Feature Idea: Representational Skylines

Asked by Jesse Gier on 2011-04-23

Would it be possible to somehow poll existing DEM data to plot a panoramic, two-dimensional skyline for any given geographic location?

That would benefit someone who, for instance, is in a mountainous region - and who could then ascertain the exact time an object would rise or set.

I know such a process would not be trivial - but I think it would definitely enhance the realism. :)

Has this come up before?

  - Jesse -

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Fabien Chéreau (xalioth) said : #1

For doing this we need access to such data, and permission to use it. Do you know where it can be found?

Jesse Gier (jesse-gier) said : #2

Yes, I believe I know where such data can be found. I have used a free package from the USGS for nearly a decade called dlgv32 Pro (http://mcmcweb.er.usgs.gov/drc/dlgv32pro/) which uses data from the public domain - digital elevation models (DEM) (http://rmmcweb.cr.usgs.gov/elevation/dpi_dem.html), as well as other digital formats. This has given me the stepping stone to locate other resources.

Bear in mind that these resources are in fact free (http://www.usgs.gov/laws/info_policies.html), however I am not familiar with the appropriate protocol in obtaining the complete archive of such data.

The USGS Seamless Data Warehouse website (http://seamless.usgs.gov/) provides a National Elevation Dataset (NED) for the continental US at a resolution of 1/9 arcsecond (http://seamless.usgs.gov/ned19.php).

There is also a download tool (http://cumulus.cr.usgs.gov/webappcontent/neddownloadtool/NEDDownloadToolDMS.html) - however, the interface might only be useful for the purposes of obtaining test packages of data.

The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) (http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/srtm/) has collected data (http://dds.cr.usgs.gov/srtm/) which covers about 80% of the earth at a 3 arcsecond resolution. The data on this site is arranged in a text/FTP style format.

SRTM C-Band Data Products can be found here: http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/srtm/cbanddataproducts.html

There is also a Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS) site, (http://mcmcweb.er.usgs.gov/sdts/) which may assist in format flexibility between different computer systems.

additional sites I have found that may be useful include:

The Global Land Cover Facility - (http://glcf.umiacs.umd.edu/data/srtm/index.shtml)

The CGIAR Consortium for Spatial Information - (http://srtm.csi.cgiar.org/)

Global Mapper (mixed, free & for-pay data sources) - (http://www.globalmapper.com/online_data/add_data.htm)

Information from USGS on a great many number of spatial data formats - (http://mcmcweb.er.usgs.gov/drc/dlgv32pro/formats.html)

All the best, :)

  - Jesse -

Barry Carter (barrycarter) said : #3

I'm sort of working on this at https://github.com/barrycarter/bcapps/blob/master/DEM/ feel free to contact me.

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