Thursday, February 12, 2015

The World in 3d

ViziCities is an open source 3d map and data visualization platform. The platform is built upon OpenStreetMap mapping data using WebGL and Three.js. The ViziCities demo map is a 3d building map of the world. If you use shift & left mouse-click you can tilt and rotate the map view.

ViziCities is a free and open source platform which means you can use the library to create your own 3d maps and mapped data visualizations. You can get an idea of what kind of data visualizations can be created with ViziCities by checking out some of the videos of demo maps created by the developers. These videos show ViziCities being used to visualize different types of data, particularly live transit data.

OSM Buildings is a pretty awesome JavaScript library for visualizing OpenStreetMaps building geometry on interactive maps.

Check out this Building Shadows demo to view an example map which includes 3d buildings and building shadows which are dependent on the date and time of day. The map includes two slide controls to adjust the position of the sun by the time of day and by the time of the year. It is also worth having a look at the new OSM Buildings GL Preview, which gives you the option to rotate the map and view the 3d buildings from all angles. When using the OSM Buildings GL Preview map you need to right-click on the map to start rotating the map and left-click to turn off rotation.

Mapzen's Vector Tiles map demo shows building footprints at the lowest zoom levels which magically become 3d buildings when you zoom in on the map.

The map includes a number of controls to change the perspective of the map view, to change the lighting effects and to add various effects to the map (check out the 'elevator' view). You can import the 3d buildings into your own maps by using the Mapzen Vector Tile Service API.
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