SIGGRAPH 2017 Trip Report


It was another fantastic year for Cesium at SIGGRAPH 2017. SIGGRAPH is the premier annual computer graphics conference. Here’s a roundup of all Cesium contributions and Cesium-related events at SIGGRAPH 2017.

Cartographics Visualization (Carto) BOF

The Carto BOF, organized by Theresa-Marie Rhyne, was the first of many events where the Cesium team presented. This year marks the fifth SIGGRAPH that Cesium has been invited. Patrick Cozzi presented a year in review as well as the future of Cesium and 3D Tiles. Rachel Hwang showed off the Cesium Drone Racing Arcade Game developed in partnership with Venturi Labs, a University of Pennsylvania game incubator.

Patrick presenting at the Carto BOF. Thanks to Theresa-Marie Rhyne for the picture.

The slides are here.

Cesium BOF

The Cesium BOF event, now in its fifth year, saw an unprecedented number of attendees. Patrick kicked off the Cesium BOF by delivering Ceisum’s State of the Union address. He spoke about the current state of Cesium and laid the foundation for the upcoming features in Cesium. He also discussed ideas for the next generation of 3D Tiles.

Patrick delivering Cesium's State of the Union address.

AGI’s Ed Mackey demonstrated how AGI’s ComSpOC uses Cesium to track satellites with examples of the recent Echostar and AMC-9 anomalies.

Cesium’s Sarah Chow demonstrated Christopher Clark’s is a tool developed using Cesium to visualize solar eclipse across the United States and around the world. A surprisingly large number of eclipse-goers were in the attendance.

Rachel Hwang demoed the Cesium drone racing game. The game will be present in its arcade form at the FOSS4G conference in Boston next week.

Esri’s Tamrat Belayneh previewed Esri’s I3S format in Cesium using the 3D Portrayal Service by HFT Stuttgart.

NASA JPL’s Alex Menzies stole the show with an incredible demonstration of NASA using 3D Tiles to visualize the surface of Mars in Unity. NASA plans to make the Unity 3D Tiles renderer open source!

NASA generates 3D Tiles from photogrammetry models from the Curiosity rover’s images. This will allow the rover’s pilots to navigate the Martian surface by visualizing it in full 3D. Alex also demonstrated how NASA can visualize the history of surface features on Mars by cataloging all the images the feature appears in.

Following the Cesium BOF, we hosted a luncheon at the Wokano restaurant in downtown Los Angeles.

Khronos BOFs

The Cesium team joined the WebGL dinner organized by Mauricio Vives. Developers from Khronos, Google, Cesium, NVIDIA, Uber, and others talked about WebGL, glTF, and other fun tech.

Cesium team at the WebGL dinner. Thanks to Mauricio Vives for the picture.


This year marked the first time Khronos hosted a dedicated glTF BOF. Patrick Cozzi, as the 3D Formats Working Group Chair, and Tony Parisi, co-editor of the glTF specification, kicked off the BOF with an overview of the glTF 2.0 standard and ecosystem updates.

Thanks to Neil Trevett for the picture.

Ed Mackey presented the glTF extension for VS Code with preview, validation, and editor capabilities. Ed also showed the first and only astronomically accurate atmospheric reflections using the glTF 2.0 PBR implementation in Cesium!

Microsoft's Saurabh Bhatia and Gary Hsu show a glTF model of Suzanne in Mixed Reality.

Microsoft presented how glTF is at the core of their push into 3D with glTF support in Paint 3D, View 3D, Microsoft Office, and Mixed Reality applications! A glTF exporter is now built into Minecraft to export all your creations.

Google's Jamieson Brettle presents the performance improvements to glTF using Draco.

Google’s Michael Hemmer and Jamieson Brettle introduced geometry compression on the web with Draco. A Draco extension for glTF is in progress.

Sketchfab is now offering glTF as a download format for their entire website, making them the largest repository of glTF files online.

Scott Nagy (Microsoft) and Mohamad Moneimne (Cesium) presented the WebGL PBR reference implementation for glTF 2.0.

Other presenters included Autodesk, Three.js, A-Frame, and InstantYV.

The growth of the glTF ecosystem and software tools has been extremely encouraging. With the glTF 2.0 release, glTF is now one step closer to its goal of being the “JPEG for 3D.”

Watch the glTF BOF video on YouTube.


The WebGL BOF had 10 speakers from Khronos, ShaderToy, PlayCanvas, Google, BioDigital, Microsoft, Three.js, Sketchfab, Mozilla, and Uber. Ken Russell, the Working Group Chair, presented updates on the WebGL ecosystems, WebGL 2.0 adoption, and software tools. There have been great strides in VR, rendering, and developer tools.

Thanks to Khronos and Mauricio Vives for the pictures.

The common denominator for all companies has been how versatile WebGL development has become and its adoption in browser is enabling a wide variety of applications to do 3D visualizations.

Watch the WebGL BOF video on YouTube.

Khronos After Party

Thanks to Khronos and Mauricio Vives for the pictures.

Khronos hosted an after party sponsored by Cesium and NVIDIA. We had a great time meeting folks from various backgrounds. The Cesium Drone Acrade Game made a splash too and was a hit at the party.

glTF Roadmap Meeting

The glTF roadmap meeting was an invite-only event organized by Khronos to get input on the future of glTF. There was lots of positive enegry and momentum.

Thanks to Khronos and Mauricio Vives for the pictures.

Cesium’s presence at SIGGRAPH has been growing, and the community’s contributions are remarkable. The buzz around Cesium and 3D Tiles was palpable and has made us very excited for all the work we have planned. It was also great to hear from Cesium and 3D graphics developers—especially from companies that are working on making the ecosystem ubiquitous and developers who are enabling them.

We are extremely excited to make great strides in the work of 3D mapping. The Cesium team will next be at the FOSS4G conference in Boston August 14–18. Head over to the Cesium at FOSS4G blog post to see all the Cesium-related events.