Programmer Used LIDAR To Make 3D London Map

Andrew Godwin purchased his 3D printer January of 2016 and it was the first he owned. We all know the price tag that comes with this machine is not cheap and he also acknowledges that fact thereby he promised himself he would do something worthwhile with his new printer.

During an interview with Gowdin through Skype, he said that he has a fascination with maps thus it triggered him to start thinking about creating a topographical map of the UK. He originated from the southern part of London and he has also lived for while in Oxford. He is now currently residing and working in San Francisco where he is a programmer. It was then he discovered that there are LIDAR data of London contributed by the UK Environmental Agency. LIDAR is short term for Light Detection And Ranging. It is a recent technology used for surveillance and is being used to measure distances. This process is accomplished by using laser light and shining it onto the target. With this technology, the result comes out in very fine resolution. Because of this, it made him think about recreating the map of London in 3D.

Godwin shared that upon knowing the LIDAR data, he was intrigued by the idea of seeing London’s map in 3D. He began printing in the end of January and the entire process cost him to finish on May because of different challenges along the way. The first challenge was for him to make the LIDAR file into a format that can be read by the 3D printer. Godwin said that the previous file contains a lot of noise that the printer cannot reproduce it.

He also shared how he made the entire project which is done by taking all the data and averaging out the points so his version would be a lower detailed version. The heights are then changed to a 3 meter of intervals. The whole thing is then finished using a smoothing that is neighbour-based. The 3D map is another creation of an artist. Other variations can be made such as the London City Illustrated Map which might look handmade but digitally made.