Cesium to collaborate with Smithsonian to stream high-resolution 3D models online

March 13, 2020  - By 0 Comments
Image: Cesium/Smithsonian

Image: Cesium/Smithsonian

Streaming 3D geospatial technology company Cesium will support the Smithsonian Institution by streaming 3D models of massive objects in its collection, such as the Space Shuttle Discovery. The models will be streamed over the internet in high resolution for the first time.

The collaboration is part of the Smithsonian’s Open Access Initiative. Through the initiative, the Smithsonian will release about 2.8 million 2D and 3D images, public collections metadata, and institutional research data sets as Creative Commons (CCo) for any purpose, such as education, research, commercial endeavors, creative reuse, computational analysis, and innovative explorations.

“The Smithsonian Open Access Initiative aligns perfectly with Cesium’s vision to make the world’s collection of data more useful and accessible,” said Cesium CEO Patrick Cozzi. “We are proud that our technology will give researchers, educators, and the public the ability to study 3D models in the Smithsonian’s collection in the highest resolution detail from anywhere in the world.”


Cesium Stories enable 3D storytelling

Cesium Stories enable creation and sharing of 3D geospatial presentations on the web, without requiring any writing of code. An intuitive interface enables story creation using Cesium’s 3D world terrain basemap, the user’s own 3D data, or a combination of multiple datasets, fused into interactive scenes. Learn more here.


Making massive high-resolution 3D models shareable begins at the intersection of Cesium’s core competencies of computer graphics, 3D data and open standards. With Cesium, glTF models are converted to 3D Tiles, an open specification developed by the company and adopted by the Open Geospatial Consortium (“OGC”) to make sharing massive amounts of 3D data as simple as sending a link.

Cesium develops, supports, and promotes open standards with organizations like the OGC and The Khronos Group to advance technology, encourage collaboration and fuel cross-disciplinary innovation.

The Space Shuttle Discovery — on display at the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia — is one of the largest objects in the Smithsonian’s collection. It is more than 122 feet long and weighs more than 4.5 million pounds.

Now, a shareable, high-resolution 3D rendering will enable anyone to rotate, zoom in, and study its details from anywhere in the world.

Explore the 3D model at www.cesium.com/smithsonian.

Tracy Cozzens

About the Author:

Tracy Cozzens has served as managing editor of GPS World magazine since 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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