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From LiDAR (3D laser scanning) to UE4 (Game Engine)


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goal is to create a landscape based on LiDAR and use that in UE4 to finaly get a fulldome projection for a planetarium.

LiDAR files (scanned by GEO departments of a country for example) come in many cases with lots of usefull information like the position of vegetation, buildings, water and of course the ground.


These classifications than can be used to feed heightfields with masks and finaly scatter vegetation on the "correct" position.

The screenshot shows an imported *.*las file from Slovenia with 5 different classes.
Right now the website seems to be down.
Anyway, here is a link that shows how to create DEMs from these LiDAR files - and hopefully the website will be back online soon:
http://gis.arso.gov.si/evode/profile.aspx?id=atlas_voda_Lidar@Arso&culture=en-US (currently offline )




The next screenshot shows the progress from LiDAR inside Houidin with ground and vegetation class, converted to Heightfield with scattered instances based on the LiDAR vegetation class points and finaly imported into UE4.



And here the world map of that area (the projection and date are different, so just in case you wonder why it looks a little bit different, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map_projection for more information about map projection):



Here is a first try of importing a LiDAR based HDA into UE4.
There is VERY little erosion to keep the main shape of the LiDAR terrain, but you can see how detailed the shape of the landscape is just out of the box.
The trees are based on real positions (depends on the date the LiDAR was scanned of course).
You can even see streets/pathes and fundaments of the buildings just to show, how detailed LiDAR can be.
Its one heightfield with max resolution  8129 x 8129 (see the UE4 manual for landscapes: https://www.sidefx.com/docs/unreal/_landscapes.html#LandscapeSize ).
Depending on the points of the LiDAR file you could tile the heightfield to get even more details.



And finaly a video running through the forest (its also from the Slovenia LiDAR files, but a part with way more forest since we made an animation with the GPS data of bears. The position is here: Google maps position of the UE Forest )
For fun I definitly wanna build in some animals, probably bears, just to feel the fear of a dark forest (and no, these animals are awesome and no danger to us, so dont be afraid - the chance to meet one of these beautiful animals is extremly rare and we are not part of there dinner plan). :D

Sry for jumping so much in the video, but since there are many micro elevations, the character stucks sometimes ( and to much quake3 in the past :P ).
To avoid that, you could use for example a HF resample and smooth out these little obstacles.



I try to keep that post updated with my progress.

Cheers and thanks for all the amazing help here.



Edited by sant0s81
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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Some more LiDAR tests in UE4.
Gonna write down some experience over the weekend.
Houdini to UE4 rocks, its awesome - but I was facing lots of problems and I think also some bugs that are quite annoying.






Thats a shot facing to the village Luetzeroda near Jena based on LiDAR + historical maps.
The Village is procedural but all the streets are based on the historical data.
With a cheap village generator (WIP, but works really nice for some quick background villages, here is the link: Village Generator ) I scattered points along the streets.
In UE4 the instances than where exchaged with building assets.
Nice is, that you only need one scatter sop and in UE4 you can add different buildings on the same scatter to get some randomization.


Edited by sant0s81
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  • 10 months later...

Hi, Great to see what you're doing here Salomon I been doing very similar stuff for a while now, but I think you got some nicer effects than I've managed yet. Trying out the new world partitioning system in UE5 to get those BIG terrains :) Keep up the good work and please share more 

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