Day: October 30, 2023

Creating World-Class 3D Animations and Visual Experiences with WebGL, ArcGIS API, Three.js, and D3

WebGL and 3D Animation

Using WebGL, we can create world-class 3D globes and maps with the best performance, precision, visual quality, and usability. It also supports a broad range of browsers, including mobile devices.

The most common approach to 3D is to use flat symbols, such as spheres and cuboids. These perform the best in a web scene.

ArcGIS API for JavaScript

Since its original release, the ArcGIS API for JavaScript has been used to build web mapping applications in dozens of industries. In 2016, Esri released a new version, version 4 (also known as ArcGIS Maps SDK for JavaScript or just JavaScript Maps), with redesigned and modernized capabilities.

The new API offers more dynamic and rich cartographic experiences for users. For example, developers can now use the API’s 3D capabilities to stream in terrain, basemaps, imagery, features and 3D object scene layers. They can also use 3D rendering capabilities such as a color, size or opacity renderer to thematically represent data like population or the width of a tree canopy.

Using the API’s new widget framework, developers can integrate it into their own development frameworks such as Ember or React. The API also supports local builds for deployment in development environments. The API’s classes are grouped into modules with one-to-one relationships. Class information is retrieved by typing all or part of the class name in the search box on this page.


The WebGL API brings 3D graphics to the Internet, allowing websites and applications to use hardware acceleration for better performance. It eliminates the need for specialized plugins, making it a great choice for businesses and developers who want to create immersive visual experiences.

WebGL uses a programming language called GLSL ([Open] GL Shading Language) to control the computer’s Graphic Processing Unit to draw 3D graphics in HTML5 documents using the canvas> element. This API is supported by all major browsers, and it works across operating systems and devices.

One of the biggest advantages of WebGL is its compatibility with a wide range of browsers and platforms. It can be used on desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. This is especially useful for companies with global reach who need to support a wide range of users. In addition, the API is easy to integrate into existing web pages and applications. It also provides a way to increase user engagement by providing a more interactive experience.


If you are a developer with some basic Javascript knowledge, you can create incredible 3D animations. ThreeJS is the API that makes this possible, and it takes all the complex stuff out of it for you. All you need to do is add a few simple lines of code.

Objects in the scene are arranged in a tree-like structure. The root of the tree is called the scene, and the render method is passed it along with a camera object. The camera has a set of properties that determine how the objects in the scene are positioned.

The camera’s target property is a Vector3 that represents the direction in which the camera is looking. The target property is copied from the parent camera, so you can use this to set the direction of the child object.


D3 is a high-level JavaScript library and API that lets you render 3D computer graphics in a web browser. It supports a wide variety of data visualization and interaction techniques. It’s a great choice for creating visual info reports, responsive bullet charts, sunburst diagrams, and artworks.

D3 can also be used to create world-class 3D globes and maps with the highest performance, precision, and visual quality. It’s designed for robust interoperability and scales to massive datasets.

Unlike other SVG-based charts, d3 uses the browser’s coordinate system to draw vector shapes on a precise coordinate grid. It has a rich library of functions for creating custom visualizations and animations, such as radial gradients or spherical arcs. It can also be used with jQuery to add dynamic effects and transitions. Its functional style allows code reuse through a collection of official and community-developed modules.

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