Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find the manual?

There is no manual. We put a lot of effort into making planlauf/TERRAIN as easy to use as possible. If you still have questions after working through our Quick Start and after watching our Video Tutorial, please send us an email. We'd really appreciate the opportunity to improve planlauf/TERRAIN.

Why do I have to download GDAL separately?

GDAL (Geospatial Data Abstraction Library) is an Open Source project by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. While the license permits its use in commercial software, we don't want to hide it in planlauf/TERRAIN. There are people putting a lot of their free time into GDAL and we believe they should get the credits.

Tamas Szekeres maintains a website from which you can download the lastest GDAL builds. Go to 'Stable Releases' and click on one of the two last entries of the first table (win32 for 32-Bit- and x64 for 64-Bit-Windows). Look for the download with the description 'Generic installer for the GDAL core components'. As of January 2017, the appropriate files are 'gdal-201-1800-core.msi' (32-Bit) and 'gdal-201-1800-x64-core.msi' (64-Bit).

planlauf/TERRAIN will look for GDAL in the program folder every time you try to import a raster file via GDAL. You can also specify a folder in the settings.

Why is planlaufTERRAIN2017_Setup.exe only 3 MB?

The setup file is packed and planlauf/TERRAIN will need 12 MB on your drive. Compared to other GIS software this is still very lightweight and it makes it possible to run planlauf/TERRAIN even on the most basic Windows tablet. We put a lot of effort into developing the core functions from scratch instead of using a heavy game engine. Yet, there are things incorporated in planlauf/TERRAIN that other libraries can do much better:

  • Eyeshot by devDept Software S.a.s.: the best 3D graphics control available including great support
  • AForge.Video by Andrew Kirillov: easy-to-use DirectShow control for webcams
  • Bing Maps WPF control by Microsoft: with a Bing Maps key you can get access to worldwide maps

Which other software is able to display DEMs?

You can get an extensive list of GIS software at Wikipedia. From our experience the following packages are most popular:

What are the system requirements for planlauf/TERRAIN?

planlauf/TERRAIN will run on almost any Windows device with OpenGL 4.0 and .NET-Framework 4.5. The number of vertices that can be processed depends largely on the amount of RAM that can be used. We recommend using a Desktop PC with 64-Bit Windows to import and decimate DEMs. The visualization of the decimated models should in most cases be possible on a Tablet PC with 32-Bit Windows (as long as the 32-Bit 1.2 GB memory limit for one process is not exceeded). The table shows the minimum and the recommended system requirements.

Minimum Recommended
Operating System Windows 7, 8, 10 / 32-Bit Windows 7, 8, 10 / 64-Bit
CPU 1 GHz 3 GHz
Memory 1 GB RAM 16 GB RAM
Hard drive 12 MB of free space 12 MB of free space
Screen Resolution 1024x600 1920x1080
GPU Intel(R) HD Graphics Dedicated graphics card with 4 GB VRAM
OpenGL 4.0 or higher 4.0 or higher
.NET-Framework 4.5 or higher 4.5 or higher

What is an XYZ-file?

An XYZ-file is a simple text file which contains X, Y and Z values (in geographic coordinates: easting, northing, elevation). Each line represents one vertex and the values can be separated by one of the following characters: space, tab, comma, semicolon. Please note that planlauf/TERRAIN works with raster data, so the X and Y values have to be on an even grid.

32290000.00 5628000.00 231.07
32290000.00 5628001.00 230.71
32290000.00 5628002.00 230.37
32290000.00 5628003.00 230.02
32290000.00 5628004.00 229.61

What is an Esri ASCII Grid- or ASC-file?

An Esri ASCII Grid-file is a text file with a simple raster format. Instead of explicit X and Y values, only the number of columns and rows, the lower left corner, the grid spacing and the elevation values are stored.

NCOLS 2000
NROWS 2000
XLLCORNER 2693000.000000000000
YLLCORNER 1256000.000000000000
CELLSIZE 0.500000000000
583.72 583.78 583.78 583.75 583.76 583.63 583.69 583.68
583.64 583.48 583.47 583.61 583.62 583.62 583.62 583.65
583.53 583.52 583.44 583.40 583.37 583.32 583.28 583.25
583.28 583.27 583.26 583.24 583.23 583.23 583.25 583.29
583.31 583.15 583.05 582.98 583.53 583.52 583.44 583.40

How many vertices can planlauf/TERRAIN import?

There is a limit of 1 billion vertices for a single tile file *.plftil (but you can use as many tile files as you wish in a terrain file *.plfter). The number of vertices on 32-Bit Windows will be much lower (6'000'000) because a single process can only use approximately 1.2 GB of RAM. On 64-Bit Windows the amount of available RAM will determine how many vertices you can import. The table below might give you an idea about what is currently possible. Please let us know if you're able to import less or even more vertices on your device.

Device OS 32 / 64 Bit RAM Successfully imported vertices
Dell Venue 8 Pro (2015) Windows 8.1 32 Bit 1 GB 4'000'000
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 (2015) Windows 8.1 32 Bit 2 GB 6'000'000
HP Pavilion Slimline (2011) Windows 7 64 Bit 4 GB 30'000'000
Microsoft Surface Book (2016) Windows 10 64 Bit 16 GB 120'000'000
Dell Precision M6800 (2015) Windows 7 64 Bit 32 GB 240'000'000

How many Frames per Second (fps) can I expect?

Frames per Second depend largely on the GPU (graphics processing unit), the number of vertices and the display size. The table below shows some examples for the number of vertices for 60 fps (very smooth), 30 fps (smooth) and 15 fps (not so smooth) if our Level-Of-Detail (LOD) feature is turned off. With active LOD the fps will increase significantly (sometimes 5-10 times higher, depending on the ratio between vertices and screen pixels).

Device Graphics Display Vertices
@60 fps
@30 fps
@15 fps
Dell Venue 8 Pro (2015) Intel(R) HD Graphics 1280x720 400'000 800'000 1'600'000
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 (2015) Intel(R) HD Graphics 1920x1080 300'000 600'000 1'200'000
HP Pavilion Slimline (2011) ATI Radeon HD4300 512MB 1366x768 1'000'000 2'000'0000 4'000'000
Microsoft Surface Book (2016) NVidia Geforce 940M 1GB 3000x2000 7'000'000 14'000'000 28'000'000
Dell Precision M6800 (2015) NVidia Quadro K5100M 4GB 1920x1080 20'000'000 40'000'000 80'000'000

Why does Anti-Aliasing affect rendering performance?

Anti-Aliasing enhances the quality of the rendering because jagged and pixelated edges are removed. To get this positive effect, planlauf/TERRAIN needs to draw the scene at a higher resolution than the display itself and this will put a much higher load on the GPU. Usually, low resolutions (1280x720) benefit more from Anti-Aliasing than high-resolutions (3000x2000).

Which GPS receivers does planlauf/TERRAIN support?

planlauf/TERRAIN supports all Bluetooth GPS receivers that use the NMEA 0183 standard and that can be paired with the Windows device. The table below shows the receivers that we were able to test or that were confirmed by our users. If you have any other GPS receiver that does or does not work with planlauf/TERRAIN, please send us an email. We'd be happy to expand the list.


GPS Receiver Works Remarks
Dual XGPS150A Yes
Garmin GLO Portable GPS and GLONASS Receiver Yes
GlobalSat BT-821 Bluetooth GPS Receiver Yes
GNS Navilock GPS/GLONASS 2000 BT Yes
GT-750FL Bluetooth GPS Receiver No Bluetooth pairing is not reliable
Holux RCV-3000 Yes
NAVILOCK BT-821G Bluetooth GNSS Yes
NAVILOCK NL-8002U u-blox 8 (USB) Yes
Trimble R1 Yes
Qstarz BT-Q818XT Yes

How can I disable the screen rotation on my tablet?

  • Windows 8/8.1: Right-click on the desktop and choose "Screen resolution", uncheck "Allow the screen to auto-rotate", hit "OK"
  • Windows 10: Open Action Center by swiping from the right and choose "Rotation lock"

Why does GPS logging stop when my tablet goes to sleep mode?

GPS logging requires an active Bluetooth connection between tablet and external GPS receiver. When your tablet goes to sleep, Windows will end this connection and no further data can be recorded. You can change the time until the tablet goes to sleep mode:

  • Windows 8/8.1: Click the taskbars' battery symbol in desktop mode, choose "More power options", click on "Change when the computer sleeps" on the left and choose an appropriate time under "Put the computer to sleep" (e.g., "30 minutes" or "Never")
  • Windows 10: Click on the taskbars' battery symbol in desktop mode, choose "Power & Sleep settings", choose an appropriate time under "On battery power, PC goes to sleep after" (e.g., "30 minutes" or "Never")

Windows goes to sleep when I accidentally press the power button on my tablet and GPS logging stops. What can I do?

You can disable the power button (holding the power button will still shut down the PC):

  • Windows 8/8.1: Click the taskbars' battery symbol in desktop mode, choose "More power options", click on "Choose what the power button does" on the left and choose "Do nothing" for "When I press the power button", hit "Save changes"
  • Windows 10: Click on the taskbars' battery symbol in desktop mode, choose "Power & Sleep settings", go to "Additional power settings" on the bottom of the page, click on "Choose what the power button does" on the left and choose "Do nothing" for "When I press the power button", hit "Save changes"