My company is moving into a new building and we will be purchasing a 65" or greater HDTV for the conference room.
I am interested to know if there are "3D" GIS applications which currently exploit consumer level "3D HDTVs"? That is, is there any reason to consider one?! I do a fair amount of "3D" subsurface GIS/EVS.

ArcGIS has "Stereo Mode" which supports shutter glasses and red/blue anglyphs. Also found this informative but outdated paper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2772849/

Thank you.

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    I've seen some photogrametry software at conferences for which I needed polarized glasses (not red-blue). Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the software. When seeing the ground and survey points in 3D though, it was obvious how useful 3d GIS can be. Another interesting use might be flyovers. I have recently created a short flyover movie in ArcGIS (overground and underground) and when putting the finished clips together in post processing I noticed an option to export the movie to 3D. Surely this would have made a good impact on the audience. Jan 24, 2012 at 14:31
  • Thank you for the replies, very much appreciated. I decided to apply the money on size (70") and monitor developments over time. I talked with additional peers in my firm and the consensus seems to be, not worth the effort at this time except for specialized applications. One idea that came out of this, we may investigate a 3D capable projector and share between offices. Thanks again!
    – Kstoney
    Feb 1, 2012 at 12:27
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    Thanks Jakub. I enjoy your contributions here. Particularly the subsurface related posts.
    – Kstoney
    Feb 1, 2012 at 12:29
  • LOL. Thanks. Subsurface modelling is a constant challenge for me. I haven't been posting many questions with respect to subsurface modelling lately because a very few people seem to be doing this type of stuff. Feb 1, 2012 at 14:32

2 Answers 2


You could export your scenes to specialist 3D modelling/viewing software. This is what I usually do because the 3D viewers of most GISs are a bit limited (EDIT: in fact I'd forgotten ERDAS Imagine does stereo too but I haven't used it for ages so I can't remember if it is just anaglyph).

EXPANDED (as per Chad's request):
You need to implement a modelling pipeline. This can be more or less complicated depending on your needs and available software. A VERY simple (simplistic?) approach is to convert your terrain to a common modelling format. GRASS, ArcGIS, ERDAS Imagine and GDAL (I think) all export to VRML/X3D. Landserf will export to Terragen. For ArcGIS you need the 3D Analyst plugin. You can then add other elements (e.g. trees) by populating a polygon with points (in ArcGIS you can use Hawth's Tools, ERDAS has a tool in-built, I think GRASS has something similar and you should be able to code something in GDAL/OGR). Convert the points to 3D (interpolate off the DTM) and then instantiate your tree model at each point. Buildings can be done in a similar way (but watch the orientation) if you have a house model or extrude up from your building footprint polygons. The VRML export should honour your textures (it does in ArcGIS at least).

I have also created a pipeline by coding a conversion from GIS data to my 3D modelling package's proprietary model format by using the modelling package's API to call GDAL/OGR, but this is the less simple way.

Alternatively use something like World Construction Set to build your 3D landscape without the need to program your own pipeline or do the slightly nasty VRML export dance.

Once you have your model you could use any package that can show it in 3D (possibly with a further conversion if required). There are loads of viewers/modellers etc. available; some free some not. Have a look here for option: http://www.stereo3d.com/applications.htm

A lot of 3D packages have 3d support now check out Blender, Maya and 3DS Max (?). In any 3D package (including VRML) if you want stereo, you can create two cameras next two each other which can effectively give you stereo if you have active stereo kit attached to your machine.

...and while you're in your 3D modelling package, take the opportunity to improve the texturing and lighting of your model. In my experience the 3D GIS extentsions do this crudely (except for WCS)!

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    Could you expand on this some, please? How do "export scenes" and to what "specialist 3D modeling/viewing software" packages? Thanks. Jan 26, 2012 at 22:37

Geoweb3d supports 3D stereo. Download the free 2 week trial here.

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