Friday, February 17, 2023

What's new in TouchTerrain 3.6?

 What's new in TouchTerrain 3.6?

  • Updated the TouchTerrain ReadMe on Github with info about newly added options and on running TouchTerrain in the more standalone mode  Standalone mode is more flexible than the Web app, e.g. it can be used to create 3D models from terrain raster files (typically geotiffs). It is also able to handle data that is larger than what the web app allows.
  • If you are curious, simply run this Colab jupyter notebook (only requires a free Google account). It also provides a gentle intro to using the TouchTerrain python interface.
  • Minor facelift: the URL now leads to a splash screen, once clicked on, will show the actual web app. For most users this should not change anything, however, if you have pre-3.6 URLs to models with certain parameters (e.g. you will need to change them to  this: for them to work with 3.6
  • Added the min_elev option, which will set a models minimum elevation regardless of what the actual minimum is. Usage as a manual setting in the Web app: "min_elev": 500
  • Added a way make the the area selection box uniformly larger or smaller (uniform scaling around its center). At the bottom of the Area Selection group, changing the number from 1.00 will scale the box accordingly. E.g. changing it to 0.95 (and hitting Enter) will shrink the box by 5%:

  • With the popularity of carving terrain models with CNC machines, I reached out to Steve M. Potter, who has used TouchTerrain in this role for a while and has documented his experience as an Instructable (Youtube version): Step 3: Obtain the STL Model of the Terrain. He's also involved in this makerspace: Here's some more info he sent me:

    I have been carving terrain models on a CNC router for 5 or 6 years. I used to spend about a week developing the 3D model from satellite imagery…Until I discovered TouchTerrain. This tool makes the process of creating a carvable STL model SO much easier. It is a simple matter of choosing a place to carve, which dataset to use (I prefer the AW3D30 dataset from JAXA, which covers the globe) and then a few parameters in the TouchTerrain GUI. I go over this process in Step 3 of my Instructables tutorial, and starting around minute 5:35 in the YouTube video. The process is pretty much the same as for making a 3D printed terrain model, but there are a number of additional concerns when carving wood, as well as aesthetic issues to consider. I like to use birch plywood, so the plies end up looking like contour lines of a topo map. For example, .

    I have carved smaller models, 200x150mm, which are good to bring on hikes to help with orienteering and path planning, for example . I have also carved larger models, nearly 1 m across, as works of art to be hung on the wall. These can be embellished with markings for trails hiked, or places of sentimental value, or carved with text to make them personalized. For example, . One can also use laser engraving to add streets or other features to wood carvings. TouchTerrain has a feature to lower the sea level by a few mm, which is good for creating a resin pour on the model to represent water, for example .