V3Geo: A cloud-based repository for virtual 3D models in geoscience

Simon J. Buckley* (Corresponding Author), John Howell, Nicole Naumann, Conor Lewis, Magda Chmielewska, Kari Ringdal, Joris Vanbiervliet, Bowei Tong, Oliver S. Mulelid-Tynes, Dylan Foster, Gail Maxwell, Jessica Pugsley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


V3Geo is a cloud-based repository for publishing virtual 3D models in geoscience. The system allows storage, search and visualisation of models typically acquired using techniques such as photogrammetry and laser scanning. The platform has been developed to handle models at the range of scales typically used by geoscientists, from microscopic, hand samples and fossils through to outcrop sections covering metres to tens of kilometres. The cloud storage system serves the models to a purpose-built 3D web viewer. Models are tiled to ensure efficient streaming over the internet. The web viewer allows 3D models to be interactively explored without the need for specialist software to be installed. A measurement tool enables users to measure simple dimensions, such as widths, thicknesses, fault throws and more. V3Geo allows very large models comprising multiple sections and is designed to include additional interpretation layers. The specific focus on geoscience data is supported by defined metadata and a classification schema. Public and private storage are available, and public models are assigned Creative Commons licenses to govern content usage. This paper presents V3Geo as a sustainable resource for the geoscience community, including the motivation, main characteristics, and features. Example usage scenarios are highlighted: from undergraduate geology teaching, supporting virtual geoscience education, and preparing virtual field trips based on V3Geo models. Finally, best practise guidelines for preparing 3D model contributions for publication on V3Geo are included as an Appendix.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-82
Number of pages16
JournalGeoscience Communication
Issue number1
Early online date9 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2022


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