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alobo9 post(s)
#29-Dec-20 18:27

I'm just looking into Manifold and cannot find any document or video in the website

showing 3d interactive visualization, i.e. just draping a satellite image on a DEM and exploring

as in Google Earth. Is this possible with this software? Could anyone show me an example?



570 post(s)
#29-Dec-20 18:37

M8 has useful but simplistic 3d visualization. M9 does not yet. You can export a layer or a map (careful with the size) to KML or KMZ to overlay on Google Earth.

How soon?

808 post(s)
#29-Dec-20 19:18

I understand the frustration with the time it takes to develop a full fledged GIS. In the mean time, I use Manifold to export a .kml file for use in Google Earth. Here's an example of a parcel file showing ownership boundary lines draped over the Google Earth terrain.

Google Earth Parcel Overlay.jpg


9,550 post(s)
#29-Dec-20 20:53

Great example!


304 post(s)
#29-Dec-20 21:33

There are ways of migrating the data from Mfd9 to Blender through different formats. The Blender GIS add-on is also a helpful way of getting .shp files imported. Once there, and the workflow between them is established, then the opportunities open up dramatically. I have played with this on occasion to make sure it can be done.

If you continue the line of thought from 3d display of geospatial data, then the leap to a VR tool like Unity should also be explored. I know some of the recent Unity updates are bridging the BIM valley and therefore, GIS data and real-time animated visualizations.

alobo9 post(s)
#30-Dec-20 08:45

Thanks for the answers.

If the user needs to export the data for 3d visualization with another software, then the answer to my question is that Manifold does not have 3d visualization. Also, note that GE uses its own standard DEM, and I need to use my own DEMs or DEMs provided by cartographic authorities, with a lot more resolution.

Visualizing satellite, aerial or drone imagery draped on the terrain is essential for me, my areas of study are abrupt. I mostly use raster data, but being able to deal with 3d vector layers would be nice too.

In short, what I need is what is seen in this video:

I even do not care too much on actually making the video, but I want the GIS to work on a 3d visualization, not on a flat fantasy.

Is Manifold going to implement this? I see lots of extremely interesting features in Manifold, including what seems a very good integration of NVIDIA cards, but lacking the 3d visualization is going to be a no-go.


6,436 post(s)
#30-Dec-20 09:05

then the answer to my question is that Manifold does not have 3d visualization.

No, it means that Manifold has 3D visualization in Release 8, but it does not yet have it in Release 9.

Is Manifold going to implement this?

Seems like a sure thing for Release 9 sooner or later. 9 is super at huge data, supports Z data within geometry, can pop open 110 GB rasters in 1/10th of a second, and can work with big LiDAR data, so it seems to me doing 3D visualizations in 9 is a perfect fit.

The only question is where that fits in terms of what the community wants prioritized for 9. If people want other things first, those get done first. The suggestions page has tips for effective lobbying if you want to influence priorities.

alobo9 post(s)
#30-Dec-20 16:41

No, it means that Manifold has 3D visualization in Release 8, but it does not yet have it in Release 9.

Thanks Dimitri. Is this an still 3d view or an interactive 3d view where I can explore my data?

Could anyone point me to a document, figure or video where can I see a demo or illustration of this functionality?


181 post(s)
#30-Dec-20 17:03


alobo9 post(s)
#31-Dec-20 10:18

Thanks Hugh, this is very useful (cannot understand why there is no promotional demo video for this feature).


1. Only a DEM is used in these directions, and what I need is to explore my satellite or aerial imagery in 3d using the terrain elevation. In other words, the colors should be those of a color composite made from a multi-spectral image. Is this possible with Manifold?

2. As far as I can see from the illustrations, this is a display, but values and features cannot be queried, am I wrong? Is perhaps this view linked to a 2D view in which different layers can be explored?

181 post(s)
#01-Jan-21 04:00

Alobo, sorry I should have clarified that the link I sent was to Manifold 8 documentation. However you can within Manifold 8, it take a multispectral image, process it into a composite rgb mage and place it on the terrain surface to view. I remember how useful that was then many years ago becausethere was not the kind of 3D viewing software then Manifold 9 can so easily exchange data with now.


304 post(s)
#30-Dec-20 18:21

2nd attempt. Using this video as a guide.

Get Blender v.2.9 or greater. Install.

Go here:

download the code as a Zip file.

Install from Blender. via Edit/Preferences/Add-ons/ Use the Install button, navigate to the downloaded BlenderGIS .ZIP file.

select the addon after installed and confirm a temporary cache directory.

You may need to install GDAL for all the features of BlenderGIS to operate.

Go through the video to see how to link to GE, Bing, OSM images servers much in the same way Mfds do.

Notice the direct link to the SRTM data for elevation.

Once you are familiar with this, then try and export an image/surface of Mfd9 elevation data to a .TIF format.

Import this into Blender through the GIS feature. Also try and import an example shapefile from Mfd9 into it. I used contours generated from the image.

There are many other tools out in the world that could help. I remember one such DEM2WRL tool that took USGS DEM files and output to .WRL. I haven't shaken the internet to collate the links to these. I just know that there are a few out there with more every month.

Play. Have fun. Learn about blender objects, like camera, lighting, key-frames, animation. Make a simple fly through. As long as I know I can get data in and out of Blender and Manifold(s), then I am comfortable with the compositing of both applications.

(IMO, the 3dViz in Manifold is and has been strictly for presentation, akin to Layouts. Layouts have a good workable foundation. I would like to see more (continued) work in the structural and functional development of data preparation for presentation such as layer zoom scale constraints, Grid/graticule/tesselation forms, easier microimage copy/paste. I also see a big need for the elephant of label generation, placement, adjustment. No. I haven't composed a suggestion email regarding these yet. yet.)

alobo9 post(s)
#31-Dec-20 10:41

@oeaulong Thanks for your extended directions, they are most useful. I wish a GIS in which I could get 3d exploration without needing external software. I wanted to find out in this thread if Manifold could have fulfilled this need.

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