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Create Roads Around Imported GIS Assets

RoadRunner supports a variety of geographic information system (GIS) formats. You can import GIS assets into RoadRunner and use them as a reference to construct your road network.

This example shows how to create roads around imported GIS assets with RoadRunner for an area in Downey, Los Angeles, California, United States. This example uses GIS data obtained from the Basic National Map explorer interface.

The example uses three different types of GIS assets:

GIS AssetDescription
Aerial ImageryVisual reference for roads and surface texture mapping
Point CloudVisual reference and object placement information (trees, buildings, markings, and so on)
ElevationHeight information of the terrain

Download and Import GIS Assets into RoadRunner

  1. Download aerial imagery, elevation, and point cloud data of a specific location. To learn how to download GIS data supported by RoadRunner, see GIS Data Resources for RoadRunner.

  2. Open a RoadRunner project and create a new scene by selecting File, then New Scene from the main menu.

  3. To store the imported assets in the Library Browser, right-click in the Library Browser and select New, then Folder. Alternatively, from the main menu, select Assets, then New, then Folder, and name the folder.

  4. Optionally create subfolders to organize the assets. Move the downloaded assets to the respective folders by dragging and dropping the aerial imagery, elevation, and point cloud files into the Library Browser.

    In this Library Browser image, the assets are stored in Aerial Imagery, Elevation, and Lidar folders. These folders are contained in a Downey subfolder under a top-level GIS folder.

    Library Browser containing folders for GIS assets

    For more details on importing assets, see Create, Import, and Modify Assets.

Set World Origin

  1. To import the GIS asset around a specific geographic position, use the World Settings Tool World Settings Tool button. For this example, the world origin latitude is set to 33.9383 degrees, and the world origin longitude is set to -118.1296 degrees. Click Apply World Changes. The region displayed on the RoadRunner canvas defines the area where you can load the GIS asset.

    Region where GIS assets can be loaded, with the World Origin point displayed

  2. Optionally change the size of the region by using the Extents attribute with the World Settings Tool selected.

Add GIS Assets

After you set the origin, import the aerial imagery, elevation, and point cloud data into the scene.

  1. In the Library Browser, navigate to and select the aerial imagery file, making sure that it has a projection. To check the projection of an asset, click the file and in the Attributes pane, check the File Projection (WKT) section.

  2. Drag the GIS asset file into the scene. While loading the GIS asset, a rotating orange wheel on the top right of the RoadRunner canvas appears, indicating the loading progress of the file. RoadRunner places the file in the correct world and scene position with respect to the specified World Origin. For example, in this image, the aerial imagery dataset covers the top portion of the scene.

    Aerial imagery placed in top portion of the World Settings region

  3. Similarly, to add the elevation files, drag the files into the scene. You can drag multiple files of the same type into the RoadRunner scene editing canvas.

    Dragging elevation files into a scene automatically switches RoadRunner to the Elevation Map Tool and adds the appropriate elevation to the scene, projected with respect to the world origin.

    To toggle the visibility of the elevation data, from the View menu option, select Elevation Map (F5). RoadRunner provides additional options for toggling the visibility of other GIS asset types.

    Elevation DisabledElevation Enabled

    Aerial imagery asset laying flat on canvas

    Aerial imagery asset elevated above canvas

  4. Similarly, to add point cloud data, drag the files into the scene. Check that it has a projection listed in the File Projection (WKT) attribute. You can select multiple files and drag them into the scene. To toggle the visibility of the point cloud data, from the View menu option, select Point Cloud (F6).

    The point cloud data, as shown by the grey dots, are automatically placed in the right regions with respect to the world origin.

    Gray point cloud data covering the region

  5. Customize the point cloud appearance and feature visualization. With the Point Cloud Tool still enabled, in the Attributes pane, set Color By to Intensity. Then, enable Use Custom Intensity and adjust the Intensity Min and Intensity Max values to make the scene more visible. This image shows the difference in intensity when the maximum intensity is reduced from 40000 to 8000.

    On the left, a point cloud with reduced visibility and a maximum intensity of 40,000. On the right, a point cloud with increased visibility and a maximum intensity of 8000.

Create Roads Around GIS Assets

After importing the GIS assets, use various tools within RoadRunner to customize the scene.

  1. To build roads around the imported assets, toggle the display of aerial imagery assets. On the View menu, select Aerial Imagery (F4). Then, select the Road Plan Tool Road Plan Tool button and draw a road over the existing road imagery.

    Aerial imagery with road drawn on it

  2. To match the elevation of the road to the imported elevation asset, in the toolbar on the left side of the canvas, click the Project Roads button .

  3. Use the 2D Editor to view and adjust the elevation profile of the road.

    For example, these images show the road elevation (red) being adjusted to match the imported elevation data (blue). You can also adjust the point cloud data (green) to match the elevation data.

    On top, the 2D Editor with the road elevation above the imported elevation. The point cloud elevation is aligned with the imported elevation except for a few points. On bottom, the road elevation has been adjusted to match the imported elevation.

    To manually control the position or height of the road, in the 2D Editor, select the appropriate road centers shown in the previous image by purple dots and adjust them to the desired height. To adjust multiple road centers to the same height or position, press Ctrl+A and select the points to maneuver them to the appropriate height or position.

Compare Roads Against Imported GIS Assets

Compare the imported GIS asset data with the road network that you created to check the accuracy of road mapping and synchronization. You can toggle the imported GIS asset from the View menu or by using the Aerial Imagery (F4), Elevation (F5), and Point Cloud (F6) shortcut keys.

On the left, two simple intersections with GIS aerial imagery displayed below them. On the right, the same intersections without the GIS aerial imagery displayed.

To further customize the scene, you can use different assets to add 3D models, textures, road signs, stencils, and other data shared by multiple RoadRunner scenes. See RoadRunner Asset Types.

The left image shows the Aerial Imagery view, and the right image shows the corresponding RoadRunner scene. This scene was designed using different tools within RoadRunner to create buildings, roads, parking lots, signboards, trees, and other scene objects.

On the left, aerial imagery of a complex scene containing buildings, trees, and parking lots. On the right, the corresponding scene built in RoadRunner

Create Roads Automatically from HERE HD Live Map Road Data

To automatically generate 3D road models, you can use the RoadRunner Scene Builder Add-On product, which imports and automatically synthesizes 3D road models from HERE HD Live Map road data by using the Scene Builder Tool. RoadRunner Scene Builder requires a separate license.

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