Using LIDAR DEM for Real Courses

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linkster
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2022 12:12 am

Using LIDAR DEM for Real Courses

Post by linkster »

Hi everyone! I feel the need to introduce myself. I am 37 and I have been playing LINKS and messing around in the APCD since about '99. Hard to believe it has been 23 years. I have never produced anything in the APCD worth sharing, I mostly just modify and tidy up courses for myself. Even though my most recent project is not complete, I feel it is time to share it with the community.

Last winter I realized that our properties were recently LIDAR scanned and 1 meter resolution Digital Elevation Models (DEM) and Canopy Height Models (CHM) were freely available to download. I had to up my GIS software to QGIS to view and work with these files but the quality and resolution of this data was amazing! After working with DEM files for a while I had a bad idea; the APCD can import .dem file formats. Needless to say it went downhill from there!

Long story short is that I have been successfully able to import terrain models for real courses that are in meters resolution for X,Y and 0.1 meters (4 inches) for the Z axis. The APCD needs to be hex edited to accept terrain imports more than 100,000 verts. I have imported terrains over 1,000,000 verts but the APCD does not do well with that many verts. The APCD works well with up to about 500,000 verts from my testing. Most courses I have tried can be covered in a 3m x 3m grid of verts and stay under 500,000 verts. To achieve 0.1m resolution in the Z axis, I multiply the elevations by 10 in QGIS and then do a constrained Z axis scale in the APCD to get back to the real elevation values.

I am sure many have their doubts that this is possible so I felt it necessary to provide proof. I wanted to make my course designing debut for The Open in about a month, but that project is only half done and with more light in the evenings now real life is getting priority. So I did a terrain for The Country Club ahead of this week's US Open. It has an overlay from Google Earth and enough terrain "painted" on the plot to lay out the holes and make it playable in Links 2003. From this point it is the same to complete the course as many do using the Google Earth elevations method.

Hope this works:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

I gave some thought on if I should share this with the community. Many designers put countless hours into manually elevating a real course plot from Google Earth and I don't want to hurt any feelings. But there is a faster way that produces incredible terrain accuracy and I think the good that can be achieved from this needs to be shared.

Let me know what everyone thinks of The Country Club course. The DEM generated was from 2015, the Google earth image is from 2021, and the course was tweaked for this year's US Open so there are some minor errors with the terrain. However, I was surprised at accuracy of the actual terrain of the course when I watch the hole fly overs from the USGA YouTube site. I didn't realize how many blind tee shots there were for the actual course.
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sagevanni
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Re: Using LIDAR DEM for Real Courses

Post by sagevanni »

That is AWESOME....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It might just be workable to detail the course more. It sure gives you the basic elevations.

I'm gonna play abound with it if that's OK...??????

Sage....... :smile: :cheers1:
If there is one thing ................ummmmmmmm.......I can't remember.
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Adelade
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Re: Using LIDAR DEM for Real Courses

Post by Adelade »

Welcome :smile: and glad you decided to post. As I said in another thread recently, if more courses outside of USA had LIDAR or DEMs available, I'd probably be very interested in diving more into this.

I still couldnt help checking your CRZ out. Quickly panning through the first hole (I think it was the first one at least?) in perspective view and hull turned on, I could for example instantly see how they altered the shape of one of the fairway bunkers, and added a new one, since 2015. I see that this DEM import in particular is 2m x 2m -

(Sidenote: I am kind of curious why it is in meters instead of yards. Personally, metric is my native system, but when working with APCD I tend to swap back and forth between the systems depending on what Im working with. The imperial system has about 3 times finer accuracy in APCD and Google Earth, since a Foot is less than a Meter. In Links, it is actually opposite and the metric system shows about 2.5 times finer accuracy, where it is cm vs inches. My brain is also more wired for Metric, so I default to it in APCD too whenever I dont have a use for the imperial measurements, so that it gets easier for me to "visualize" how much certain measurements "feel like".)

- and results in so many verts that it might not be all that easy to work with (I highly recommend the 'Render > Hole' or 'Render > Selection' feature!). I wonder if it would be worth it to manually simplify the areas that arent in play at least. Im thinking its probably what I would do if it was me (manually with box select and individual de-select, rather than using APCD's own Simplify tool, which isnt the greatest). If only there was some way of choosing different DEM densities for different areas of the import... but Im guessing that is just not possible. Either way, I would love to see more DEM projects being fully realized, there certainly seems to be a lot of potential in it for designers who focus on american courses. And it doesnt necessarily need to be so dense in order to get the overall fairway and rough contours correct.
Finished main APCD Projects: Amedal (own design), Nine Bridges (real course)
Other: Austin, Kauri Cliffs HD. Updates: Whirlpool, Royal Lytham, Royal St George's, Chicago, Chambers Bay
Working on: 2 fictional courses + a couple things...
morvio100
Posts: 124
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2022 10:02 am

Re: Using LIDAR DEM for Real Courses

Post by morvio100 »

Best of luck with creating those highly detailed DEMS...the DEMS is where it is at...told ya QGIS was a great bit of kit(and LDAR is likely the way forward to eliminate the bulk of the grunt work for creating real/highly accurate real courses - no offence to old Johnny Aherne and the other terrific real course designers Glen and co, on here the great majority are superb but Links 2k3 leads the pack and constant innovations need to be made to KEEP it the "leader" of the pack)...love the "the APCD needs to be hex edited to accept more verts...you guys are hardcore...the Linksters need you designer maestros/lunatics to crush the opposition (TGC/Perfect Golf and so on) ... :clapping:..well done to all set on keeping Links 2k3..the premier golf sim...
Last edited by morvio100 on Tue Jun 14, 2022 7:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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sagevanni
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Re: Using LIDAR DEM for Real Courses

Post by sagevanni »

After looking at things, I'm going to keep doing things for real courses the way I have been. I wish there was a way to make things easier.

Sage...... :cheers1:
If there is one thing ................ummmmmmmm.......I can't remember.
Ian Wells
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Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:02 am

Re: Using LIDAR DEM for Real Courses

Post by Ian Wells »

Hi linkster,
Firstly, well done :clapping: .
Your download is very impressive, and to me a little overwhelming.

Can you give an idea of how long and how difficult it would be for a dummy like me to construct a download of a course to the same detail?
You have used one overview ≈1500x1500 yards, is it possible to use 36 overheads of 250x250 which improves the detail?

For a relatively flat course I am unsure if the system would be greatly beneficial, but for a course with greater elevation changes it looks a lot more promising.

I will certainly keep this link for when I start a new course.

Ian
braden1308
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Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:02 pm

Re: Using LIDAR DEM for Real Courses

Post by braden1308 »

All of my courses were made with dem's except for Doral and TPC Louisiana. The thing you have to watch out for with so many verts (Liberty National) is after you add your textures and plant it can make your rendering time long. Especially if you build 3D objects.

Yes I am still around, just not working.
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sagevanni
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Re: Using LIDAR DEM for Real Courses

Post by sagevanni »

Hi Glenn................ :cheers1:
If there is one thing ................ummmmmmmm.......I can't remember.
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Adelade
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Re: Using LIDAR DEM for Real Courses

Post by Adelade »

Royal Montreal, Lärchenhof, and Bro Hof Slott were made from DEMs too?
Finished main APCD Projects: Amedal (own design), Nine Bridges (real course)
Other: Austin, Kauri Cliffs HD. Updates: Whirlpool, Royal Lytham, Royal St George's, Chicago, Chambers Bay
Working on: 2 fictional courses + a couple things...
braden1308
Posts: 318
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:02 pm

Re: Using LIDAR DEM for Real Courses

Post by braden1308 »

Let me clarify, my originals or co designs with Paul Saeman
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