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I looked at the ArcGIS ESRI website and find that 100% of the screenshots depicts a 2D map with at most relief shading.

Is there any product ArcGIS or not that gives real 3D terrain visualisation capable of things like flight simulation?


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up vote 6 down vote accepted


Lots of RAM required.

Though Google Earth might be a better option. (as comes with a flight sim)

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Seconded that Google Earth will be better. The rendering (at least in 9.2, the last time I tried it) in ArcGlobe is horrible. I tried every setting I could think of and the final rendered product still didn't look anywhere near the quality of on-the-fly Google Earth rendering. – Michael Todd Oct 19 '10 at 4:13

Both ArcGlobe & ArcScene are capable of providing 3D terrain Visualization, but the Navigation tools are horrendous.

You could use Google Earth, but when you load your own data, the capabilities are limited:You cannot add your own DEM, The memory consumption goes up with the amount of images that you load, and garbage collection in memory is limited.

For a 3D modelling project, we ended up using an Hybrid approach. We used the scene control for high precision Analysis & general display, while we used the Google earth 3D Plugin for showing large areas.

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Try Geoweb3d, it has ArcGIS Engine embedded. It is GPU based for high performance, uses native GIS source data, and supports simulation (DIS, feeds, etc) out of the box. They have a free 2 week evaluation.

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"Forbidden - Users from your country are not permitted to browse this site"; nice product – nickves Sep 23 '12 at 10:01

NASA WorldWind is another option, capable of using SRTM to get 3D visualisation.

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