Looking for a free program or web software for 3D visualization. I'd like to have an ArcScene like abilities.

No editing needed, just need to see the data in a 3D format. It'd be really helpful for presentations. I used ArcScene a ton in college and liked it, but budget constraints do not allow for it here.

Is there anything out there?

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    Google Earth?google.ca/earth/explore/showcase/3dbuildings.html
    – Mapperz
    Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 19:45
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    If you like Esri products, ArcExplorer has a 3D view, and is free to use. esri.com/software/arcgis/explorer
    – evv_gis
    Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 21:07
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    You say "the data" -- what kinds of data are we talking about?
    – blah238
    Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 21:41
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    @blah238 I have a few different data sets. Small LiDAR samples, cross sections, building plans, contours. All things that its great to see in 3D to find out-liers.
    – Cody Brown
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 14:42

4 Answers 4


1) For a full 3D GIS, the better is GRASS GIS, look at Screenshots of 3D data management or From drone-aerial pictures to DEM and ORTHOPHOTO: the case of Caldonazzo's castle, from example.

Some examples (interactive: you can scale, rotate the representation and many other things) :

DEM with 3D points:

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Draped raster on the DEM

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Draped geological map with 3D surfaces (2 thrust faults, blue, grey), 3D tubes (boreholes, blue), 3D lines (blue) and 3D points

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2) You can also use QGIS and the Qgis2threejs plugin (interactive: you can scale and rotate the representation):

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Draped raster on a DEM, with draped 2D polylines (black, red)

3) and you can also use Paraview (from GRASS GIS) , R and even, SketchUp (and Google Earth) or Blender (Visualising QGIS data with Blender, for example) -all the solutions are interactive.


You can also use ViziCities (in the browser using OpenStreetMap, WebGL and JavaScript), though it only supports 3D buildings and geographic features right now (data layers coming soon).

Disclaimer: I'm the developer behind ViziCities, though my only intention is to let you know about it and let you decide which tool is best for you.

enter image description here


Take a look into QGIS Plugins for that purpose. qgis2threejs is a experimental python plugin that is getting better and better as we speak. It allows you to transform any internet browser with WebGL into a 3D visualization tool.

You can check the code here: https://github.com/minorua/Qgis2threejs

Also check this usage example done by Anita Graser:


enter image description here


Check out the open-source Virtual Terrain Project, or VTP. http://vterrain.org/

Their goal is to foster the creation of tools for easily constructing any part of the real world in interactive, 3D digital form.

This requires a synergetic convergence of the fields of CAD, GIS, visual simulation, surveying and remote sensing. VTP gathers information and tracks progress in areas such as procedural scene construction, feature extraction, and realtime rendering algorithms. VTP writes and supports a set of software tools, including an interactive runtime environment (VTP Enviro). The tools and their source code are freely shared to help accelerate the adoption and development of the necessary technologies.

  • Welcome to GIS SE! Some of our protocols can take some getting used to but one is that all Answers (and Questions) tend to have a minimum length of about a paragraph. In particular, Answers which provide a link with no context are usually moved to become a Comment (or deleted) so I recommend that you use the edit button beneath yours to expand it to say how you think it provides a direct Answer to the Question asked.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 21:59

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