I have a terrain model in the form of a GEOTIFF raster which is from the SRTM (Shuttle Radar Technology Mission) data.

Can this raster data be converted / imported into blender into a triangular mesh?

Can 3D city modelling be done, over this mesh?

  • $\begingroup$ Geotiff are a TIFF file with a metadata tag with the coordinates and the projection added to them. You can open them as regular tiffs if you chage the file extension to Tiff (the geotag will be ignored) Blender does not offer any GIS suport by default. If you abslolutely need the metadata information for your project you might need to convert your information into a format that blender can read natively or use plugins read: blender.stackexchange.com/questions/34307/gis-data-import $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Aug 3, 2015 at 18:21

2 Answers 2


Blender can use tiff images, not sure if geotiff works to but it should work too. Otherwise you had to convert the geotiff to a png or jpg first.

Add a plane (same aspect ratio like your image). Go to the modifier tab and add a Subdivision Surface modifier. Set it to Simple. Add 3 or 4 subdivisions and apply the modifier. Add again a Subdivision Surface modifier to control the resolution of your mesh later.

Next add a Displace modifier and add a new Image or Movie texture there. With the rightmost icon you can switch over to the texture tab, load your image and give your texture a name etc.

Back in the modifier tab you can play with the values a bit (Strenght 0.2 for example).

You could add the Decimate modifier to simplify your geometry - just play with the values, Collapse mode should give good results for terrain models.

Here I found a tutorial wich covers also the geotiff conversion (under "Create Heightmap") http://www.navimationresearch.net/2013/norway-in-3d-part-1/ sorry link is dead now.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Sorry to say this, but this answer is as imcomprehensible to a Geospatial Data Scientist as it can get. The question was clearly about using a raster Digital Elevation Model to create a similar elevation model in Blender. Why should one "play" with values to create a DEM, when the values already exist? Also, the link does not work. $\endgroup$
    – Indian
    Sep 18, 2015 at 4:40
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry but from your question it was not clear to me that you need scientifical correct data viusalisation. You did ask if this data could be imported to blender and I gave you one possible solution. You can learn more about the displace modifier and how it works here: blender.org/manual/modifiers/deform/displace.html - should be no problem for a scientist to work out a solution with this. $\endgroup$
    – ronald8
    Sep 19, 2015 at 17:52
  • $\begingroup$ Blender is not a GIS application so don't expect automatic solutions. Geotiff is not a Digital Elevation Model per se, it contains the georeferencing information: coordinates and projection, data can then be used to position the image in the correct location and geometry on the screen of a geographic information display. Blender knows not how to read any of that, so you'll have to deform the image plane using your own understanding of the geometry and projection values. $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Sep 19, 2015 at 18:36
  • $\begingroup$ A better soution would be to process those geotiffs in some other software that can generate a XYZ grid with the accurate values you need, and then import that to into blender to create the 3d model. $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Sep 19, 2015 at 18:59

I think you're looking for a set of Blender addons called BlenderGIS.

See the BlenderGIS Wiki for a full feature list, but the suite author seems to be focused on accuracy and the tools are able to handle arbitrary rasters, DEM and other point cloud data, Delaunay/voronoi triangulation from a variety of sources, and has tools to assist building geometry accurately from topo maps. I haven't used it much, but the documentation is thorough enough, being a work in progress. It has been developed for over 2 years, by one person and is still actively maintained. Perhaps you can lend a hand with the project?


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