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How to Use the 3D Viewers


Please note: The 3D Mesh Viewer and 3D Point Cloud Viewer are currently not available on mobile browsers.

Skycatch has a 3D Point Cloud Viewer and 3D Mesh Viewer directly in the app so you no longer have to open a separate application for viewing your 3D models.

  • A point cloud is a large collection of points that represent the 3D surface of the area captured by a drone. A point cloud contains the most reliable 3D data possible, whereas producing a 3D mesh can be more prone to distortion or inaccuracies due to assumptions.
  • A 3D mesh file is a large collection of textured triangles that represent the 3D surface of the area captured by a drone. Skycatch has a 3D Mesh Viewer directly in the app so you no longer have to open a separate application for viewing your 3D mesh files. 

Credit: Jacques Eloff

Get Started

1. Select the site and date of the map you would like to view the 3D mesh for in your Skycatch account. 

Only maps with the 3D Map icon (see below) displayed behind the number should have a 3D map available. All data sets submitted after June 2016 should have a 3D mesh available for viewing.

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In the example calendar below, 3D data is available for the July 19th map:

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2. Click on "2D Ortho Map" to open up the 2D/3D Viewer drop down. You will now see 3 viewing options - select "3D Point Cloud" or "3D Mesh" to open its respective viewer.

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3. Depending on the size of you file, it may take a few moments to load on your screen.

Once it's loaded, you'll be able to see your 3D model, a Reset View button in the lower left, and a the viewing control panel in the lower right hand side of your browser.

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Viewing Your 3D Model

Rotational Control: Click and drag your mouse to the left and right to rotate the 3D mesh model. You can also adjust rotation by clicking on the rotate left and rotate right arrows located in the viewing control panel in the lower right hand corner of your screen.

Angle Adjustment: Click and drag your mouse up and down to adjust the angle you are viewing your 3D mesh model. You can also adjust the angle by clicking on the up and down arrows or dragging the switch up and down located in the middle of the viewing control panel. 

Zoom: You can zoom in and out using the scroll wheel on your mouse or pinch-zoom on your trackpad (Mac OS). Additionally, you can also click on the + and - buttons in the viewing control panel to zoom in and out.

Pan: Reorient the position of the 3D mesh model by panning along the xy axis by using a two finger click and drag on your trackpad (Mac OS). To pan on a PC computer, right click your mouse and hold to drag your model to the desired position.

Reset View: Click on the "Reset View" button in the left hand corner of your browser to reset your 3D mesh viewer back to the default point of view.

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