/ News / Cesium Takes City Visualizations Into the 3rd Dimension Through Open-Source Collaboration

Cesium Takes City Visualizations Into the 3rd Dimension Through Open-Source Collaboration

Parul Dubey on November 7, 2019 - in News, Products, Technology

Philadelphia – A new open-source initiative by Cesium™, the market leader in streaming 3D geospatial technology will address the need to visualize, analyze, and share the world’s vast and ever-growing collection of 3D geospatial data. 

Engineering teams from Cesium are working with Uber to add support for 3D Tiles to loaders.gl and deck.gl, two of Uber’s open source geospatial visualization frameworks. Support for 3D Tiles, an open-standard format originally created by Cesium, will enable deck.gl and engines like it to stream city-level, massive 3D geospatial datasets and point clouds in real-time on any platform. 

The collaboration with Cesium supports Uber Air, Uber’s aerial ridesharing initiative. The implementation of the 3D Tiles feature allows Uber to achieve an unprecedented level of geospatial detail within urban environments. 

“Initial point clouds of Melbourne, Australia, which is an Uber Air international launch city, clock in around an astounding 355 million data points,” said Ib Green, Staff Engineer for Core Visualization at Uber. “With 3D Tiles and Cesium ion, we can better visualize the cities we serve and improve transportation experiences across our platform.” 

In order to analyze urban mobility, Uber’s engineers and data scientists need to routinely visualize datasets that are larger than what many open-source visualization tools can handle. With Cesium, the Uber Visualization team will be able to render these datasets quickly and seamlessly, empowering the company to better serve customers.  

“We created 3D Tiles to help companies like Uber make their massive 3D geospatial datasets more useful and accessible,” said Cesium CEO Patrick Cozzi. “We’re proud to collaborate with the Uber Engineering team to expand the 3D Tiles ecosystem with this open-source initiative.”

3D Tiles was developed by the Cesium team in 2015. An open specification for streaming massive heterogeneous 3D geospatial datasets, 3D Tiles are designed to improve 3D streaming and rendering performance by enabling Hierarchical Level of Detail (HLOD) so that only visible tiles are streamed. 3D Tiles are also fully interactive, adaptable, styleable, and flexible while maintaining the level of precision that users expect from Cesium. 

About Cesium:

Cesium™ enables the ever-growing body of real-world 3D data to be fully utilized by enabling the creation of applications that visualize, analyze, and share this data–all from your favorite web browser. Built on open source code, Cesium is a complete platform enabling developers to create high-performance, dynamic 3D geospatial applications using next-generation 3D tiling technology for Cloud-streamable GIS-enhanced content. The platform manages the entirety of the 3D mapping ecosystem–everything from optimization to visualization to analytics. 

 Originally part of aerospace software company Analytical Graphics Inc. (AGI), Cesium was built to track satellites orbiting the Earth with sub-millimeter accuracy. Now spun out as an independent entity, Cesium continues to aggressively develop and enhance the platform for a range of customers in government agencies, startups and Fortune 500® companies alike. Learn more at cesium.com


Cesium and Cesium ion are trademarks of Cesium. All trademarks and registered trademarks previously cited are hereby recognized and acknowledged. 

For more information, images or interviews, please contact Cesium PR Counsel Jonathan Hirshon at [email protected]

About Uber Elevate

  • Uber’s first Uber Air cities will be Dallas-Fort Worth/Frisco Texas, L.A. and Melbourne Australia
  • Uber has a goal of flight demonstrations in 2020 and Elevate commercially available to riders in 2023
  • Uber entered into partnerships with several highly experienced aircraft manufacturers including: Aurora Flight Sciences (now a subsidiary of Boeing), Pipistrel Aircraft, Embraer, Bell, Karem Aircraft and Jaunt.
  • Uber has also entered into a real estate partnerships with Hillwood Properties, Related, Macquire, Oaktree and Signature. 
  • Uber has signed two Space Act Agreements with NASA one for the development of new Unmanned Traffic Management concepts and Unmanned Aerial Systems and another to explore concepts and technologies for Urban Air Mobility. 
  • Uber has also signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, Army Research Lab to assist in the vehicle development and testing for Uber Air. This includes an initial joint work statement to provide joint funding of $1 million for research development of rotor technology.
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