Tiling Photogrammetry Models

Cesium ion allows you to tile large photogrammetry or LiDAR-derived meshes into 3D Tiles — so you can share them on the web without simplifying them. This guide explains how.

If you have other 3D models like BIM/CAD, see the 3D models upload guide.

Photogrammetry of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA, visualized in CesiumJS.


Cesium ion is an open platform for tiling and hosting. It will serve your photogrammetry as 3D Tiles to any compatible client, like CesiumJS.

Sign up for a free Cesium ion account.

Supported formats

Format File extensions
Wavefront OBJ .obj
Filmbox .fbx
Digital Asset Exchange .dae
glTF .gltf
Binary glTF .glb
  • Files may be zipped.
  • Your model must use local coordinates (the geometry must be centered around the origin).
  • Units are assumed to be in meters.


Cesium ion tiles your model into 3D Tiles when you upload it. Here’s a sample photogrammetry model you can download to try this out.

  1. On the My Assets tab of Cesium ion, press Add Data to upload your model.
  2. Select 3D Capture.

Add multiple models at the same time to merge them into a single 3D Tileset.

Press Add Data to upload and tile your photogrammetry models.


The easiest way to visualize and share your asset is using Cesium Stories.

  1. In the Stories tab, click New Story.
  2. Under Assets, click the Add asset button and choose your asset.
  3. Click on the zoom button (magnifying glass) to go to your asset in the scene. Adjust the view to your liking.
  4. Click on Capture view to save the view.
  5. Click Share and give your story a name.

You can now share your data in an interactive scene! Learn more about Stories with this tutorial.

Use your asset in a custom app

When you click on an asset in My Assets, you’ll see a preview panel on the right side of the screen.

  • The preview panel displays the asset ID, which you’ll need for loading this asset in CesiumJS or other engines.
  • You’ll find a code snippet for loading this asset in CesiumJS at the bottom of this panel.
  • Click Open complete code example to see your asset in Sandcastle.

You’ll find a code example for adding this asset to your CesiumJS app at the bottom of the asset preview window.

Learn how to set up a CesiumJS app with the quickstart guide.


If your model is not georeferenced, there are a couple ways you can place it at the right location on the globe.


  • If your model geometry is in a geographic coordinate system, you’ll need to reproject it to a local reference frame before uploading.
  • 3D Tiles allows you to stream massive models to any device by only loading in higher levels of detail when you zoom in.
    • Control the quality in your CesiumJS app with the maximumScreenSpaceError parameter. A lower value means higher quality at the expense of using more resources.