Software Development
Data / Gaming / Software / Technology

Cesium and Epic Games just launched an open-source tool for building ‘accurate’ digital worlds

The Center City-based 3D geospatial company teamed up with the Fortnite creator for Cesium for Unreal, a free plugin that delivers high-resolution 3D geospatial tech and real-world data for any type of application.

A Cesium for Unreal plane in Melbourne. (Courtesy image)

Center City-based 3D geospatial company Cesium announced Tuesday that it had collaborated with Fortnite creator Epic Games to release Cesium for Unreal, a free, open-source plugin that delivers high-resolution 3D geospatial technology and real-world data for any type of application.

The plugin uses Unreal Engine, a real-time 3D tool from Epic Games, as well as 3D content from cameras and LIDAR sensors on satellites, drones and intelligent machines that allows software and game developers to create interactive, virtual worlds.

The plugin essentially bridges the divide between 3D geospatial software — Cesium’s specialty — with everything game engines are capable of, like creating visually beautiful settings with characters interacting in the scene, said Andie Tursi, Cesium’s director of marketing and communications.

These digital worlds can now be created in Unreal Engine using location data from satellites and drones. Video game settings could mirror real-life locations, “accurate down to the doorknobs and represented in its precise location on the earth,” Tursi said.

The company said in a statement that the plugin is a step toward a future where global-scale 3D applications with pinpoint precision are ubiquitous across a variety of different industries. The company sees geospatial data being implemented in training and simulation, architecture, engineering and construction, film and television, and broadcast and live events.

“We’ve long believed in the potential for innovation at the intersection of the 3D geospatial and computer graphics ecosystems,” CEO Patrick Cozzi said in the statement. “Cesium for Unreal is a monumental step in bridging decades of advancements in these technologies.”

Outside of web developers, the company anticipates the plugin to be able to be used across different industries and by the government. It will require “some knowhow,” Tursi told, but the company offers tutorials for beginners on its site.

Cesium currently works with industries such as aerospace, automotive and transportation, drones and commercial real-estate. Check out a recent project with the Smithsonian Institution on its Open Access Initiative to make potentially hundreds of thousands of 3D images shareable with the public.

As of Tuesday, Cesium for Unreal is available for free download on the Unreal Engine Marketplace. It includes integration with Cesium ion, the company’s scalable cloud-based platform for 3D geospatial data.

“Cesium’s expertise in cloud-based geospatial software applications and leadership on open standards for streaming massive 3D content makes them an ideal partner to support Epic’s vision for an open Metaverse,” said Marc Petit, VP and general manager of Unreal Engine at Epic Games, in a statement.

Companies: Cesium / Epic Games

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