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On my experience with heightmap quite some time ago (on gazebo 9) I think the collision I got was not that smooth. There seem to be some "holes" between the grid of the heightmap, so if you try rolling a sphere on it, it would look a bit bumpy or it might go a bit below the surface. Not sure how much have been improved from then.

If you want some randomization in the surface the heightmap sounds like a good choice since randomly generating a mesh is probably harder to do. However I think cache would not be meaningful for that.