3D Visualization in QGIS

March 19, 20242 min read


QGIS, like other GIS software, allows you to create and explore 3D visualizations of your data, provided you have elevation data or a DEM.

This tutorial will guide you through creating a basic 3D view of a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) in QGIS. 

Prerequisites for this tutorial:

  • QGIS installed on your computer (Download here if you don’t have QGIS installed already)

  • A DEM file

  • Stable internet connection (needed for plugin installation)

Let’s get started!

Step 1:  Setting Up

  • Launch QGIS and create a new empty project.

  • In the project properties (bottom right corner), set the Coordinate Reference System (CRS) to your desired projection or leave it as default.

  • In the Layer panel, navigate to "Add Layer" > "Add Raster Layer" and select your DEM file.

Step 2: 3D Visualization

QGIS requires a plugin called Qgis2threejs for 3D visualization. Here's how to install it:

  • In the Plugins Tab, select “Manage and Install Plugins”

  • Switch to the "Not installed" tab, search for "Qgis2threejs," and install the plugin.

  • Once installed, the "Qgis2threejs Exporter" icon will appear in the toolbar. 

  • Open the window and verify that your DEM data is checked under "Layers" in the left panel.

  • You should now see your DEM represented in 3D. Pan, zoom and rotate the view as needed.

Step 3: Styling 3D View

You can style your 3D maps as desired. Let’s explore!

  • To remove the white background, right-click on the DEM layer in the Layers panel, select "Properties”, and check the “Transparent Background option.

  • Now, the 3D map should look like this:

  • To enhance the elevation visualization, open the "Scene Settings" in the Qgis2threejs Exporter window and adjust the vertical (Z) exaggeration.

  • Now, the map looks like this:

Step 4: Exporting the 3D View:

Once styled, you can export the 3D view as an image.

  • Go to "File" > "Save Scene As" > "Image (.png)".

  • Set your desired image dimensions and click "Save."

  • Choose a filename and location to save the exported image.


This tutorial provides a basic introduction to creating 3D visualizations in QGIS. With further exploration, you can add additional layers, customize symbology, and create more advanced 3D maps for presentations or analysis.


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