Cesium started as a software development effort to bring 3D geospatial to the web. In order to truly realize the potential of 3D on the web, we determined that new open formats were required to efficiently take advantage of 3D’s uniqueness. We introduced

  • CZML, a JSON schema for describing time-dynamic 3D scenes,
  • quantized-mesh for efficiently streaming terrain, and
  • glTF, the runtime 3D model format we co-created with Khronos.

Data acquisition trends, from open data policies to drones to depth cameras, have lead to incredible massive heterogeneous 3D geospatial datasets: point clouds, terrain, 3D buildings, trees, and vector data. In order to efficiently stream these datasets for visualization, we introduced the 3D Tiles initiative a year ago at SIGGRAPH.

To our delight, 3D Tiles gained traction and earned several adoptions even while we worked on the specification and Cesium implementation. The need was clear and the community’s belief in our ability to deliver 3D Tiles was motivating.

Here’s a few showcases:



The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) also saw the need for such a standard. To add to the good news, OGC has a Community Standard process to propose widely-implemented formats to become OGC standards.

We have formed an amazing submission team and submitted 3D Tiles for an OGC vote to start the Community Standard process. See the OGC press release: OGC is considering a proposed work item for 3D Tiles as a Community Standard.

Our submission team brings a wealth of government, commercial, research, and academic experience, and significant OGC knowledge. The team is:

  • Claus Nagel, virtualcitySYSTEMS
    • Claus is the CTO of virtualcitySYSTEMS and the co-chair of the CityGML SWG.
  • Dave Wesloh, US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
    • Dave manages web services for the standards office and has worked with the OGC since 2001.
  • Jean-Philippe Pons, Bentley
    • JP is in the Office of the CTO and is a Director of Software Development working on ContextCapture.
  • Patrick Cozzi, AGI
    • That’s me.
  • Ralf Gutbell, Fraunhofer IGD
    • Ralf is a computer scientist, editor of the 3DPS spec, and has 3D Tiles implementation experience.
  • Volker Coors, Hochschule für Technik Stuttgart
    • Volker is a professor and chair of the 3DPS SWG. He has a long history of visualization experience.

For more information - and some really cool 3D Tiles apps - see our Community Standard Justification Document (docx).

This is exciting because OGC support of 3D Tiles would help facilitate broad adoption to create a truly fantastic ecosystem around 3D Tiles. The Community Standard process itself is also exciting as it represents a streamlined way to propose an OGC standard. So 3D Tiles has the opportunity to impact both the 3D field and the standards process.

If you are building something with 3D Tiles that you can share, we would love to hear about your project on the Cesium forum. Your work will greatly help demonstrate the significance of 3D Tiles.

I am also briefing 3D Tiles in the Point Cloud DWG, 3DIM DWG, and 3DPS SWG sessions at the upcoming OGC TC Meeting, September 19-23.