LIDAR_Object3", mesh_data)

scene = bpy.context.scene
scene.objects.link(LIDAR_object)
LIDAR_object.select = True


I also needed to import an ASC file into Blender. I found that the open source program MeshLab could import ASC files and then export it to an OBJ file, which I could import in Blender. Pretty easy actually.