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3D takes flight

By [email protected] - 24th February 2016 - 12:24

Historically, geospatial applications needed to run as standalone applications on powerful desktop computers. But with HTML5 and WebGL technology in modern browsers, the same geospatial applications can now run directly in a browser, even on mobile devices and tablets.

LuciadRIA version 2016 gives geospatial developers the ability to take their own web apps into the third dimension, using WebGL technology to bring desktop-like performance to web browsers. Using LuciadRIA and data from Flightradar24, Luciad created a web app to visualise, filter and analyse 24 hours of global flights. The 3D capability renders detailed terrain elevation and transparent airspace volumes. Users can move around these features and see flight tracks navigating in or around spaces and obstacles by tilting the terrain. They can even replay and navigate a recorded flight from the point of view of a pilot.

Users can toggle between 2D and 3D views with the click of a button, the software retaining shapes’ accuracy when switching. Vector shapes, such as roads, are draped over terrain with geodetic precision. Similarly, labels rearrange and resize themselves automatically in both views for clear and accurate visualisation.

Users can also easily distinguish flight trajectories, showing trails along flight paths, rather than viewing points moving across a map or trying to distinguish between thousands of crisscrossing tracks. This feature can also help them to determine which flights are taking off and which are landing in specific airports.

A time slider gives the power of 4D analysis. User can then integrate weather data and predict how past, live and predicted weather events can affect their operations.

Stefan Bellm is marketing project manager at Luciad (

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