Let's consider an example:

Case 1:

rdata = Table[Sin[u + v^2] + RandomReal[], {u, 0, 3, .2}, {v, 0, 4, .2}];
w1 = ListPlot3D[rdata, Mesh -> All]
w2 = ListPlot3D[rdata, Mesh -> All, ViewPoint -> {0, 0, 1}]

How on the basis of the set rdata = {r1, r2, r3}, determine the set points of the data r3 (points is a matrix with the dimension $m \times n$) which can be seen in the figures w1 and w2?

points =(* 'm x n' matrix *)

ReliefPlot[points, ColorFunction -> "GreenBrownTerrain"] (*?????*)

Case 2: (more important for me):

rdata = Table[{x = RandomReal[{0, 1}], y = Sin[RandomReal[{0, 1}]], Cos[RandomReal[]]/5}, {2000}];

...the remaining part as in the 'case 1'.

  • $\begingroup$ Hint: Use backticks (`) instead of (') for markup. $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2018 at 7:47

1 Answer 1


This is not exactly what you ask for but if it is about interpolation, you can use ListInterpolation with an InterpolationOrder of your choice:

f = ListInterpolation[rdata, InterpolationOrder -> 3];

Now you can use as a function from the plane to the reals, e.g. Map it over other lists of points in the plane.

Here is a plot with the data points in order to show how the list gets interpolated:

{m, n} = Dimensions[rdata];
pts = Join[Outer[List, Range[m], Range[n]], Map[List, rdata, {2}], 3];
w0 = Graphics3D[Sphere[Flatten[pts, 1], 0.1]];
w3 = Plot3D[f[s, t], {s, 1, m}, {t, 1, n}, PlotPoints -> 5 {m, n}, Mesh -> {m - 2, n - 2}];
Show[w0, w3]

enter image description here

When interpolating 3D points that are supposed to lie one a graph, then Interpolation can be used. If the $(x,y)$-points do not live on a regular quad grid then only InterpolationOrder->1 is supported. Note that the syntax {{x,y},z} has to be used.

n = 2000;
x = RandomReal[{0, 1}, n];
y = RandomReal[{0, 1}, n];
z = Sin[2 Pi x + Pi y]/5.;
rdata = Transpose[{Transpose[{x, y}], z}];
f = Interpolation[rdata, InterpolationOrder -> 1];

This interpolates the data over a triangle mesh, proabably the 2D-DelaunayMesh". This is how you can draw the resulting function:

R = DelaunayMesh[Transpose[{x, y}]];
 Graphics3D[Sphere[Flatten /@ rdata, 0.01]],
 Plot3D[f[s, t], {s, t} ∈ R, Mesh -> All]

enter image description here

While the interpolation in the interior parts of the domain deem to be good, be cautious when using the interpolating function f close to the boundary of the domain.

ReliefPlot also expects the height values to lie on a quad grid; you can generate such a grid and sample f over it to create data that ReliefPlot can eat:

m = 200;
n = 200;
heights = Apply[f,
    Subdivide[0.2, 0.8, m],
    Subdivide[0.2, 0.8, n]
    ], {2}];
ReliefPlot[heights, ColorFunction -> "GreenBrownTerrain"]

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. We can obtain the sought set: points= Split[Flatten[pts, 1], #1[[1]] == #2[[1]] &][[All,All,3]]; ....There is still a problem with 'Case 2'. $\endgroup$
    – ralph
    Jan 27, 2018 at 9:43
  • $\begingroup$ While earlier it was easy to generate a matrix 'm x n' ('points') so now I do not know how to do it. I just have to use the ReliefPlot[] function to draw a set 'points'. $\endgroup$
    – ralph
    Jan 28, 2018 at 10:02

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