DSM tiles and OGC 3D tiles can be generated from a variety of data sources and can  enhance 3D visualization of complex, urban areas.

Enhancing 3D Map Displays with DSM tiles and OGC 3D Tiles

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Written by TerraLens Engineering Team, Kongsberg Geospatial

If you’re looking for a way to create enhanced 3D displays in complex environments, the TerraLens team has added support for Digital Surface Model (DSM) tiles and OGC, (Open Geospatial Consortium) 3D Tiles to the TerraLens SDK.

DSM tiles can extrude image data based on high-resolution terrain data – allowing streets, buildings, and landmarks to be recognizable. The resulting 3D terrain can also have a dynamic color ramp applied to it to make the visualization of heights more apparent.

For an even higher degree of fidelity, TerraLens allows you to use OGC 3D Tiles to create beautiful visualizations of complex and urban environments. These tiles are based on the Khronos Group’s glTF 3D model format. The OGC 3D Tiles format allows for the rendering of multiresolution 3D tiles.

The 3D Tiles format allows for data producers to take advantage of LIDAR and other modern techniques to produce detailed information that goes far beyond what is possible with simple elevation grids.

The use of 3D models brings details to life that would not normally be available in a DSM (Digital Surface Model) or DTM (Digitial Terrain Model) data set. Streets, building, and landmarks become instantly more recognizable with the use of detailed 3D Tiles. The difference between how terrain is visualized with DSM tiles and OGC 3D Tiles can be seen in the image below.

In the DSM image at left, you can see stretching on the sides of the buildings, since the image data is projected on to the terrain. The OGC 3D Tiles image at right includes visual information about the sides of the buildings.

The TerraLens SDK provides APIs for applying dynamic color ramps and real-time viewshed coloring to DSM tiles and for applying dynamic color ramps to OGC 3D Tiles.

The data, (taken from Vancouver, Canada) shown in these images was provided by VRICON – a MAXAR company.

Additional information about the TerraLens SDK can be found on the product specifications page.


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Kongsberg Geospatial is a fully owned subsidiary of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace
Kongsberg Geospatial is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kongbserg Defense and Aerospace
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