I am exploring how to convert terrain information (DTED, SRTM, etc) to a 3D mesh file. Collada is preferrable as it is very compatible.

I have read this: Converting dem and geotiff to collada model with texture?

and followed the process of exporting terrain in QGIS using Qgis2threejs, selecting the File Export template, but no .dae file object is created - only several .js files.

I get that broad questions are frowned upon on SE, but I'm not sure how else to phrase it. Does anyone have a recommended method to convert a terrain raster to .dae or other widely compatible 3D file format?

1 Answer 1


You can examine the answers to the Bjørn Sandvik question to find the best open source tool to create a Triangulated Irregular Network (TIN) from a Digital Elevation Model (DEM).

1) With SAGA GIS Creating TINs in SAGA GIS, that can be used in QGIS processing (Stereo Lithography File format, STL).

2) With Python and osgeo.gdal GIS SE: Generating a Mesh from DTM (Polygon File Format or Stanford Triangle Format, PLY) or with the phstl module: Convert GDAL rasters to STL mesh (STL format)

3) With GRASS GIS v.out.ply (PLY format)

4) With GDAL and Meshlab (Automate your Meshlab workflow with MLX filter scripts (PLY format)

  • Appreciate the pointers. I'll research these over the next couple of days and if one of them works out, I'll mark this answer as correct.
    – auslander
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 1:06
  • Unfortunately, none of these are really thorough enough to count as an answer. My results are extremely distorted using PLY, whether I use GRASS, homegrown GDAL script, or even the Qgis2threejs plugin that allows an export of a .dae. However, I do appreciate the pointers.
    – auslander
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 1:16

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