I have been trying to understand 3D data serving through WFS, but the number of competing standards and their spotty support has me baffled. Hence, I was hoping for some clarification from those who have more experience in this field.

We have 3D models of buildings/etc that we would like to stream via the same WFS as other feature data. We intend to use TerraExplorer as a client, but would like to have other options, so we are avoiding their proprietary 3D streaming format. Up until now we have been using GeoServer on the server side.

My understanding is that GML 2 and newer do support 3D, but it seems none of the programs I have access to on either the server or client end actually support 3D in GML.

In my attempts to make the system work, I was completely unable to get GeoServer to import 3D data, which admittedly might be a separate issue, but my research suggested it does not actually natively support 3D. Apparently 2 plugins existed, but both are depreciated in favor of a new standard, which is not yet supported by GeoServer.

Now, this is rather broad, so to try to narrow it down, here are a few specific questions:

  1. What is/are the standard(s) for serving 3D geometry in WFS?
  2. What programs actually support these standards? (Does anyone know if TerraExplorer and GeoServer supports them?)
  3. Are there any accepted non-standard ways of accomplishing this?

The exact form of the data is flexible. The main goal is to have at least a semi-standard way of serving 3D data to a variety of viewers with mature tools.

  • GeoServer supports 2.5D (XYZ) well but that is not enough for building models. Define your preferred output format. Perhaps there is something reusable in the GML application schema mapping. – user30184 Jun 17 '16 at 17:25
  • @user30184 Yes, 2.5D really wouldn't do it alone for me. Some of this data will actually be underground, such as tunnels. I don't really have a preferred format, part of this is if I ought to. GML would be nice, but I need to know if anything can actually use and serve 3D GML properly. – user71224 Jun 17 '16 at 17:27
  • As it stands I think your question is too broad for the focussed Q&A we do here. Would you be able to revise your question so that it asks just one question as we specify to do in the 2-minute Tour that introduces new users to the site. – PolyGeo Jun 21 '16 at 3:38