7 November 2011. During the well-attended OGC 3D Summit in Boulder, Colorado the first ever OGC 3DIM Award was given to the 3D Pilot NL, a unique network of over 65 private, public and scientific organizations who collaborated to push 3D developments in the Netherlands. The four national organizations who succeeded in establishing this collaboration network are the Kadaster, Geonovum (the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) executive committee in the Netherlands), the Netherlands Geodetic Commission and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment. With this award the 3D Pilot team is recognized for its significant accomplishments in aligning national and international standards for 3D content data sharing. The pilot project established the groundwork for one of the world's most comprehensive national 3D geo-information programs.

The mission of the OGC 3D Information Management (3DIM) Domain Working Group is to facilitate the definition and development of standards for sharing and accessing 3D geo-information. According to members of the Working Group, “The developments in the Netherlands serve as an inspirational example of a national implementation of a 3D standard.”

3D Pilot NL

The objective of the 3D Pilot NL was to accelerate the use of 3D geo-information in the Netherlands. Initiators of the 3D Pilot NL were Kadaster (Dutch national cadastre and mapping agency), Geonovum (the National Spatial Data Infrastructure executive committee in the Netherlands), the Netherlands Geodetic Commission and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment. More than 65 private, public and scientific organizations collaborated on use cases and a test bed to study the establishment of a national standard on 3D geo-information.

Added value of 3D over 2D information 

The pilot has demonstrated the added value of 3D geo-information compared to 2D geo-information in various use cases, including interactive airstream simulation, 3D cadastre, mutation detection and integrated planning and management of underground and aboveground municipal assets. Also, 3D information automatically generated from laser point data can serve many application domains. Such information about tree heights and sizes, new buildings, roofs, etc. can easily become part of an OGC CityGML model. Demonstrations of use cases can be found at www.geonovum.nl/dossiers/3dpilot/bibliotheek/presentaties#films (on Youtube).


One of the main achievements of the pilot was the establishment of a national 3D standard based on an international standard. The Netherlands' 3D standard integrates the OGC CityGML Encoding Standard with a new version of the existing national Information Model for large scale Geo-information (IMGeo). IMGeo contains object definitions for large scale representations of roads, water, land use/land cover, bridges, tunnels etc. and prescribes 2D point, curve or surface geometry for all objects. As the new version of IMGeo will be completely integrated with CityGML,  IMGeo version 2.0 will also facilitate 2.5D and 3D geometries. The close integration between an existing information model for 2D geo-information and CityGML is a major step toward the practical use and re-use of 2D and 3D information.

3D Pilot continues

The next phase of the 3D Pilot NL started in October 2011. This phase focuses on the development of tools and instruments to support the implementation of the 3D standard. This includes generating IMGeo 2.0 example data at various levels of detail; describing standard procedures to generate such data; describing standard procedures to update and maintain the 3D data as part of existing (2D) information processes; and developing a 3D validation tool. In addition, special attention is being paid to aligning standards from the construction domain (Building Information Models) and the spatial data domain, at both national and international levels. Almost 120 participants have subscribed to participate in this next phase (www.geonovum.nl/dossiers/3d-pilot/deelnemersvervolg).

More information

More information is available in Dutch at www.geonovum.nl/dossiers/3dpilot/resultaten1 and in English at: www.geonovum.nl/sites/default/files/3d_pilot_artikel_engels_2.pdf and www.geonovum.nl/dossiers/3dpilot/congres/english.

The OGC is an international consortium of more than 430 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC Standards support interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. OGC Standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services useful with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at http://www.opengeospatial.org/contact.