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Buildings in 3D!

I recently figured out there's a fantastic addon to Blender which can import buildings from Openstreetmap data. The result is that you can visualize a real city, or augment it with your own 3D additions. The possibilities are endless.

  • download the importer script
  • go to the Openstreetmap web site
  • select an area of a map you want in your Blender 3D
  • click open the 'Export' tab next to map
  • Click 'Export' button below the map
  • find your download .osm map data file
  • open Blender
  • import the .osm data: set parameters, and go!

Openstreetmap is done by people, for people. It's basically 2D vector map, which has a lot of metadata on objects.

The key called 'height' in Openstreetmap data

The metadata associaeted with buildings in Openstreetmap is being used to create the 3-dimensional building. Whereas we might at first be tempted to think that Openstreetmap map data would leave us guessing the building heights, this is luckily not true. There's a key called 'height' in OSM data.

You can quickly create realistic grounds for your fictional or real city. This, in fact, has been a dream of mine for a long time. I kind of vaguely imagined that there would be possibility to do the import, but how feasible? Well, it's totally feasible!

The result to expect of city data from OSM

  • 3D lowpoly buildings
  • typically buildings consist of 6..50 faces
  • real walking paths (walks) will be represented as Blender's "Paths"
  • you can set the vertical scale before Importing. This decides how much height a building will get for each 'level' in Openstreetmap
  • you can modify quite easily the .py python importer source code to change details of the import for your needs

Step-by-step: import Openstreetmap map data

Here's the steps to follow:

  • install the addon to Blender (instructions)
  • activate the addon in Blender's menus (User Preferences)
  • select a rectangular area from Openstreetmap web page
  • Export the area from Openstreetmap
  • Import the exported .osm file into Blender

Why?

I'm practising visualizing things and places, for a Teknovelho novel that I write. Wait.. 'a' Teknovelho novel? Yes.

TV 1 begins the series. Do you know h.. ahh. Okay, it's still in Finnish. I hope that I can bring it to English one of these days!

Back to the track: it's somewhat therapeutic to visualize things, compared to the book-writing agony.

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