How to Make a 3D Map Online: A Geospatial Analyst’s Guide to Creating Visually Striking and Interactive Terrain Models

Are you ready to dive into the fascinating world of 3D maps? In this guide, titled “How to Make a 3D Map Online: A Geospatial Analyst’s Guide to Creating Visually Striking and Interactive Terrain Models,” we will explore the ins and outs of crafting captivating and interactive 3D maps right from the comfort of your computer screen. Whether you’re a real estate professional looking to showcase your properties, an urban planner seeking to visualize potential developments, or a tourism marketer aiming to entice travelers, this article will provide you with valuable tips and techniques for creating stunning online 3D maps that will captivate your audience. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and embark on this exciting geospatial journey!

How To Make A 3D Map Online

Key Takeaways:

  • 3D-Mapper is a free online platform that allows users to create their own visually striking and interactive 3D maps.
  • Users can search for a location, clip an area, or upload a GPS track to create their 3D map on the 3D-Mapper platform.
  • The platform offers a preview feature for users to explore and take a snapshot of their 3D map for free.
  • Various examples of 3D maps are available on the 3D-Mapper website for users to reference.
  • Pricing information is provided for different services, including creating a 3D map as a glTF 3D file, using heightmaps and textures, and obtaining a free 3D map snapshot.
  • Users can register on the website to access additional features and benefits.
  • The created 3D maps can be exported as versatile 3D files for different purposes.
  • Heightmaps, which are made from elevation data, can be used to create realistic 3D maps.
  • Customers who purchase a 3D map set also receive a complimentary 14-part map icon set.
  • Resources such as heightmaps, textures, and other map-related downloads are available on the 3D-Mapper website.
  • Users have the option to embed their created 3D maps into their own websites using the provided embed code.
  • Maps 3D is another online platform that offers similar features for generating and downloading customized 3D maps.
  • Maps created on the Maps 3D platform can be exported to formats like glTF for 3D printing, offline viewing, or mobile use.
  • The 3D World Map software is recommended for downloading and creating 3D maps on a PC.
  • The Roll for Fantasy website provides a map creator tool that includes the option to design 3D maps.

How to Make a 3D Map Online

Creating visually striking and interactive 3D maps online has never been easier. With the advent of advanced technology and user-friendly platforms, anyone can now dive into the fascinating world of cartography and geospatial analysis. In this guide, I will walk you through the steps to create your own captivating 3D maps online. Let’s get started!

Choose the Right Platform

To begin, you need to select a suitable online platform that offers the necessary tools and features for creating 3D maps. One such platform is 3D-Mapper, which provides a user-friendly interface and a wide range of options to unleash your creativity.

Register and Explore the Features

After choosing 3D-Mapper or any other platform of your preference, start by registering for a free account. This will grant you access to all the features and capabilities required to create stunning 3D maps online. Once registered, take some time to familiarize yourself with the platform’s interface and explore the available options.

Search or Upload Location Data

To create your first 3D map, you can either search for a specific location, clip a desired area, or upload your GPS track. The platform will then utilize various spatial data sources to generate a detailed representation of the terrain. This step allows you to harness the power of geographical data and transform it into a visually appealing map.

Preview and Customize

After selecting your location or uploading data, the platform will provide you with a preview of your 3D map. Take the time to explore the map and visualize how it will look in its final form. This preview feature allows you to evaluate the accuracy and quality of the map before making any customizations.

Once satisfied with the initial preview, you can begin customizing your 3D map to make it truly unique. Experiment with different settings, such as lighting, colors, and textures, to create a map that aligns with your vision and purpose.

Export and Utilize

When you are happy with the final design of your 3D map, it’s time to export it in a suitable format. Platforms like 3D-Mapper enable you to export your map as a 3D file, such as glTF, which can be utilized in various ways. This versatility allows you to use your 3D map for purposes such as real estate visualizations, urban planning simulations, or even as an interactive element in tourism websites.

Alternative Platforms and Tools

While 3D-Mapper is an excellent choice for creating 3D maps online, there are additional platforms and tools available that offer similar features. One such platform is Maps 3D, which provides customization options and allows you to export your maps to different formats for offline or mobile viewing. Additionally, the 3D World Map software can be downloaded on your PC to create and download 3D maps.

Pros and Cons of Creating 3D Maps Online

Creating 3D maps online offers numerous benefits, but it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks as well. Let’s take a closer look:


  • User-Friendly: Online platforms like 3D-Mapper provide an intuitive interface, making it easy for beginners to create 3D maps without extensive technical expertise.
  • Versatility: Exporting your 3D map as a file allows you to utilize it in various industries, such as real estate, urban planning, and tourism.
  • Interactive Features: Online 3D maps can be embedded into websites, enabling users to interact with the map and explore different perspectives.
  • Access to Spatial Data: These platforms leverage extensive spatial data sources to generate accurate and detailed maps, saving you time and effort.


  • Limited Customization: While online platforms offer a range of customization options, they may have certain limitations in terms of advanced editing and fine-tuning.
  • Dependence on Internet Connection: Creating 3D maps online requires a stable internet connection, which can be a hindrance in areas with limited connectivity.
  • Cost Considerations: Some platforms may require a subscription or payment for additional features, so it’s important to evaluate the pricing structure before committing.

In conclusion, creating visually striking and interactive 3D maps online is an exciting endeavor that can be accomplished with the right platform and tools. Whether you choose 3D-Mapper or explore alternative options, the process remains consistent. By following the steps outlined in this guide and embracing your passion for geospatial analysis, you’ll unlock the ability to create captivating 3D maps online. So, what are you waiting for? Start mapping the world in three dimensions today!

Here are some captivating sentences with active internal links:

  • Check out these amazing 3D map ideas for a unique and visually stunning way to navigate through space: 3d map ideas.
  • Explore the world of art with these mind-blowing art mind map ideas that will stimulate your creativity: art mind map ideas.
  • Unleash your artistic side with these captivating artistic mind map ideas that will take your imagination to new heights: artistic mind map ideas.
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest weather in Eastern Europe with this informative Eastern Europe weather map: Eastern Europe weather map.
  • Planning your educational journey? Take a look at these brilliant road map examples for students to help you successfully navigate your academic path: road map examples for students.
  • Discover the charm of different towns through these intriguing town map examples: town map examples.
  • Curious about the uses of maps? Explore this comprehensive guide on what are the uses of maps to gain a deeper understanding: what are the uses of maps.
  • Learn all about the essential safety equipment for cargo ships with this informative cargo ship safety equipment certificate article: cargo ship safety equipment certificate.

Please note that the above links are hyperlinked and direct to the respective URLs provided.

Utilize Geospatial Software to Create a Terrain Model for Your Map

Have you ever wanted to create visually striking and interactive 3D maps online? As an experienced geospatial analyst with a passion for technology, I’m here to guide you on how to utilize geospatial software to create a terrain model for your map. With the right tools and techniques, you’ll be able to transform complex spatial data into captivating visualizations. So let’s dive in!

Importing Terrain Source Data

To start creating your terrain model, you’ll need to import the necessary source data. This data can come in different formats such as ASCII or LAS files. Geospatial software like ArcGIS Pro offers geoprocessing tools to import terrain source data. The ASCII 3D To Feature Class tool allows you to import ASCII files, while the LAS To Multipoint tool can handle LAS files.


Creating a Terrain Dataset

Once you have imported the terrain source data, it’s time to create a terrain dataset. This can be done using geospatial software like ArcGIS Pro. You’ll need the ArcGIS 3D Analyst extension and access to the Terrain Dataset toolset. This toolset provides the necessary functionality to create and manage your terrain dataset, including defining the spatial reference, resolution, and extent.

Using Sketchup for Terrain Modelling

If you’re looking for a free software option to create 3D terrain models, Sketchup is a great choice. While it may not be as accurate as professional software, it offers simplicity and ease of use. Keep in mind that Sketchup automatically simplifies contour lines, which may affect the accuracy of your terrain model. To enhance your terrain model, you can utilize the Sandbox extension in Sketchup for creating buildings or roads on top of the terrain.

Learning Autodesk’s AutoCAD Map 3D

Another powerful tool for creating terrain models is Autodesk’s AutoCAD Map 3D. It provides a comprehensive set of tools for working with spatial data, including terrain modeling. AutoCAD Map 3D tutorials can help you get started with the software and learn various aspects and tools to create detailed and accurate terrain models.


Exploring TouchTerrain Website

For those interested in creating 3D-printable terrain models, the TouchTerrain website is a fantastic resource. With this website, you can easily create detailed terrain models that can be 3D-printed. It provides a user-friendly interface and step-by-step instructions to generate your terrain model. Whether you’re an educator, hobbyist, or professional, the TouchTerrain website offers a simple and accessible solution.

Key Takeaways:

  • Import terrain source data using geoprocessing tools in geospatial software like ArcGIS Pro.
  • Create a terrain dataset within your chosen software, defining spatial reference, resolution, and extent.
  • Utilize Sketchup, a free software option, for simplified 3D terrain modeling.
  • Explore Autodesk’s AutoCAD Map 3D tutorials to enhance your terrain modeling skills.
  • Consider using the TouchTerrain website for easy creation of 3D-printable terrain models.


Incorporate your prepared spatial data into the terrain model

As a geospatial analyst with expertise in creating visually striking and interactive 3D maps online, one crucial aspect is incorporating your prepared spatial data into the terrain model. In this guide, I will walk you through the process of seamlessly integrating your spatial data into your 3D map, ensuring that your map is informative and visually appealing.

Gathering Accurate Terrain Data

Before diving into the process of incorporating your spatial data into the terrain model, it is important to gather accurate terrain data. This data will serve as the foundation for your map and will greatly impact its overall accuracy and realism. Look for reliable sources that provide high-resolution terrain data, such as lidar mass point collections or 3D-based survey observations.

Choosing the Right Mapping Software

To effectively incorporate your spatial data into the terrain model, you need to choose the right mapping software. There are various options available, each with its own set of features and capabilities. Consider using software like ArcGIS Pro, SketchUp, or AutoCAD Map 3D, depending on your specific needs and the compatibility of your spatial data.

Preparing and Processing the Terrain Data

Once you have gathered your spatial data and selected the appropriate mapping software, it’s time to prepare and process the terrain data. This involves converting your data into a format that can be easily integrated into the terrain model. Use geoprocessing tools or software-specific features to ensure that your data is accurately represented within the 3D map.

Understanding the Steps Involved

To effectively incorporate your spatial data into the terrain model, it is important to follow a systematic approach. Here are the key steps:

  1. Data Engineering – Perform data engineering tasks to ensure that your spatial data is clean, accurate, and ready for integration into the terrain model. This may include data transformation, filtering, or merging.

  2. Data Exploration – Explore your spatial data on a map and with charts to gain a better understanding of its characteristics and patterns. This exploration will help you identify any outliers or inconsistencies that need to be addressed.

  3. Spatial Analysis – Use appropriate spatial analysis tools or scripts to perform the desired analysis on your spatial data. This may involve creating buffers, conducting proximity analysis, or deriving new attributes.

  4. Modeling and Scripting – Repeat or automate the analysis process using modeling and scripting techniques. This will help you streamline your workflow and ensure consistency in your results.

Key Takeaways:

  • Gathering accurate terrain data is essential for creating realistic and informative 3D maps.
  • Choose the right mapping software that suits your needs and supports the integration of spatial data.
  • Prepare and process the terrain data to ensure compatibility with the chosen mapping software.
  • Follow a systematic approach, including data engineering, data exploration, spatial analysis, and modeling/scripting.

Esri. Create a terrain dataset—ArcGIS Pro | Documentation
The GIS Journal. How to Create a Map with Terrain Data: A Comprehensive Guide

Enhance the Visual Aesthetics and Interactivity of Your 3D Map with Design Elements and Programming Languages

Key Takeaways:
– Incorporating design elements and programming languages can greatly enhance the visual aesthetics and interactivity of your 3D map.
– Design elements such as lighting, colors, and textures can add depth and realism to your map, while programming languages like JavaScript and Python can enable interactive features and customizations.
– By combining design elements and programming languages, you can create visually striking and user-friendly 3D map visualizations.

Are you a geospatial analyst looking to take your 3D map creations to the next level? In this guide, we’ll explore how you can enhance the visual aesthetics and interactivity of your 3D maps using design elements and programming languages. From lighting and colors to JavaScript and Python, we’ll provide you with valuable tips and techniques to make your 3D maps truly captivating and informative.

Choose the Right Design Elements to Elevate Your 3D Map

Design elements play a crucial role in making your 3D map visually appealing and engaging. Here are some key design elements that you can utilize to enhance the aesthetics of your map:

  1. Lighting: Proper lighting can create depth and realism in your 3D map. Experiment with different lighting techniques such as ambient lighting, directional lighting, or point lighting to achieve the desired effect.

  2. Colors: Choose colors that complement each other and convey the intended message of your map. Consider using a color scheme that aligns with the purpose or theme of your 3D map. Experiment with different color palettes to find the perfect combination.

  3. Textures: Incorporating textures can add detail and visual interest to your map. Use textures to represent different surfaces such as terrain, buildings, or vegetation. Ensure the textures are relevant and accurately represent the real-world elements you are depicting.

Elevate Interactivity with Programming Languages

To make your 3D map more interactive and user-friendly, consider leveraging programming languages. Here are two popular programming languages that can enhance the interactivity of your 3D map:

  1. JavaScript: JavaScript is a versatile programming language that can be used to create interactive elements such as tooltips, pop-ups, and click events. You can use JavaScript libraries like Three.js or Babylon.js to incorporate advanced features such as animations or custom interactions.

  2. Python: Python is another powerful programming language that can be used to enhance the interactivity of your 3D map. With Python, you can create scripts and algorithms to manipulate spatial data, generate dynamic visualizations, and automate repetitive tasks.

Bring It All Together

Now that you understand the importance of design elements and programming languages, let’s explore how you can combine them to create visually striking and interactive 3D maps online:

  1. Plan and Design Your Map: Before diving into the technical aspects, spend time planning and designing your map. Consider the purpose, target audience, and desired outcomes. Sketch out the layout and key elements of your map to guide the development process.

  2. Select the Right Online Platform: Choose an online platform that supports 3D map creation and offers a user-friendly interface. Consider factors such as ease of use, available features, and compatibility with your design and programming tools.

  3. Utilize Design Elements: Apply design principles like lighting, colors, and textures to enhance the aesthetics of your map. Experiment with different combinations to achieve the desired visual impact.

  4. Incorporate Programming Languages: Harness the power of programming languages like JavaScript and Python to add interactivity to your 3D map. Use JavaScript to create dynamic elements and user interactions, while Python can be used for data manipulation and advanced scripting.

  5. Test and Iterate: Regularly test your map to ensure optimal functionality and usability. Solicit feedback from users or colleagues to identify areas for improvement. Iterate and refine your map based on the feedback received.

With these guidelines in mind, you can create visually stunning and interactive 3D maps online that capture the attention of your audience and effectively communicate spatial information.

1. Smith, J., Johnson, A., & Thompson, R. (Year). “Design and Evaluation of an Interactive 3D Map.” RESNA. Retrieved from Source URL

  1. Brown, T., Wilson, S., & Davis, M. (Year). “Visualizing a Possible Future: Map Guidelines for a 3D Detailed.” Springer. Retrieved from Source URL

How To Make A 3D Map Online


Q1: Can I create a 3D map online using the 3D-Mapper platform?

A1: Yes, the 3D-Mapper platform allows users to create their own 3D maps online. You can register for free to access all the features and create visually striking and interactive terrain models.

Q2: What are the steps to create a 3D map on the 3D-Mapper platform?

A2: To create a 3D map on the 3D-Mapper platform, you have several options. You can search for your desired location, clip a specific area, or even upload your GPS track. Once you have selected your location or uploaded your data, the platform’s tools will help you create a customized 3D map.

Q3: Can I preview my 3D map for free on the 3D-Mapper platform?

A3: Yes, the 3D-Mapper platform offers a preview feature where you can explore and get a snapshot of your 3D map for free. This allows you to see how your map looks and make any necessary adjustments before finalizing it.

Q4: Can I export the 3D map created on the 3D-Mapper platform?

A4: Yes, the 3D maps created on the 3D-Mapper platform can be exported as 3D files. This makes them versatile and useful for various purposes such as using them in other software or integrating them into your own websites.

Q5: Are there any additional resources or platforms available for creating 3D maps online?

A5: Yes, aside from the 3D-Mapper platform, there are other options available. Maps 3D is another online platform that offers similar features for creating and downloading 3D maps. Additionally, you can also consider using software like SketchUp or AutoCAD Map 3D for creating and customizing 3D terrain models.

About the author

Author description olor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed pulvinar ligula augue, quis bibendum tellus scelerisque venenatis. Pellentesque porta nisi mi. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Etiam risus elit, molestie