3D View Window

The 3D view window displays a map in a three-dimensional view space. The input grids from grid-based layers are rendered as surfaces in the 3D view. Base (vector and raster), post, and classed post layers are overlaid on the surfaces. The visualizations from the grid-based maps are also overlaid on the surface. For example, contour lines or color relief layers will be overlaid on the surfaces. Point cloud layers are rendered as a 3D point cloud. Contour lines may be rendered as 3D polyline objects. However, contours are displayed as overlays on a surface and not as 3D polylines by default.


The 3D view window only displays layers that are visible in the map in the plot window. Show or hide surfaces, textures, and vectors in the 3D view with by selecting or clearing the visibility check boxes in the 3D view Contents window.  Completely remove a surface, texture, or vector from the 3D view by switching to the plot window and hiding the associated map layer.


Click the Map Tools | View | 3D View command or 3D View button in the Map frame View properties page to open a 3D view window of the selected map. A new 3D view is created for the selected map. A 3D view can also be created by right-clicking a map or map layer and clicking 3D View in the context menu. The map must include at least one grid-based layer or point cloud layer to create a 3D view. The document tab includes the file name and view number. For example, when a 3D view is created for a map in the Plot1 plot window, the plot window tab name is Plot1:1 and the 3D view window tab name is Plot1:2.


The 3D view displays the map in a three-dimensional space. This map includes contour, color relief, post, base, and point cloud layers.


3D View Commands

The 3D View ribbon tab contains commands for modifying the view and creating videos and images in the 3D view window.


Fit to Window

Zoom to fit the entire map in the 3D view window

Zoom In

Zoom in on the center of the 3D view window

Zoom Out

Zoom out from the center of the 3D view window


Zoom by clicking and dragging the mouse


Pan the 3D view window


Rotate the 3D view window


Walk along the surface in the 3D view window

Go to Home

Move the 3D view to the home position

Set Home

Set the 3D view home position


Create or edit a fly-through


Play the fly-through


Create a video with the current fly-through settings

Copy to Clipboard

Copy an image of the 3D view window to the clipboard



The Contents window contains the Environment and the surface and vector objects in the 3D view. Surfaces are generated from the grids in the map, and Vectors are generated from the point cloud and contour layers in the map. Select the objects in the Contents window to change the properties of the 3D view and the map in the 3D view. A check mark next to the layer name indicates the layer is displayed in the 3D view. Clear the check box next to a layer to hide the layer in the 3D view.


The Contents window includes the surfaces and vectors in the 3D View




The Environment object in the Contents window contains the properties for the 3D view. Select the Environment to modify the 3D view background, vertical exaggeration, water level, camera, and lighting. The Environment object has three Properties pages:

The Lighting properties have no effect on the 3D view when a hill-shaded color relief layer or a shaded relief layer is present in the map. Turn off hill shading for the color relief layer(s) and remove any shaded relief layers to use the Environment Lighting properties.


Surfaces Group

The Surfaces group in the Contents window contains the surfaces in the 3D view. A surface is created for each grid in the map. The Surface group includes properties for controlling the rendering quality of all the surfaces in the 3D view and their overlay textures. The Surfaces group has one Properties page, General.


Individual Surfaces

Each surface in the 3D view can have overlays from the map. The available overlay textures are listed under the General page in the Properties window for each surface. Available textures include the grid-based map visualizations, e.g. contours and color relief, as well as any base or post layers in the map. Individual overlays can be hidden or displayed on each surface by selecting the surface you wish to edit in the Contents window, and then selecting or clearing the visibility check boxes next to the overlay layer names in the Textures to display section of the General page.


By default, each surface shows the texture from any map layer that uses the same grid file as the surface, and the textures from any base or post layers. Use the General page to hide or display textures.


The overlay textures do not have any 3D view properties. To change the appearance of the overlays, modify their properties in the plot window. Switch to the plot window by clicking the plot window document tab.


Vector Data

The Vector Data group in the Contents window contains the 3D vector objects in the 3D view, i.e. point cloud layers and 3D polyline contours. There are no Vector Data group properties.



Contours are created for contour layers in the map. By default, the contour layer is displayed as a texture overlay on the surface. Vector contour lines are hidden by default. Select the check box next to the contours vector object in the Contents window to display the contours. There are no properties for 3D vector contours.  


Point Clouds

Select the individual point cloud layers within the Vector Data group to change the Point size for the point clouds. The point cloud layers have one Properties page, General. The number of points in the point cloud is limited by the 3D View maximum number of points in the Options dialog Rendering page.



See Also

Plot Document

Map Tools Tab Commands