I am an archaeologist and I need help. I want to make a 3-D model of archaeological structures that I have x,y and Z data for. The xyz data are in CSV file format. I could also make a shapefile in ArcMap. I would like to try and load the coordinates in but I am not sure if there is a way. If I have to do it manually that is okay. Is there a quick way to do this? Thanks Jacque

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    $\begingroup$ Depends on what format you have this data and how it is stored. Could you elaborate? Please edit your question and add more information.What do you mean by X,Y,Z data, is it a spreadsheet like format like Excel? CSV data, a list of points in a text file, JSON? My guess is this can be easily done, but not directly through the UI, only using blender's API and python scripting $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 22:47
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    $\begingroup$ Related: blender.stackexchange.com/q/27536/599. You'll need some python for this. If you haven't already, you might also want to look into trying something like meshlab for importing/skinning pointclouds $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 23:41
  • $\begingroup$ Related $\endgroup$
    – batFINGER
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 7:04
  • $\begingroup$ It is unclear to me what you mean with "a known datum" could you elaborate on that? $\endgroup$
    – J. Bakker
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 7:28

1 Answer 1


Don't know if you need this anymore, but as another archaeologist who just went through this, I'm gonna answer it.

For importing a point list into blender, you're looking for this add-on: https://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?211735-A-Script-to-Import-a-CSV-File-and-Create-Meshes-(for-Blender-2-5x-or-later). It has multiple options when importing, such as making a line from the sequence of points in the file or just importing the vertices without adding edges.

As it sounds like you're coming from geospatial data, you may need to re-project your data before bringing it into blender. Blender (and other 3D programs like Unity3D and Meshlab) don't play well if your coordinates are over 1,000,000. I work in a projected national grid that has eastings and northings that are all over 1 million and any time I forget to re-project into a local coordinate system before importing, things get VERY wonky.

Another concern you may need to address (that I'm still fiddling with) is the fact that geospatial data uses a right-handed z-up coordinate system while many 3D applications use a left-handed y-up coordinate system. Depending on what you want to do with your models after blender, this may or may not be an issue. It is for me, as I'm bringing each model individually into unity and need them to all match-up with one another.

  • $\begingroup$ Great first answer! And welcome to Blender.SE! $\endgroup$
    – SilverWolf
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 21:21

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