The 7.3.1 minor update to TerraExplorer adds TEZ functionality for GTX files. All other new features described below were part of the 7.3.0 release.
In this article:
- New TEZ Mechanism for Installation of GTX (v7.3.1)
- High Resolution Imagery and Elevation Layers
- True 2D Orthographic Rendering Mode
- 3D Mesh Supported Formats
- Improved CAD Support
- GDAL v3
- Support for Mongo Database
- Volume Classification
- Photo Inspector Tool
- Drawing Tools
- Drawing Surfaces
- Align to Model
- Show Through Option
- Line Textures
- Texture Animation
- Label Blend Mode and Light Effect
- New Ambient Light
- Display Effects
- Clip Box
- New Presentation’s Movie Creator Mechanism
- Improved Navigation
- Interface to SkylineGlobe Server and TerraExplorer for Web
- API Improvements
- PhotoMesh Manual Retouch Tool
New TEZ Mechanism for Installation of GTX
The 7.3.1 minor update to TerraExplorer adds TEZ functionality for GTX files. GTX files packaged as TEZ can be installed without manually copying the GTX file into a specific folder. As with other TEZs, they can also be installed without administrator rights. After installing a TEZ file, all its add-ons/configurations are installed and applied to any TerraExplorer opened on the same device.
TerraExplorer uses vertical datum grid shift files (GTX) for shifting and transforming between some coordinate systems that have different datums. Generally, when one of the coordinate systems in your project references a particular GTX file that was not found on your computer, a notification will display in the coordinate system dialog box or in the Error/Message Log with a link to a page with the required GTX file. The GTX file on this page is packaged as a TEZ, a TerraExplorer zip file that enables the GTX to be installed without manually copying the file into a specific folder.
High Resolution Imagery and Elevation Layers
Ability to load offline and online imagery and elevation layers with resolution higher than 7 cm per pixel to globe Lat-Long project.
True 2D Orthographic Rendering Mode
TerraExplorer 7.3 2D and 2D North navigation modes now feature true orthographic rendering mode. This mode provides a clearer measure of distance between objects such as buildings and their relative sizes.
3D Mesh Supported Formats
New supported formats include:
- SLPK v1.7 - TerraExplorer 7.3 can now export 3D mesh layers in ESRI i3S/SLPK v1.7, in addition to v1.5 supported by previous TerraExplorer versions.
- Bentley 3MX - TerraExplorer 7.3 can now export 3D mesh layers in Bentley 3MX format
- 3D Tiles reader - TerraExplorer 7.3 expands the support of direct loading of 3D Tiles with the following formats and options:
- Support for models in gltf v2 format
- Tiles stored in archive .3TZ file format
- Tiles compressed in gzip archive format
- Mesh models compressed in Draco format for reduced size and better streaming
- Mesh models in GLB Binary file format
- 3D Tiles exporter - TerraExplorer 7.3 expands the support of exporting 3D mesh layers to 3D Tiles format with the following:
- Saves models in gltf v2 format
- Save models with Draco compression
- Models compressed in gzip
Open3DML is a new 3D mesh layer open source format supported by TerraExplorer, that is. designed for streaming and rendering massive 3D geospatial content such as terrain surfaces, 3D city models, individual models and BIM. The Open3DML format contains hierarchically structured data that is stored in an open source SQLite database. The Open3DML is a binary file that packages all the dataset information: blocks of mesh models in a hierarchy of resolution levels, metadata, and coordinate system information, in a single file that can be easily copied and managed. TerraExplorer7.3 supports writing and reading of the new open3DML.
- Open standard (documented)
- Storage: SQlite (.o3dml), disk/folders
- Index tree format: json (similar to 3D Tiles)
- Model format: gltf v2, jpeg/dds – Fast conversion to other formats
Improved CAD Support
TerraExplorer 7.3 offers enhanced support for Autodesk AutoCAD models. Layers can now be loaded in DWG format, the native file format for Autodesk’s AutoCAD® software, as well as AutoCAD DXF, and they can be exported to DXF format.
The new TerraExplorer now utilizes the GDAL v3 engine for better 3D coordinate system conversions and improved feature layer and raster layer support.
Support for Mongo Database
TerraExplorer 7.3 adds to its ever-growing list of supported feature formats the option to stream feature layers from a Mongo database.
New dynamic classification method allows you to distinguish different areas of layers and objects, e.g., mesh layers, using polygon features and their attribute values, so that you can then access the attribute data of the classification features and perform spatial and attribute queries. Classification layers are not pre-processed with any particular mesh, which means that multiple feature layers can classify a single mesh and multiple meshes can be classified by any particular classification feature layer. The new volume classification method can classify buildings, floors and even small elements like windows.
More about: Using a feature layer for classification >
Photo Inspector Tool
New tool displays the photos used to generate a 3D PhotoMesh model so you can examine them and confirm the accuracy of the model, or create inspection layers in which you mark areas in your 3D model for future review.
- Load aerotriangulation output layer generated by PhotoMesh
- Display all photos or only photos that intersect with a selected point on the model
- Filter out photos that do not actually see the selected point, e.g., because a building is blocking the line of sight.
- Project photos on the terrain
- Show results in 3D Window and in photo list
- Create inspection layers in which you mark areas in your 3D model for future inspection
More about: Using the photo inspector tool >
TEP 7.3 boasts powerful additions to its arsenal of drawing tools and capabilities:
- New undo/redo functionality. The undo and redo commands are supported for the following object types: text and image labels, video object, polyline, polygon, 2D and 3D shapes, and 3D model. Changes can be undone or redone, even after the property sheet is closed, and then reopened. More about: Undoing and redoing changes >
- Improved copy-paste mechanism allows you to copy and paste objects and features based on the cursor's location. After a copy is pasted in the current location of the cursor, you can drag the pasted object to the precise location you want, and then set it in its place. More about: Copying and pasting objects >
- Range of object snapping options for more precise object positioning. Snap to any of the following: object node or line segment or dynamically-identified edges and corners of any element in the 3D World. You can also constrain the object line segments currently being drawn to pre-defined angle increments. More about: Setting snapping options >
Drawing surfaces make it easy to draw objects on a particular plane - any polyline or polygon drawn on the surface in magnet mode is automatically aligned to the surface. TerraExplorer offers a range of options for the drawing surface alignment: auto-aligned to the area under the cursor, horizontal, vertical, or determined by a polygon you draw. More about: Using drawing surfaces >
Align to Model
TerraExplorer 7.3 offers a new alignment option for polygon and polyline objects and features to vertically align all vertices to the model surface. This feature allows you to convert 2D drawings to accurate 3D drawings based on the model surface.
Show Through Option
New Maximum Show-Through Distance property enables objects to show through terrain, mesh layers, or models hiding them. This option is available for for polygons, polylines, 2D shapes, 3D shapes and applied on outlines and fill (3D primitives - outline or fill). This new capability can be also used for displaying underground layers. More about: Using the Max. Show-Through Distance property >
TerraExplorer 7.3 supports the application of texture files to polylines. You can set a transparent color for GIF and BMP files, so that pixels with this color appear as holes in the texture, as well as colorize the texture image. More about: Applying texture files to polylines >
TerraExplorer 7.3 supports the addition of scrolling textures to polylines and polygons. Users can control the scroll rate for the X/Y axis. TerraExplorer also features a data library section with useful online and offline texture files. More about: Creating lines with scrolling textures >
Label Blend Mode and Light Effect
New label blend mode adds transparency to labels so they blend with the colors of the background terrain or model layers. This new mode is used for creating light effect labels that blend into the terrain and simulate local light effects. More about: Creating light effects >
New Ambient Light
New ambient light for when “sunlight” mode is turned off uses a direct light source that still provides shading effect on 3D objects.
In addition to saturation and ambient occlusion effects that were available in previous TerraExplorer versions, the new version gives you increased control over brightness and contrast:
- Brightness – Adjust light intensity of the 3D view
- Contrast – Adjust the distinction between lighter and darker areas of the entire 3D view
- Gamma correction – Adjust gamma of the 3D view
- Depth Perception - Highlight depth changes in the 3D model to make it easier to recognize the model’s contours and shape. This can be especially useful for an untextured model or point cloud without colors
More about: Adding display effects >
New clip box tools allows you to focus on specific elements in your 3D project by defining a box as a clip volume and hiding all elements outside this box:
- Easily adjust the size of the box
- Option to clip area inside or outside of box
More about: Using the clip box tool >
New Presentation’s Movie Creator Mechanism
TerraExplorer presentation’s movie creator now uses the FFmpeg, cross-platform compression library. This new mechanism is agnostic to installed codecs and the generated mp4 with H.264 codec can be viewed in most browsers. TEP 7.3 also expands the frame size options to include 1440p. More about: Creating a movie from a presentation >
New zoom modes let you zoom in/out in the way that is most convenient for you: Choose between Zoom to center (of screen) – regardless of where the cursor is, or Zoom to cursor – which allows you to easily zoom in to a particular location in the 3D Window. Close range navigation has also improved in areas with both close and far objects e.g. meshes and point clouds, by scanning not only the objects under the cursor, but also those around the cursor, so that navigation sensitivity is balanced appropriately. More about: Choosing your zoom mode >
Interface to SkylineGlobe Server and TerraExplorer for Web
- Enhanced support for publishing of styling properties to TerraExplorer for Web projects. More about: Supported feature styles in TE4W >
- Supports loading of secured project using the new SGS token mechanism (Viewer only). An SGS access token enables you to directly access SGS layers without entering a user name and password. More about: Using an SGS access token >
- New “My Site” read/edit permission (new default). More about: My Site access option >
TEP 7.3 offers significant API improvements, including:
- Raster layer refresh in area – Optimal for dynamic imagery layer
- Drawing API (IDrawing73) – This interface provides methods for interactive user drawing capabilities (2D objects and models). Events during and after the interactive drawing allow controlling the drawing process and the object style.
- Volume classification API (IVolumeClassification73) – This interface allows the user to classify areas of layers and objects, e.g., mesh layers, with polygons. The classification can be represented by colorizing the intersecting layers and objects or by displaying a 3D polygon based on an extrusion of the polygon.
- Pixel to world/ Pixel to objects – Returns the real world coordinates or a list of objects under a specified pixel on the 3D Window.
More about: Changes in API 7.3 >
PhotoMesh Manual Retouch Tool
Mesh imperfections, such as bumps, irregular surfaces, or floating artifacts, can now be marked for editing in TerraExplorer using manual retouch layers, in which you mark surfaces for flattening and floating artifacts for removal. The output of the Manual Retouch tool is a polygonal feature "retouch layer" with attribute information that defines what retouch action should be performed in each area. The implementation is then performed in PhotoMesh. More about: Marking a mesh layer for retouching in TerraExplorer >