Graphics: Blender
This python program takes a grayscale image as input and produces a mesh object in blender.
For example, this input image produced this mesh (click for big):

Here I tried to use some USGS Digital Elevation Model data to make Death Valley,
but there seemed to be a limit to how many triangles can fit in a single mesh, as
the banding artefacts illustrate:
Death Valley Heightfield
Death Valley Mesh

So by creating a quilt of smaller mesh objects, I was able to create a rather large mesh of
Death Valley, and rendered an animation.  Click here for the video:  deathvalley-mesh.avi
Death Valley Video Frame

Here is an example of combining height field information with a texture, in this case, downtown San Francisco:
Downtown San Francisco Heightfield
San Francisco Bicycle Map
Downtown San Francisco Textured and Rendered

Here is the plugin: pnmmesh.py

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