Understanding Elevation - 2023

MapInfo Pro Release Notes

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Product family
MapInfo > MapInfo Pro
MapInfo > MapInfo EasyLoader
MapInfo > License Server Utility
MapInfo > MapBasic
MapInfo > MapInfo Pro Advanced
Product name
MapInfo Pro
MapInfo Pro Release Notes
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Elevation in 3D maps refers to a point's vertical dimension or height on the Earth's surface or any other terrain model. It provides valuable information about the topography and relief of the landscape.

All heights are presented and input in meters.

You can visualize your vector data on a 3D map in different ways. Here are some ways for 3D and 2D tables.

3D Vector Data

Buildings (Regions) with Z values on nodes 'Use Object Z'

Building polygons with 3D values on nodes - The buildings are displayed at their z values. Each node can have its own Z. The regions are flat. It only looks good if the elevations match what is in the terrain. See the Height section in the 3D layer control. Object Z and Absolute are used.

Extruded Building polygons with 3d values on nodes

Display in 3D window extruded - The buildings are drawn at the elevation specified. There is no relation to the terrain elevation, and the height goes up (or down) from there. Use Object Z, Extrude, Absolute, and height expressions. Also use a height column from the table or a hard-coded value for the building height.

Building polygons with 3d values on nodes - treating as 2D

Polygons are draped over terrain regardless of Extrude value and Use Object Z is unchecked.
Note: The Extrude has no effect. The Absolute and Relative to Terrain options are grayed out.

If you want to extrude flat buildings or polygons, save the table as a 2D table first using Save Copy As... in MapInfo Pro.

Building polygons with 3D values on nodes - Relative to the Terrain Layer (Elevation Source)

Polygons are displayed at the elevation of terrain + Z value in nodes. The regions are flat. USe the Object Z and Relative To Terrain options.

Extruded Building polygons with 3D values on nodes relative to terrain

Polygons are displayed at the elevation of terrain + Z value in nodes with height going up (or down) from there.

Use the Object Z, Extrude, Relative To Terrain, and Height Expression options.

2D Vector Data

If you have a Terrain layer in your map, you can drape points, lines, and polygons on top of it. They follow the height of the elevation.
  • For polygons, there are several other ways to visualize them.
  • Relative to terrain - draped on top. If Absolute is used the polygon is drawn at elevation 0.
  • Polygon - relative to terrain - draped on top and extruded with height expression.
  • Polygon - absolute- starts at 0 and extruded with height expression.

Using Elevation with Raster Images

By default, a Raster image is displayed flat at an elevation of 0 (zero) meters. Make sure the Height option is selected and the height expression is 0.
Note: You can change the expression to change the elevation where the image is displayed.

The second option is to drape the image over an elevation source (terrain layer) if one exists in the 3D map.

The raster follows the elevation of the terrain layer. This is the same as when creating a new 3D map with a terrain layer, but you can also do it afterward with one or more raster images, even if the terrain layer is tiled.

Besides displaying a raster image at a flat elevation or draping it over a terrain, you can also position a raster with different Z values at each corner with a little effort.

One use case is registering a photo from a particular location and adding it to your 3D map. Using the FirstPerson view, you could position the camera to see the image from where the picture was taken.

Selecting the Override Bounds option on the image lets you specify the x,y, and z for each corner of the picture. The tooltip shows the format.

Draping 2D Tile Layers

You can display 2D Tile layers at 0 (zero) elevations or drape over an Elevation Source (Terrain Layer). This is true, even if the elevation source was created from a local raster image and not tiled.