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What is visualisation software and how can I use it?

Visualisation software enables data analysis and 2.5D/3D image creation of a mapped surface (usually by draping an image over a Digital Elevation Model), or the creation of graphic front ends to spatial and census datasets (as in the case of Cartographic Data Visualiser (CDV) and Descartes).

Landmap hosts a large resource of spatial data which can be used within 3D visualisation softwares and provides a 25m DEM for the whole of the UK and more recently LiDAR data for the main connurbations of the UK at 2m resolution and higher. Landmap has suggested various visualisation software products on the main software guidance page, including Interactive Data Language (IDL), CDV, and Descartes.

If you require visualisation software that involves the creation of a mapped surface with capabilities to set viewing factors such as "eye" height, angle of view, vertical exaggeration, etc. or advanced capabilities such as the ability to define a camera path for a "fly through" and additional visual effects such as fog, lighting, etc. Then you may be able to utilise the FLY module of Geomatica and the Virtual GIS in Imagine in the image processing section of this site.

3D Virtual Globes

Also the 3D virtual globes are very useful 3D visualisation tools which can easily be integrated into the 3D globe environment by either coding the data layers using Keyhole Mark-up Language (KML) or connecting to geospatial web services e.g. Web Mapping Service (WMS).