If you are looking for a tool to easily create 3D visualizations of your geodata, look no further! Qgis2threejs is a plugin by Minoru Akagi which exports terrain data combined with the map canvas image and optional vector data to an html file which can be viewed in 3D in any web browser which supports WebGL. To do that, this plugin uses the Three.js library.
This is the result of my first experiments with Qgis2threejs. In the following sections, I will show the steps to reproduce it.
1. The data
The building blocks of this visualization are:
- elevation data and the hillshade derived from this data
- a base map (WMTS from basemap.at in my case)
- OSM building data provided by Geofabrik and
- tree data from the city of Vienna
Load all datasets into QGIS.
2. Preparing the map
Qgis2threejs will overlay the map (as rendered in the QGIS map area) on top of the elevation model. You can combine any number of layers to create your map. I just loaded a basemap.at WMTS and a hillshade layer. To add a nice tree shadow effect, I also added the tree layer (dark grey, 50% transparency, multiply blending).
3. Preparing the vector features
The vector features in the visualization are buildings and trees. The buildings are based on an OSM building layer. The trees are create from two point layers: one point layer to create the tree trunks (cylinder shape) and a duplicate of this point layer to create the tree crowns (sphere shape).
Load the data and choose the desired fill colors.
4. Using Qgis2threejs
Now we can start Qgis2threejs. The first tab is used to configure the terrain. Just pick the correct elevation data layer. I didn’t modify any of the other default settings.
The second tab provides the settings for the vector data. As mentioned in the previous section, the trees are created from two point layers and the buildings are based on a polygon layer. The tree crowns are spheres with a radius size 3 and a z value of 5 above the surface. The tree trunks are cylinders. Finally, the buildings have a height of 10.
That’s it! Just press “run” and wait. When the export is finished, your default browser (or a different one, if you specify another one in the plugin settings) will open automatically and display the results.
The visualization is interactive. You can tilt the visualization using the left mouse button, pan using the right mouse button, and zoom using the mouse wheel. I found that Firefox used around 1.6 GB of RAM to render this example.
5. Share your visualization
I would love to see what you come up with. Please share a link in the comments.