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MetaVR 3D Terrain Products

MetaVR has built several terrain databases over time that meet the needs of our customers who require detailed 3D environments for their simulation.

We create these terrain products using a combination of our commercial tools and new software tools that are under internal development. Each project gives us the opportunity to advance our technology such that our internal tools can evolve into commercial products and our existing products are enhanced.

Constructing the MetaVR Afghanistan terrain.
Constructing geospecific terrain and models for the Kismayo, Somalia terrain. Terrain was built with MetaVR Terrain Tools for ArcGIS. Geospecific culture models were built from ground-level photos taken on the streets of Kismayo and built with Luxology Modo and Autodesk 3ds Max modeling tools. For placing culture models on the terrain, VRSG Scenario Editor was used as part of the terrain workflow.

Terrain source data

We build 3D terrain from a broad range of GIS source data: terrain imagery, digital elevation, and cultural features. At times we may be able to obtain imagery at a higher resolution than what you currently have.

Constructing the MetaVR Afghanistan terrain.
Constructing high-resolution, photorealistic buildings for the Afghanistan terrain in Autodesk 3ds Max.

Recently, MetaVR has established a low-cost process for collecting imagery of an area of interest with a small UAV, MetaVRC, and using that imagery in building geospecific 3D terrain with 2-3 cm per-pixel resolution imagery for real-time simulation.

With source imagery, elevation and vector data, we build terrain with MetaVR Terrain Tools for Esri ArcGIS.


Working from overhead imagery and ground-level photographs and the features on the base imagery, we can determine the footprints of cultural features and either use models from our model libraries or create geospecific models of particular structures of interest from photographs provided by the customer or in the public domain.

Constructing the replica of the Kilo 2 MOUT site at Camp Pendleton.
Constructing the replica of the Kilo 2 MOUT site at Camp Pendleton. The geospecific terrain was built with MetaVR Terrain Tools for ArcGIS. Models were built from publicly available photos and geolocated on the terrain with Scenario Editor.

Culture models are added to the terrain in a variety of ways. Generally, most are placed on the compiled terrain with VRSG Scenario Editor. Some culture, such as airport runway models and large forests of tree models, can be compiled into the terrain in Terrain Tools. Areas of dense urban models can be generated in and output from Esri CityEngine and placed on the compiled terrain.


If your site is interested in having MetaVR build a 3D terrain product of an area of interest (AOI) in our round-earth Metadesic™ terrain tile format, provide us with a specification. You can supply your own AOI source data for a custom terrain build. Using this data, we can provide a quote for your terrain product.

Pricing considerations include:

  • Overall size of the AOI (region, airfield, MOUT site, and so on).

  • Whether you are supplying source imagery (see requirements below). If you do not have source imagery data for the AOI, we can obtain it, and the resolution of the required imagery is factored into the quote. For ultra-high sub-inch resolution imagery, our remotely piloted imagery collection aircraft can capture sub-inch imagery. (See information about ordering sub-inch imagery below).

  • Whether placement of culture on the terrain is required, and whether the culture would be from our 3D model libraries or from a set of your own models in FBX or FLT format. (We can convert FBX and FLT models to our model format.)

  • Whether the creation of custom models for your terrain product is required.

The quote for the AOI terrain project contains no labor-based costs. Upon your acceptance of the quote, we will proceed to build the AOI 3D terrain. Payment is required upon acceptance of the terrain product.

Upon a customer's acceptance of the 3D terrain product, MetaVR retains right to redistribute the terrain it has built, free of charge to all US Government agencies and contractors (for official use only). The compiled Metadesic terrain tiles will be distributed with MetaVR VRSG software, as agreed by both parties and provided by the quotation terms and conditions.

Requirements for customer-supplied source imagery

If your site already has source imagery data you want us to use for 3D terrain construction, the data must be provided as follows:

  • In GeoTIFF format, with individual GeoTIFF images forming a mosaic that covers the AOI. GEOTIFFs are comprised of three visible R, G, B bands.

  • Orthorectified to the WGS1984 geographic coordinate system, with WGS1984 datum.

  • Color balanced with natural (RGB) color, maintaining color consistency across the entire AOI as a visually seamless mosaic. The mosaic should have less than 2% cloud cover and be free of prominent seams and haze.

Aerial imagery collected by MetaVR’s remotely piloted portable aircraft

Aerial imagery collected by the MetaVRC can also be ordered from MetaVR by specifying the area of interest, such as an airfield. You can order raw collected data, orthorectified imagery, or a dataset of terrain tiles built with the imagery in MetaVR’s round-earth terrain format, delivered with a VRSG or MetaVR Terrain Tools software license. Access to the area of interest for aerial photography must be in accordance with FAA regulations. Customers will be responsible for obtaining the necessary authorization and certified access to operate within the particular area of interest for aerial photography. For commercial purposes, a remote controlled aircraft in the national airspace is permitted to fly only in Restricted Airspace, or in airspace that has a certified Certificate of Authorization. Flying an aircraft in either types of airspace requires the prior authorization of the airspace owner(s).

To request a quote for a 3D terrain product, contact MetaVR.

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