Extracting 3D GIS Data

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This piece by Anil Narendran Pillai, Vice President of Geomatics at SBL, takes a look at 3D GIS data creation using feature extraction methods.  

3D GIS data can be used for spatial analysis in many different areas, such as 3D city modeling, terrain visualization, industrial design, education, animation entertainment and preservation of historical sites. Feature extraction of 3D shapes is an important branch of GIS and uses  advanced technologies like digital photogrammetry, LiDAR data processing, and pattern recognition. Unlike 3D GIS data, 2D geographic data only shows horizontal features on a planar surface, without elevation contours to depict the terrain.  With 3D data, topographic mapping contour and elevations are vital parts. The combination of planimetric and topographic mapping to create a depiction of the Earth’s surface features in 3D is invaluable for geospatial analysis and modeling.

3D Feature Extraction

SBL’s 2D/3D Feature Extraction in-house expertise qualifies us to capture data from small to large scale stereo models and generate high precision digital topographic maps. SBL 3D feature extraction services provides accurate digital planimetric feature extraction for cartography mapping and 3D topo mapping by extracting surface features like railroads, buildings, hydrological features, vegetation, etc., with proper coding and symbology.


Viewing the features extracted from the above methods and get superimposed on the 3-dimensional digital aerial photograph, ensures that editing and collection time is accurate and complete:


SBL’s ability to create customized databases and cartographic map representations is useful in meeting any specification or software format.

Benefit of 3D GIS Data

The benefit of 3D features is the value-added geospatial information that can be derived from high resolution stereo images and hi-density point cloud data. This comprises three specific data products, not exclusively, Digital Orthophoto, digital terrain models and 3D vector data. Digital Orthophoto have turn out to be a standard constituent of base map data, and can be used for accuracy assessment, 2D vector digitizing and update, change detection and a number of other applications.


  • Long Range Planning
  • BIM
  • Utility Network Designing
  • Plant/Facility Planning & Management
  • Roadway Design
  • Utility Management
  • Landfill/Quarry Management
  • Topographic Surveys
  • Volumetric/Quantity Calculations

About the Author:

Anil Narendran Pillai – (Vice President – Geomatics @ SBL) Mr. Pillai heads the GSS (Geospatial Services) domain at SBL(www.sblcorp.com). He has worked in the digital mapping, remote sensing, and GIS industries for over 23 years. He has 23+ years experience managing and coordinating GIS projects and 12 years senior management experience. He has extensive experience in all aspects of aerial and satellite imaging technology and applications. He has utilized remotely sensed satellite and airborne imagery for a variety of environmental applications including site location analysis, forestry, telecommunications and utility corridor mapping. He has a strong background in management of GIS and Photogrammetry imaging projects to support Government and private industry needs.His Passion lies in Need Analysis and Documentation, Topographical Mapping (ArcGIS), Spatial Data Management, Integrity and Security, GIS Data transformations and projections from multiple sources, Image Processing Software user testing and documentation, Project Coordination and Tech. Support, Inter-agency communication and support, 3D Data Generation and Management,Project Management, Digital Photogrammetry, Satellite Image Processing, Pre-Sales Presentations.

See more about SBL LiDAR services http://www.sblcorp.com/Geospatial-Services/lidar-services.php

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