3D GIS is a three-dimensional Geographic Information System which spatiall encapsulates the 3rd dimension into spatial data. Thus, instead of just x and y there is now a z component to spatial objects. These 3 dimesnions can have their own attributes – thereby making it possible to 3d visualisation or volumetric analysis.

3D GIS is most commonly applied in urban landscapes that creates a sense of realism of urban objects. Cities are not yet making wide use of 3D GIS and bring the tools of Spatial Analytics to xyz data of urban objects – detailed floor plans and realistic three-dimensional rendering found in architectural practice.

Some critical applications of 3D GIS is in:

  • 3D GIS, coupled with road information models, could have a major impact on the way transportation businesses carry out their activities.
  • 3D GIS — again, along with building information models — could help with facility and asset management, public safety concerns, and interoperability.
  • 3D GIS technology could help with planning for noise issues that may affect a building from variables such as nearby roads and industrial facilities.

3D GIS technology from Esri goes beyond application within urban environments. Esri shows that users can create models of the interiors of buildings, or they can up the scale and create region-wide or even global models.