qgis qgis3d

How to View Buildings in QGIS3D

With support for QGIS3D canvas, you can represent your vectors in a number of ways. In this post, we will walk you through how to render vectors as 3D objects.


You can use CityGML or ESRI Multipatch, where the height of buildings are stored within the feature. For the purpose of this example, we are going to view New York buildings using ESRI Multipatch format. You can download the data from here:


After unziping the file, you will have several gdb files. You can use GDAL/OGR to convert gdb to Geopackage (or ESRI Shapefile). We should also convert the geometry type from multipatch to multipolygon. In Microsoft Windows gdal/ogr commands are available from the OSGEO4W command line.

ogr2ogr -f GPKG ny_buildings3d.gpkg DA1_3D_Buildings_Multipatch.gdb -nlt multipolygon

You can append the remaining gdb files to the existing Geopackage:

ogr2ogr -append -f GPKG ny_buildings3d.gpkg DA2_3D_Buildings_Multipatch.gdb -nlt multipolygon

Alternatively, you can write a simple batch script to loop through the files.

Note: we used gdal/ogr from trunk (2.3.0dev).

If you know of any other data sources, please send us an email so we can compile a full list of supported formats.

Viewing data

To be able to use QGIS3D, you need to install the latest version of QGIS using OSGEO4W or other installer for your platform.

Add the Geopackage containing the buildings to your QGIS. In QGIS, from the main menu, click on View > New 3D Map View

A new view, similar to your 2D canvas will be added to the bottom of your canvas. To be able to extrude the buildings, we need to enable 3D styling of the building layer.

Ensure your Style panel is enabled (this is usually located on the right hand side of the canvas). Select 3D View tab and tick the box for Enable 3D renderer for building layer.

Vector 3D styling

To navigate in 3D canvas, you can use Shift key + the wheel button on your mouse device.

3D view