Terrain Synthesis from Digital Elevation Models

Howard Zhou

Georgia Tech

Jie Sun

Georgia Tech

Greg Turk

Georgia Tech

Jim Rehg

Georgia Tech


To appear in IEEE TVCG 2007 

full resolution
(75 MB)(pdf)

low resolution, pre-print
(5 MB)(pdf)


Abstract :

We present an example-based system for terrain synthesis. In our approach, patches from sample terrain (represented by a height field) are used to generate new terrain. The synthesis is guided by a user-sketched feature map that specifies where terrain features occur in the resulting synthetic terrain. Our system emphasizes large-scale curvilinear features (ridges and valleys) because such features are the largest visual elements in most terrain. Both the example height field and user's sketch map are analyzed using a technique from the field of geomorphology. The system finds patches from the example data that match the features found in the user's sketch. Patches are joined together using graph cuts and Poisson editing. The order in which patches are placed in the synthesized terrain is determined by breadth-first traversal of a feature tree and this generates improved results over standard raster-scan placement orders. Our technique supports user-controlled terrain synthesis in a wide variety of styles, based upon the visual richness of real-world terrain data.


(40 MB) (ppt)  



   author  = {Howard Zhou and Jie Sun and Greg Turk and James M. Rehg},
   title   = {Terrain Synthesis from Digital Elevation Models},
   journal = {IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics},
   month   = {July/August},
   year    = {2007},
   volume  = {13},
   number  = {4},
   pages   = {834--848},


Video(divX 6.4 encoded)

low Rez (63 MB) (avi)
High Rez (Coming soon)





These data files are generated specifically for Terragen. For rendering purpose, I've embedded the synthesis result in the original data file.  

Terragen terrain file
(3278 x 3278)
(21 MB) (ter)

Terragen world file
(9 KB) (tgw)

Terragen terrain file
(2500 x 2500)
(12 MB) (ter)

Terragen world file
(8 KB) (tgw)

Terragen terrain file
(3800 x 3800)
(28 MB) (ter)

Terragen world file
(11 KB) (tgw)

Terragen terrain file
(4097 x 4097)
(33 MB) (ter)

Terragen world file
(9 KB) (tgw)

Middle Earth terrain file
(3500 x 3500)
(23 MB) (ter)

Terragen world file and texture files
(Coming soon)

Failed Case!
Terragen terrain file
(3000 x 3000)
(18 MB) (ter)

Terragen world file
(8 KB) (tgw)


Software Download

Coming soon! I am working on porting my code as a World Machine Plug-in.


Related Links

PPA : Profile-recognition and Polygon-breaking Algorithm





Last updated on 2010-05-12 17:26:08