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€76
pledged of €2,500pledged of €2,500 goal
8
backers
10days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sat, August 3 2019 1:57 PM UTC +00:00.

€76
pledged of €2,500pledged of €2,500 goal
8
backers
10days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sat, August 3 2019 1:57 PM UTC +00:00.

About

Introduction

QGIS is the most widely used open source software for cartography and spatial analysis (see on QGIS.org). We can make nice maps with QGIS – but not the beautiful ones. Cartographers turn frequently to software such as Photoshop or Blender (for 3D modelling) in order to produce that wow effect…

This project aims to implement a novel shading algorithm in QGIS, which will enable us to produce realistic and humanly readable terrain maps. We do have so-called hillshade algorithms in there, but these are not able to render natural shadows. As a result, our maps often have that ugly aluminium foil effect (Figure below). Nothing can beat true shadows, they make our eyes and our brain happy when looking at a map. 

Dalmatian coast (Croatia)
Dalmatian coast (Croatia)

My algorithm is specifically designed for cartography, it calculates the depth of shadows behind and between terrain features (Figure below). We can, then, use these depth values to simulate diffuse illumination where shadow darkness would increase with its depth/thickness. You can find more on technical aspects on my site (LandscapeArchaeology.org/2019/qgis-shadows/) or read on ambient occlusion on Wikipedia.

Project goals

This project will result in a native QGIS plugin, integrated in Processing toolbox and available through the official QGIS repository. I plan to name it « DEM shading »  - if it sounds too boring, do suggest a better name. An algorithm prototype has already been developed and is available as QGIS script (LandscapeArchaeology.org/2019/qgis-shadows/). It is functional, but on moderately sized datasets (less than 1 Gigabyte). 

What remains to be done is to :

  • 1) Integrate the algorithm in QGIS architecture
  • 2) Enable processing of large datasets
  • 3) Test & improve, especially with different data formats 
  • 4) Make proper documentation and tutorials

Stretch goals

If we gather up to 3000 Euro, I will implement the calculation of shadow length as well. This would enable us to crop shadows at desired distances, or perhaps to model light dissipation with distance (I haven't yet tried that one). This extra feature would demand some work on calculation efficiency.  

Risks and challenges

I can think of no particular risk, especially since the algorithm prototype has already been put to use by QGIS users (see for example https://twitter.com/charley_glynn/status/1106530113817141249). It’s mostly the technical and boring part that needs to be done. So, don’t let me get bored: support the project :)

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    Thank you!

    Thank you for supporting this project, and happy mapping !

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    Unless opted out, I will mention you as sponsor on plugin web page and in plugin description in QGIS.

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