Want to create a high-precision 3D map of your own specific bit of the earth, for beautification in Vue or Terragen? There’s no need to hijack a passing NASA satellite — just launch your GPS-enabled drone, snap some HD photos and use PrecisionHawk‘s free software for drone mapping…
“Using GPS information embedded within the drone images, the software automatically stitches together a complete map, viewable in both 2D and 3D. Free users of PrecisionMapper can create up to 60 surveys a year without resolution or export limits.”
The precise types of 3D models that can be exported is left a little hazy by the publicity, but I presume they’re fairly standard types.
Possibly it’s easier just to sculpt the terrain with reference to a good large-scale map with contour-lines, of course. Or wrestle with some public geo-data sets. But if you happen to own a HD/GPS drone then it could be a nice project to use it to make an accurate and crisply Vue-beautified “bird’s eye view” version of your valley, local nature reserve, cycle-way, etc. Possibly even for VR fly-throughs.