3D mapping with Aerialod (for Windows)

Map terrain, population density, cities + more – from simple datasets to stunning 3D maps with this amazing tool!

What you will learn

Learn what Aerialod is

Learn how to navigate your way around Aerialod

Learn what all the settings in Aerialod are for and what they do

Learn how to map landscapes

Learn how to map high-resolution Lidar data for an urban area

Learn how to map global population density

Learn how to create stunning 3D visuals in Aerialod

Learn how to export high quality images from Aerialod

Learn how to overcome some common problems in Aerialod

Learn how to add 3D text to images


Aerialod is a fairly new piece of 3D rendering software for Windows, from ephtracy

Aerialod is simple, but also deceptively powerful – and at first it can be a little confusing, so that’s why I’ve put together this short, FREE Udemy course. It doesn’t cover everything, but it has more than enough to get you up and running.

This short course is for anyone who wants to learn how to make stunning 3D visualisations of terrain data, population density data, or any other kind of data that varies across geographic space. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be geographic data – you can use it to visualise any raster image (e.g. png files, jpg files, tif files) in incredible detail. In the introduction I even show you what it looks like when I open a photo of myself in Aerialod – weird, yet also fascinating!

Want to make a 3D map of Scotland? No problem. Want to create a beautiful 3D representation of a cityscape? No problem. Want to create a 3D visualisation of population density in a country, or the entire world? Yep, no problem. Aerialod can do all of this, and much more.

To really maximise the potential of Aerialod and render images quickly then you’ll need a high-end graphics card in your computer – like the ones in most good gaming PCs. But even without that you can create some truly stunning visuals – you just need a little bit more patience.

What exactly is Aerialod?

In technical terms, Aerialod is ‘an interactive path tracing renderer for height maps’. This may not mean much to you but, to put it another way, Aerialod is a small piece of software that lets you create realistic 3D representations of real-world things like mountains and cities, or visualise patterns of human population such as population density. You could also visualise things like weather (e.g. hurricane tracks), rainfall, and a whole lot more. You just need imagination, patience and – usually – a bit of guidance to get up and running.


After the course introduction, we dive straight in with videos on how to use all the different settings in Aerialod. Don’t forget to watch the introduction though – this explains quite a lot. Here’s the basic structure of the course, with each section having multiple video tutorials within it.

  • Section 1 – introduction (background, installation, navigation, adding data)
  • Section 2 – visualising landscapes (using example data from Scotland)
  • Section 3 – visualising cityscapes (using an example from Manchester in the UK)
  • Section 4 – visualising population density (using an example dataset for Asia)
  • Section 5 – The End Zone (extra tips and tricks you might find useful)

We hope you find this course useful and interesting 🙂

Look out for other courses from Alasdair Rae in future!


Introduction to Section 1
Introduction to Aerialod
How to download and start Aerialod
Basic Aerialod navigation
Adding data to Aerialod – plus changing basic map settings
Visualising landscapes: Scotland in 3D
Introduction to Section 2
Scotland Terrain – Part 1
Scotland Terrain – Part 2
Scotland Terrain – Part 3
Visualising cities: Manchester in 3D
Introduction to Section 3
Manchester Cityscape – Part 1
Manchester Cityscape – Part 2
Manchester Cityscape – Part 3
Visualising population density: the world in 3D!
Introduction to Section 4
Global Population Density – Part 1
Global Population Density – Part 2
The End Zone – tips and tricks for Aerialod
Introduction to Section 5 – THE END ZONE!
3D text in Aerialod scenes – what 3D text looks like
Add 3D text in Aerialod using MS Paint first!
Add a 3D border and text before you render a scene
How to save a view in Aerialod (7 to save, 8 to zoom to saved view)
Open multiple map tiles in a single view (i.e. ‘stitch files’)
Why does blue ‘Rayleigh’ show up as orange?
Why do I just see one massive spike?

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