Using the 3D Viewer

The following workflow uses the Black Mountain.gmw file that was saved at the end of the Accessing Online Data topic.

Global Mapper’s 3D Viewer is used to render any 3D data from an oblique perspective, providing a realistic view of the 3D environment. While traditional maps have long considered the surface of the planet from a remote, top-down, two-dimensional point of view, recent trends have moved towards a more immersive experience, allowing the viewer to interact with the data in a more meaningful way. Global Mapper’s 3D Viewer provides a perfect example of how this rapidly evolving technology is changing the way we see the world and how we visualize, process, and analyze geospatial data.

Global Mapper’s 3D Viewer can display 3D vector features as well as raster elevation layers. Any point, line, or polygon that includes a height or elevation attribute will be automatically rendered at that elevation.

In this section, we will introduce some of the important features of the 3D Viewer, and the settings that can be applied to adjust the 3D perspective.

Load the Black Mountain.gmw workspace and follow along as the instructor takes you on a tour of Global Mapper’s 3D Viewer. At the end of the workflow, you will create a new workspace called Black Mountain Terrain that will be used in subsequent workflows.

Rendering Imagery and Vector Layers in the 3D Viewer

As we saw in the video, the 3D Viewer renders the terrain using the colors from the selected shader. If other layers are overlaid on the terrain data, they will appear draped on top of the terrain. Follow these steps to create a 3D representation of aerial imagery data on which a vector layer will be overlaid.

  1. Following on from the workflow outlined in the preceding video, uncheck the Black Mountain Terrain.gmp layer in the Contol Center
    Both the 2D and 3D Viewers will be empty
  2. Check the box next to Black Mountain Imagery
    In the 3D Viewer, note that the imagery is rendered as a flat surface
  3. In the Control Center, re-enable the display of the terrain layer
    While the underlying terrain is not visible in the 3D Viewer, it provides the necessary per-pixel elevation values to render the imagery in 3D.

    Finally, we will add the vector parcels layer to the 3D Viewer.
  4. In the Control Center, double-click on Black Mountain Imagery to open the Raster Options dialog box.
  5. In the Display tab, adjust the Color Intensity to a value of approximately -100 and click the OK button.
  6. In the Control Center, check the box next to Black Mountain Parcels.shp.
    Note that the parcels are also rendered in the 3D Viewer. Because the vector polygons do not have an attribute reflecting a height or Z-value, they are clamped to the surface.
  7. Save a workspace called Black Mountain 3D in your My Maps folder.

To capture the contents of the 3D display as an image file, click the Save Image Button in the 3D Viewer.

  • Global Mapper’s 3D Viewer is used to render a realistic perspective of the terrain.
  • The 3D display offers both remote and first-person views of the 3D environment.
  • Any raster or vector layer can be overlaid on an elevation layer and subsequently draped in the 3D Viewer.
  • Click here for more information on interacting with Global Mapper’s 3D Viewer.

Click on the Mark Complete or Next Topic button to learn more about Creating a Path Profile with terrain data in Global Mapper.