While the images look like art, there is an abundance of science behind it. These images were created from .las files generated using airborne LIDAR. The data is then processed to generate the 3D models from where contours, water sheds and several other useful outputs can be generated.
Airborne LIDAR is when a laser scanner, while attached to a fixed wing plane, helicopter or UAV during flight, creates a 3D point cloud model of the landscape. This is currently the most detailed and accurate method of creating digital elevation models. The major advantage in comparison with photogrammetry is the ability to filter out reflections from vegetation from the point cloud model to create a digital terrain model (DTM) which represents ground surfaces such as rivers, paths, cultural heritage sites, etc., which are concealed by trees. A further use of airborne LIDAR is to interpret deep seated landslides, escarpments, tension cracks under the cover of vegetation.