Wednesday, 30 September 2009

GPS Tracks Running in 3DS Max

The visualization of the UrbanDiary GPS tracks has bee a big topic earlier this year. So far Google Earth was used as a rendering engine and the animations produced where screen grabs. A rather crude and straight forward way of creating an animation.
However the process seemed to make sense as the G Globe is working well with GPS data.
Now, a new to for visualizing the tracks has been developed here at CASA. Richard Milton has written little script to import GPS tracks directly into 3D Studio Max. It reads of the gpx. file and creates a spline for the path, a marker object and time frames for each point.
There is still some tweaking to be done with the time interpretation, especially regarding multiple tracks, but as a proof of concept it work.
I have only just put out a crappy clip with 10 tracks, but the machine is working on a better version and I will update the post.
In a next step the idea would be to also import the Virtual London model and start visualizing the use of the urban form.

Image by urbanTick

3dsMaxGPStest from urbanTick on Vimeo.

Music by watermeron on


Matt D said...

I think that this is awesome! Besides the great 70's feel, the viz is great. I think that this type of thing, coupled with some simple land marks, could be a great tool to compare a persons mental map with their reality. The questions that arise from this are huge!

You mention that it will be pulled into a 3D model of London? Can't wait.

fan said...

Thanks for the comment, yes the context will be very interesting... but I am working on it, have to get to grips with the max environment. I keep loosing track of elements, lighting and time frames. I'll get there.

Nia said...

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timclark said...

I think this is great! Currently I am doing some experiments with GPS data in my university and wanted to test this out to see what I can contribute to it. I am not well versed in 3DS MAX and I'm recieving an error which states " --Unknown property: "LoadAssembly" in undefined" when trying yo import a file. What does this mean and how can I successfully import the gpx data? Is there a sample 3ds file to try? I am attempting to import tracks from a Garmin.


john said...

"GPS Tracks Running in 3DS Max" give me a surprise !

Thanks for you article !