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3D mapping, another wonder of modern technology, is a new machine vision technology in the field of cartography. While we are already familiar with 2D maps and 3D vision, it is not hard to imagine how a 3D map looks like? Don’t let the curvature of Earth hinder your view and zoom in close to your location using 3D mapping.

3D mapping means profiling of objects in three dimensions to map the objects in real-world. There are several ways for a 3D profiling of an area or object, such as using a pair of a stereo camera. Another method is to measure the depth of an object or feature from focus. You can also create a 3D effect by detecting the light field by plenoptic methods or using active 3D imaging techniques.

Advantage of 3D mapping over 2D technology

One of the best benefits of 3D mapping is that it provides the latest technical methods for visualisation and gathering information. Knowledge visualisation and science mapping become easier when a 3D map is available for the object/area under study.

A 3D map provides a realistic view of a location that can be utilised by local authorities and planners. For the construction sector, a 3D map is as useful as a blueprint is. It is very easy to visualise floor plans on a 3D map and identify possible obstructions which may occur during construction.

When you have a 3D map in front of you, you enter a world of limitless imagination where you can experiment with many visual effects virtually before the final output. From determining the position of aircraft to making your event special with projection mapping, 3D mapping is working as a magical eye.

3D map preparation

3D mapping is also referred to as “Projection Mapping” or “Video Mapping.” Many people call 3D mapping as “Spatial Augmented Reality” also.

For projection mapping, a technique is used that can convert any surface into a dynamic visual display. Though many ways can create the same effect but combining the 2D or 3D data with some computer animations can highlight the required features and diminish not such relevant things.

3D mapping in GIS

A Z value (other than x and y), gives an enhanced depth when you are collecting data for GIS analysis. City-planning, building information modelling (BIM), Coastal modelling, Windfarm assessment are some areas where 3D GIS works as the screen of wonders.

3D mapping and cartography is an important tool in creating 3D scenes of a location that are useful for many studies like high rise development, building interior and exterior and effects of a disaster. If you want to create a 3D map using ArcGIS, you can do it in simple steps. ArcGIS provides a feature “ArcGIS scene viewer.” Another desktop application from ArcGIS is ArcGIS Pro a desktop application. Since it is a 64-bit application, it contains many extensive 3D inbuilt capabilities. It offers the facility of working with a 2D view as well as 3D scenes at the same time, side by side.

3D mapping provides minute information like the coordinates of a fire and helps in quick disaster response.

You can also use AutoCAD Map 3D software to create maps that are useful in the management and planning of resources. Integrating GIS data with CAD tools and some intelligent models, you can improve the quality and productivity of your project.

Very few of us know that we can create a 3D map in Microsoft Excel as well. Enter your data into a worksheet (with X and Y coordinates) and then select the data. The column headers should not be neglected in this step. Now click on insert followed by 3D Maps and open 3D Maps to explore more.

3D mapping has numerous applications in the various fields, from science to entertainment and advertising. When the Earth is not flat, then why to represent it in 2D? Add the ‘Z’ coordinate and see your projects turning into reality.