About 3D Modelling and Required Software
Geoscience Australia uses X3D (Extensible 3D) to develop 3D models for the web. X3D is the new open standard for 3D content on the web (replacing the VRML standard), and is supported by the Web3D Consortium, the same group that supports VRML. Although still under development, X3D has a number of advantages as it:
- is an XML format (extensible markup language) which allows easier interaction with other XML formats
- is a free ISO standard for 3D on the web
- supports a large range of 3D geometries
- can represent objects in true 3D space including sub-surface, surface and above ground features.
- See available 3D Models.
Geoscience Australia's X3D and VRML models can be viewed using BS Contact, a free web browser plugin by Bitmanagement. X3D and VRML models also work best with Internet Explorer version 6 and above.
To download the plugin - enter you name and email address in the Bitmanagement Download Center and select "BS Contact" from the Product menu. You will then be shown a list of Available versions. Please select the latest version from the list.
Navigation and troubleshooting information is available inside the individual model help pages. To activate BS Contact as the default plugin (recommended), choose the Windows Start Menu / BS Contact VRML X3D option to make BS Contact your default plugin for Internet Explorer. This can also be done by double clicking the BSRegister.exe in the Bitmanagement program directory on your hard drive.
A BS Contact Users Guide is also available online.
Why use 3D models?
3D (three dimensional) models are generated by Geoscience Australia's research projects to help scientists better understand and interpret their data. They provide a useful interactive tool to communicate often complex geological relationships to other scientists and the wider community.
You can turn data layers on and off and manipulate the models by rotating, zooming and panning to explore relationships between parts of the model from any aspect.
3D data from geological software modelling applications such as GOCAD is exported to a 3D scripting language, where it is edited and optimised for visualisation within the model. The model interface and navigation tools are then developed. Text, links to database records and other HTML documents are also added to complete the model before it is tested and refined. A simple model may be produced in a few days while more complex models may take weeks to develop.