CyArk has been working on a brand new Online 3D Viewer to help provide realistic, meaningful, useful and interactive content to users. This new viewer comes as a replacement (not just an update) to the previous viewer and the improvements are significant. CyArk rewrote the code from the ground-up, and are still able to display both point clouds and models/meshes. The geometry count limit has been increased in most cases as well, meaning it’s able to display more points and more triangles, providing more detail and information from the original data. The loading speed of the object depends on the speed of the Internet connection and the performance capabilities of the user’s computer. The main difference between the new and old viewers is that it’s now able to display these objects in the browser, a feat not capable of doing previously. They’ve also improved the interface significantly to help make using the viewer easier and more fun.

The 3D Viewer is developed using a new technology: WebGL. Also used is the Three.js library to aid in development. Because this is such a new technology, recent versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple's Safari* need to be used. Internet Explorer is not supported; however, users can install the Chrome Frame plug-in in Internet Explorer and it will work there. This 3D Viewer is replacing a Java Viewer that CyArk has had for a number of years.

Interested users can see the viewer in action to display point clouds as well as mesh models.

CyArk designed the viewer to be both fun and highly useful. There are a handful of features to help a user better interact with the model. You can:

  • orbit around the center of the object by simply clicking and dragging
  • use your scroll wheel to zoom in and out
  • use your right-click and drag to pan the object around your browser

There are four navigation buttons on the top left of the browser that will:

  • reset the view to the original settings
  • allow you to pick a new centroid
  • zoom in
  • zoom out

Below that is the View Section. Here, you can:

  • toggle between color/intensity for point clouds
  • toggle wireframe/phototextured/flat color for models (Note: some of these options are not provided if there is no corresponding data for that object)
  • select different preset views for your object (front, left, right, back, top, and bottom)

The Camera Section allows you to toggle between:

  • perspective view
  • orthographic view

And finally there's the Tools Section, which allows you to:

  • measure by toggling to measure mode and clicking two points/vertices to obtain the distance
  • display/hide the bounding box (by default the bounding box is displayed). The bounding box is a green cube with a red circle around it. You can drag any of the green "handles" (the spheres) to expand or contract the bounding box. You can also then drag the red "handle" to rotate the bounding box around the vertical axis. This is highly useful for cutting sections through the data.


*For Mac Safari users, WebGL is disabled by Default (the Windows version of Safari does not yet support WebGL). To enable it you should follow these instructions:

  1. Open Safari and in the Safari menu select Preferences
  2. Click Advanced tab in the Preferences window
  3. At the bottom of the window check the "Show Develop menu in menu bar" checkbox
  4. Open the Develop menu in the menu bar and select Enable WebGL