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Category: 3D Tiles

The 3D tiles category is still under development.

The 3D Tiles category generalizes hierarchical geospatial data structures. It is being defined for the OGC 3D Tiles standard but may be generalized to handle the OGC i3s standard and the potree format as well.


  • Tile Header Hierarchy - An initial, "minimal" set of data listing the hierarchy of available tiles, with minimal information to allow an application to determine which tiles need to be loaded based on a certain viewing position in 3d space.
  • Tile Header - A minimal header describing a tiles bounding volume and a screen space error tolerance (allowing the tile to be culled if it is distant), as well as the URL to load the tile's actual content from.
  • Tile Cache - Since the number of tiles in big tilesets often exceed what can be loaded into available memory, it is important to have a system that releases no-longer visible tiles from memory.
  • Tileset Traversal - Dynamically loading and rendering 3D tiles based on current viewing position, possibly triggering loads of new tiles and unloading of older, no-longer visible tiles.

Tileset Traversal Support

To start loading tiles once a top-level tileset file is loaded, the application can instantiate the Tileset3D class and start calling tileset3D.traverse(camera_parameters).

Since 3D tiled data sets tend to be very big, the key idea is to only load the tiles actually needed to show a view from the current camera position.

The Tileset3D allows callbacks (onTileLoad, onTileUnload) to be registered that notify the app when the set of tiles available for rendering has changed. This is important because tile loads complete asynchronously, after the tileset3D.traverse(...) call has returned.

Coordinate Systems

To help applications process the position data in the tiles, 3D Tiles category loaders are expected to provide matrices are provided to enable tiles to be used in both fixed frame or cartographic (long/lat-relative, east-north-up / ENU) coordinate systems:

  • cartesian WGS84 fixed frame coordinates
  • cartographic tile geometry positions to ENU meter offsets from cartographicOrigin.

Position units in both cases are in meters.

For cartographic coordinates, tiles come with a prechosen cartographic origin and precalculated model matrix. This cartographic origin is "arbitrary" (chosen based on the tiles bounding volume center). A different origin can be chosen and a transform can be calculated, e.g. using the Ellipsoid class.

Tileset Fields

assetObject (Optional)
rootObjectThe root tile header
cartesianCenterNumber[3]Center of tileset in fixed frame coordinates
cartographicCenterNumber[3]Center of tileset in cartographic coordinates [long, lat, elevation]
webMercatorZoomNumber[3]A web mercator zoom level that displays the entire tile set bounding volume

TileHeader Fields


Tile Fields

Common Fields

loaderDataObject (Optional)Format specific data
versionNumberSee Header
typeStringSee Mode
cartesianOriginNumber[3]"Center" of tile geometry in WGS84 fixed frame coordinates
cartographicOriginNumber[3]"Origin" in lng/lat (center of tile's bounding volume)
cartesianModelMatrixNumber[16]Transforms tile geometry positions to fixed frame coordinates
cartographicModelMatrixNumber[16]Transforms tile geometry positions to ENU meter offsets from cartographicOrigin.

PointCloudTile Fields

attributesObjectValues are accessor objects.

TBA - batch ids?

Instanced3DModelTile Fields


PointCloudTile Fields


CompositeTile Fields

tilesObject[]Array of parsed tile objects


Following conventions, attributes are represented by "glTF-style" accessor objects with the value field containing the binary data for that attribute stored in a typed array of the proper type.

Accessors FieldsglTF?TypeContents
valueNoTypedArrayContains the typed array (corresponds to bufferView). The type of the array will match the GL constant in componentType.
sizeNoNumberNumber of components, 1-4.
byteOffsetYesNumberStarting offset into the bufferView.
countYesNumberThe number of elements/vertices in the attribute data.