3D geospatial data visualization platform Cesium spins out of AGI


The United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency uses its technology for 3D visualization of Map of the World. Internet browser Mozilla leverages the platform to impart real-world 3D data to its mixed reality web framework. The Toyota Research Institute creates dynamic driving simulations using their technology stack to visualize the 3D data captured by autonomous cars. And every Christmas Eve, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) showcases Santa’s magical journey on a 3D globe using their resources.

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Cesium, a comprehensive platform for 3D geospatial data, began as an internal project in 2011 at American software company Analytical Graphics Inc. (AGI). Today, it is being launched as an independent company in Philadelphia with a $5 million Series A funding to fuel its growth.

Patrick Cozzi, Cesium’s creator and CEO of the AGI spinout, is a known name in the fields of 3D graphics and geospatial technologies. He recognizes the new opportunities which are emerging in nearly every industry because of the wealth of real-world 3D data being collected by LiDAR sensors mounted on satellites, aircraft, drones, cars, and IoT devices.

Add open data policies, crowdsourcing, and AI-generated semantics to the mix and you get high-resolution 3D geospatial data that is more easily available and more frequently refreshed than ever before. “This data needs to be made accessible, shareable, and ultimately usable. This is where Cesium comes in,” Cozzi explains.

By unlocking the potential of real-world 3D data, Cesium empowers developers to easily build 3D data into their apps. The platform allows data providers to share massive datasets like terrain, photogrammetry, and point clouds in seconds with just a link, and turn them into realistic visualizations to glean insights from them.

At the heart of Cesium’s platform are 3D tiling pipelines which transform 3D data into streamable content for both online and offline devices. Cesium is also the creator of 3D Tiles, an open-source visualization engine that got adopted as a community standard by the Open Geospatial Consortium earlier this year.

As Cozzi says, “Whether you are building digital twins for smart cities, AI-powered drone data capture platforms, or mixed reality mission planning for the military, we are designing Cesium — and the ecosystem it enables — to be the foundation on which you can realize your vision with 3D geospatial data. We can’t wait to see where you take it.”