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Three-Dimensional Mapping – Conceptions and Challenges

Temenoujka BANDROVA, Bulgarian Cartographic Association


The major advantage in 3D cartographic modelling is that once created, a three-dimensional (3D) model can be used for different purposes. It can be considered as a database and a source for creating various applications with different functionalities used in different areas of interest. The report considers cartographic elements applied in 3D mapping: user requirements, map contents, symbol system, accuracy, scale and generalization (different detail levels). The new cartographic elements are added to improve 3D maps: virtual camera, shades, lights, animation. “From Paper to Virtual Map” is an innovative technology for creating 3D maps. Technology is proposed as a very cheap and easy way to create 3D maps. A power graphic station is not necessary for this aim. This is very important for countries such as Bulgaria, where it is not easy to have expensive computer equipment. This technology proposed by the author was developed from a novel application – a 3D cartographic symbol system. The report describes another complex technology which tracks the creation of several 3D mapping applications based on a 3D model. Three types of applications are considered: 3D printing map, virtual flight (animation map) and 3D maps with an interactive web application. According to its type and production method, each application requires certain features of 3D model. These features depend on the map purpose and user, on its visualization and publication method, on software used for creation of different 3D maps and on technical requirements and hardware capacities of computers. In order to avoid some difficulties in 3D mapping, different procedures are applied: laser scanning of a complex city object model; creation of additional base terrain for situation of a 3D building in the Google Earth environment; some plug-ins are used to situate linear objects as roads in terrain; 3D texture is used for the most realistic environmental representation. 3D city maps consist of 3D geometry, topographic information and photorealistic texturing and 3D symbols, which contain quantitative and qualitative information about objects. Animated presentations are also available according to users’ needs.



Keywords: 3D map, 3D symbols, 3D mapping, Cartography, Innovative technology

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