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Aerial Imagery Tool

Aerial Imagery Tool button

The Aerial Imagery Tool manages the import and configuration of aerial imagery files. RoadRunner can import geolocated aerial imagery for use as a visual reference and for texture mapping onto surfaces. Geolocated imagery files can be imported through a variety of common formats, such as GeoTIFF (.tif, .tiff) and JPEG 2000 (.jp2), which contain the necessary map projection information to accurately position them on the Earth's surface.

Refer to the Aerial Image Assets page for a list of the supported file types.

This tool can also be used to import and adjust nongeoreferenced imagery (for example, JPG screenshots).

Multiple images can be imported for an area to provide full coverage. This might cause some of the imported maps to overlap in certain regions. The priority of each image can be adjusted to determine which one takes priority in overlapping areas.

For links and examples about obtaining GIS data compatible with RoadRunner, see GIS Data Resources for RoadRunner.

Import a Georeferenced Aerial Image

  1. Click the Aerial Imagery Tool button.

  2. In the Library Browser, navigate to the directory containing the aerial image file you want to import.

  3. Right-click the asset and make sure that the Default Type is set to Aerial Image.

  4. Click and drag the asset from the Library Browser into the 3D scene.

Note

If the geographic position has not yet been set for this scene, the scene center is set to the latitudinal and longitudinal center of the image. You can change the scene center using the World Settings Tool.

If the geographic position has already been set, but the imported image is outside of the maximum range of the scene, an error dialog box appears and cancels the import.

Import a Nongeoreferenced Aerial Image

To correctly display satellite imagery in RoadRunner, the program must know how to position the image on the Earth. Obtaining satellite imagery that contains geolocation information (by using a format such as GeoTIFF or JPEG 2000) is strongly recommended. For links and examples about obtaining GIS data compatible with RoadRunner, see GIS Data Resources for RoadRunner.

If your imagery does not have geolocation information, it is possible to manually set geolocation information using the following steps.

If You Already Know the Projection

If you already know the specific projection to be used (that is, you have a 'proj' or 'wkt' projection string), you can set it on the file as follows:

  1. Click the Aerial Imagery Tool button.

  2. In the Library Browser, navigate to the directory containing the image file you want to import.

  3. Right-click the file asset and make sure that the Default Type is set to Aerial Image.

  4. Click the Set Custom Projection button in the Attributes Panel.

  5. Paste your 'proj' or 'wkt' string into the text field.

  6. Click OK.

  7. Scale the image by adjusting the Resolution to match the meters per pixel of the image.

  8. Click and drag the image asset from the Library Browser into the 3D scene.

If You Do Not Know the Projection

If you do not know the projection, you can experimentally try different projection values on the file. These instructions apply a Transverse Mercator projection to the file.

These steps enable you to use arbitrary images, such as a screenshot from a separate application. However, the result will not be highly accurate.

  1. Click the Aerial Imagery Tool button.

  2. In the Library Browser, navigate to the directory containing the image file you want to import.

  3. Right-click the file asset and make sure that the Default Type is set to Aerial Image.

  4. Press the Set Custom Projection button in the Attributes Panel.

  5. Determine the latitude and longitude of the center point of your image, then adjust the latitude and longitude values in the Custom Projection window, beside the Use Transverse Mercator At button, to match.

  6. Click Use Transverse Mercator At. Then, click OK.

  7. Scale the image by adjusting the Resolution to match the meters per pixel of the image.

  8. Click and drag the image asset from the Library Browser into the 3D scene.

Remove an Aerial Image

  1. Click the Aerial Imagery Tool button.

  2. Click the aerial image you want to delete. The selected image is highlighted with a red bounding box.

  3. Press the Delete key or select Edit > Delete from the Main Menu.

Adjust the Resolution of the Loaded Aerial Imagery

  1. Click the Aerial Imagery Tool button.

  2. Under the Global Aerial Imagery Settings in the Attributes Panel, adjust the Meters Per Texel value as desired.

Adjust the Properties of an Aerial Image

  1. Click the Aerial Imagery Tool button.

  2. Click the aerial image you want to edit.

  3. Adjust the aerial image attributes as desired through the Attributes Panel.

Note

When more than one aerial image overlaps at a location, the system needs to decide which one to use. Selecting an aerial image and clicking the Push to bottom or Bring to top buttons in the Attributes Panel adjusts a particular image's priority to resolve overlaps.

Assign an Aerial Imagery Material to a Surface

By default, aerial imagery is displayed only as a visual reference. You can optionally apply the aerial imagery to terrain surfaces by creating a new material and applying it to the surfaces.

Create a New Material

  1. Click the Aerial Imagery Tool button. The global aerial imagery settings appear in the Attributes Panel.

  2. Press the Generate Material button in the Attributes Panel.

This action generates a new image file called "Overlay.png" and a new material file called "Overlay.rrmtl" inside the current directory within the Library Browser. It is necessary for the system to create a new image because the original aerial imagery might be in an incompatible projection or made up from multiple separate images. The Generate Material operation combines the multiple aerial images into one final image that can be mapped orthographically to the terrain surface.

Assign the Material to One or More Surfaces

  1. Click the Surface Tool button.

  2. Click and drag the material to assign it to a surface.

Toggle Display of Aerial Imagery

Select View > Aerial Imagery on the Main Menu or press the F4 key.

Tips for Aerial Images in Large Areas

RoadRunner renders aerial images with a single texture image. In some cases, the size of the texture exceeds the maximum size supported by the graphics card and the imagery fail to render. This situation can be accompanied by an error message similar to this one:

ERROR: Unable to load overlay: Max byte count exceeded. Max: 16k x 16k texels with 4 channels.

Here are a few tips that can help with handling imagery of large areas.

Ensure Your Workspace Size Is No Larger Than Needed

The portion of the image that is loaded is determined by the Workspace and World Origin settings in the World Settings Tool. Ensure that your workspace covers only your area of interest.

In particular, if you georeferenced your scene by dragging an Aerial Image Asset into the scene, the scene is centered on the middle of the image. If you care only about a portion of the scene in the corner of the image, do not just increase the workspace extents. Instead, try one of the following:

  • Set your latitudinal and longitudinal center of interest (using the World Settings Tool) before dragging in the aerial image.

  • Move the workspace to the center of interest (using the World Settings Tool) and then adjust the extents to cover the area of interest. Imagery is loaded only within the workspace extents.

Decrease the Imagery Sampling Rate

The Meters Per Texel option in the Aerial Imagery Tool controls the sampling rate of the imagery. Increase this value to enable viewing of larger areas at the expense of lower image quality.

Adjust the Workspace as You Work

If you have high-resolution imagery and want to create a large area, you can adjust the workspace based on the current area you are working on. For example, you can adjust the workspace to cover the northwest portion of your area when you need to edit the northwest area. Then, you can adjust the workspace again when you need to work on the northeast area.

If you use this approach, be sure to increase the workspace to cover your entire area when you export.