Uploading Data to Cesium ion

For a quick start on getting your data into Cesium ion, start with one of these guides:

If you’re looking for more in-depth information about the types of assets Cesium ion serves, supported file formats, and how to upload your data, read on below.

Data pipeline

  • When you upload data to Cesium ion, it is tiled into 3D Tiles for 3D content, or WMTS/TMS for imagery.
  • Vector files (KML, GeoJSON, or CZML) and small glTF files can be served as-is.
  • The upload options you choose determine which asset type is created. Cesium ion optimizes each asset type for typical usage in 3D geospatial applications.
  • Data can be uploaded through the REST API to automate your pipeline.
  • Similarly, the tiled data can be viewed in clients like CesiumJS that have built-in support for Cesium ion, or accessed directly through the REST API.

Cesium ion asset types

Cesium ion accepts a variety data formats and serves them as one of five types of assets:

3D Tiles An open specification for streaming massive heterogeneous 3D geospatial datasets. Check out Introducing 3D Tiles to learn more.
Imagery TMS and WMTS layers created from raster imagery.
Terrain A quantized-mesh tileset created from raster terrain.
glTF A binary glTF model.
Native The data is not processed by the tiling pipeline and is hosted in the same format it was uploaded as.

Supported data formats

The following table lists accepted data formats and their corresponding asset types:

Format 3D Tiles Terrain Imagery glTF Native
Zip Archive (.zip)  
glTF (.gltf, .glb)      
Filmbox (.fbx)      
CityGML (.citygml, .xml, .gml)        
CZML (.czml)        
GeoJSON (.json, .geojson, .topojson)        
KML (.kml, .kmz)      
LASer (.las, .laz)        
COLLADA (.dae)      
Wavefront OBJ (.obj)      
Floating Point Raster (.flt)      
Arc/Info ASCII Grid (.asc)      
Source Map (.src)      
GeoTIFF (.tiff, .tif)      
Erdas Imagine (.img)      
USGS ASCII DEM and CDED (.dem)      
JPEG (.jpg, .jpeg)        
PNG (.png)        
Cesium Terrain Database (.terraindb)        

While not listed in the above table, raster sidecar files (.aux.xml, .tab, .tfw, .wld, .prj, .ovr, .rrd, etc.) and model textures, (.jpg, .png, .bmp, .tga, .dds, etc.) are also supported. When in doubt, upload any additional files that came with your data.

We’re always adding support for more types of data. If you have a format you’d like us to support, let us know on the forum!

Upload instructions

  1. In Cesium ion on the My Assets tab, choose Add data.
  2. Select one or more files and push Open.
    • You can continue to add more files, and they will all be uploaded using the same pipeline options.
    • If you add multiple models at the same time, they will be merged into a single asset.
  3. Set the upload options using the information in the table below.
  4. After upload, if required, you can edit your data’s position, orientation, and scale using the location editor.
Source data "Kind of data" option to select Resulting asset type Upload options
Photogrammetry or LiDAR-derived mesh 3D Capture 3D Tiles
  • Draco compression
  • WebP Compression

Can be used with the location editor.

Point clouds Point Cloud 3D Tiles
  • Draco compression

Can be used with the location editor.

3D buildings (KML/COLLADA) KML/COLLADA (tile as 3D Tiles) 3D Tiles
  • Draco compression
  • Reference terrain (used to determine the height of features so they match the terrain you plan to use in your application)
3D buildings (CityGML) CityGML 3D Tile
  • Draco compression
  • Ignore colors
  • Ignore textures
  • Clamp to terrain
  • Clamp to terrain layer (if clamp to terrain is selected)
BIM, CAD, or generic 3D models 3D Model (tile as 3D Tiles) 3D Tiles

Can be used with the location editor.

Simple 3D models
  • For simple models that don't need to be tiled.
3D Model (convert to glTF) glTF
  • Optimize for rendering
  • Draco compression
Imagery (maps) Raster Imagery Imagery (TMS and WMTS)
Terrain (heightmaps) Raster Terrain Terrain (quantized-mesh)
  • Base terrain (terrain with which your raster data will be combined)
  • Height unit (the unit for the heights in the source data)
  • Height reference (the surface from which heights in the source data are measured)
Any data already in 3D Tiles 3D Tiles 3D Tiles
KML, CZML, or GeoJSON KML, CZML, or GeoJSON (host without tiling) Native

Have a question?

The Cesium community forum is the fastest way to get an answer from the Cesium team.