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SatelLite Imagery Projected on 3D landscape model

Open Source API Calling RayShader Notebook

The open source Jupyter notebook (access through OpenTopography's GitHub) creates realistic landscape 3D model renderings by using the RayShader library in R. This notebook calls the USGS 3DEP Lidar API and a 1-meter resolution satellite imagery API to produce these renderings. Users can input spatial extents within the continental United States and produce their desired rendering of the input bounding box. These can be used for data visualizations, mapping, planning purposes and a variety of other use cases.


A use case of the renderings generated in this notebook with a Lake Powell 3D-sectional view. Here, the water level line graph of Lake Powell from 1998 to 2021 is brought to life with the addition of these realistic renderings. The power of imagery communication tells the same story as the line graph it references, however, brings a more visceral feeling of change to the viewer. The graphic was created using this RayShader notebook, and the modeled historic water level (1998 graphic) is calculated by bringing the 3D surface mesh into a modeling software and building the new water line and volume. At the end, this is all combined and graphically laid out in Illustrator.

Below are some additional examples of the notebook's renderings from a variety of locations around the country.



Mount Hood, Oregon, US
3D perspective rendering


Mount Hood, Oregon, US
3D elevation rendering

Topic themes and associated terms with a k-value = 3, and 20 associated terms.


The Grand Teton range, Wyoming, US


Crested Butte, Colorado, US

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