A thing bugging me at the moment is the lack of information on the possibility of finishing a point cloud based 3D model in a desktop software(e.g. Solidworks, Geomagic Design), exporting it in a measurable format (i.e. no meshes or point clouds, but solid bodies, so .sldprt is basically the only one I can export from Solidworks with the textures automatically included), and combining it with map information in WebGIS. For the establishment of my WebGIS, I plan on going the open source way, so a PostgreSQL database and GeoServer are in the picture.

Is there a possibility of including a finished solid model into a WebGIS using open source software?

I haven't found a way which enables me to combine my model with a location, e.g. using OpenStreetMap or a specific WMS service. I know Google Earth has this possibility by uploading a model to the 3D Warehouse, but I can't interact with the model the way I want to there, e.g. measure it. Of course I can do all this in 2D, divide the data into layers and overlap it with map information, but I am really interested in doing it in 3D. To get a more specific idea, I have a gas station model made based on a point cloud, with a lot of pipes, boxes, tiles, stairs, etc., which I would like to place to its real spatial position.

  • Welcome to GIS SE! As a new user be sure to take the Tour where you will see that there should be only one question asked per question under our focussed Q&A format. As it stands, I think your question is describing what you want to do rather than telling us something that you have tried and become stuck on. If you are reluctant to install software before asking then plan out the steps, write them up here in detail, and then tell us the step where you are worried your requirements may not be met. That might meet the criteria for a focussed question. – PolyGeo Jan 17 '17 at 10:07
  • What if you uploaded your 3D data into and array database like Rasdaman, then accessed the data through WCS and WCPS. You could use WebGL to provide a 2.5D rendering of the model in a web browser, or you similarly could provide multiple slices though XYZ axes of the model. – nmtoken Jan 17 '17 at 10:31
  • @nmtoken let me know via a ping of a flag if this question is focussed enough for you to answer. – PolyGeo Jan 17 '17 at 11:04

This is an attempt at a general answer on the question of whether it is possible to store 3-D models (indeed models of greater than 3-D) in some data store and access those models through the web, all whilst using open source software (and I'll throw in open standards too).

We were involved in a project (EarthServer) that attempted to do just this, we even looked at using point cloud data directly, and the answer is, generally speaking, yes, it is possible to provide access to 3D models through a Web GIS.

Our stack was:

Server s/w: CentOS Data store: Rasdaman (community edition), sitting on top of PostgreSQL (our database had 18TB of data on it, which was one of the smaller implementations across the project partners).

We created our own JavaScript based client to provide access to the data.

Data was requested using OGC Web Coverage Service (WCS) and Web Coverage Processing Service (WCPS) standards, through a Petascope (part of Rasdaman) based service.

To visualise the models we used some WebGL, utilizing some JavaScript libraries provided by Fraunhofer IGD.

So for example in the below image, we are pulling multiple geological surfaces from our database using WCPS queries, and creating a 2.5-D (some call this 3-D) model in the browser. The model rotates, you can zoom in and out, you can explode the surfaces, you turn surfaces on and off, and you can do a point and click and return some information (as shown at the top of the screen).

Model surfaces

In these (below) examples, the stored data is a voxel model of lithologies. The approach we take here is to slice up the model into a series of X,Y,Z planes and construct our visualization that way.

The first image show all three planes

Lithology Voxel Model XYZ

This image shows the same surfaces with the Z surfaces turned off.

Lithology Voxel Model XY only

This variant shows the same model but here we have clipped the model (through the GUI) to lose some of the planes.

Lithology Voxel Model XYZ ~ clipped

  • Thank you, nmtoken. I had a look at it, and it does cover a part of my question, since I will be working with point clouds and models exported from AgiSoft, though I highly doubt there will be 13 TB of data involved :) I will have to check the posibilities of Rasdaman I could use for my models exported from Solidworks and other similar 3D modeling programs, since not all of my 3D models will be environment-based, but also buildings and small industrial plants, too. – missmarkov Jan 24 '17 at 8:38

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