3D Climbing Topo

Day 29 of #30DayMapChallenge 2019


Subluminal, Swanage, UK

This is an interactive 3D model of a sea cliff near Swanage on the south coast of England, augmented with the lines of climbing routes. Clicking on the routes brings up their guidebook descriptions.

I used to be an avid rock climber (and I really need to get back into it). Photo route maps (‘topos’) are great, but sometimes it’s difficult to match the photo to the crag if you’re not exactly where the photo was taken, which is impossible for sea cliffs (unless you have a boat).

My idea was for an interactive 3D model of a crag, that you could orient to your own viewpoint. This was the first experimentation with it, and I’m very pleased with the results, but didn’t have time to progress with it.

I flew my UAV one evening after climbing and captured heaps of overlapping photos of every angle of the crag.

Using photogrammetry/structure-from-motion software (Pix4D in this case, I think), I turned the photos into a 3D model.

I brought the model into Blender and drew five climbing routes on in 3D. Drawing a 3D object on a 2D screen is difficult. Trying to match that 3D object to another weirdly shaped 3D object is even harder.

Once uploaded to Sketchfab I could add some annotations to the model, giving each route a number and adding a bit of the route description from one of the guidebooks.

At the time I was an aerial surveyor for Ordnance Survey, so photogrammetry and structure-from-motion were familiar to me, but this was my first time using a UAV for it, rather than being on board a plane.

Now in NZ, I’m a qualified UAV pilot and this stuff is part of my day job.


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