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I have found that NVIZ (which is a part of the GRASS package) is a useful tool for visualizing DEM data as a 3D model. In order to install the GRASS plugin (if you already have QGIS installed), just navigate to Plugins --> Manage and Install Plugins --> Get More and install GRASS. Make sure it is checked in your Manage and Install Plugins list! Once you ...
IMO a combination of gdal2xyz.py and triangle and a reconfiguration of the output files of triangle (.node, .ele) in one of the supported text formats of blender or meshlab should work.
You could simply add a dem file as *.tif in blender with the "import image as plane" addon. See this post where you can see how i made some high resolution 3d maps using a dem in blender: -> http://gis.stackexchange.com/a/80842/24809 After loading the dem into blender you can also edit it as you can edit an image.
nviz is not a standalone application, it is part of GRASS GIS, for 3D visualization and animation. If you want to export rasters, you need GRASS GIS (or GRASS in QGIS). You can export DEMs in various file formats, including Terragen Heightfield (.ter), VTK, PovRay, xyz, etc. You can also use Paraview to open the VTK files and export them to other various ...
Blender has a Python API. Therefore, I use Python in Blender and import the GDAL libraries and construct a Blender-native mesh directly from the GIS data. The only thing you need to be careful of is that the version of GDAL you have matches the version of Python in the Blender release you are using. EDIT Plugins: If you don't want to write your own script ...
Never tried it, but here is NVIZ. All you need is QGIS, which you can download for Ubuntu Linux.
Have you tried USGS & GTOPO30 DEM Importer ?
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