File Formats

AusGeol geological visualisations currently cannot  be displayed within the AusGeol website.

All Ausgeol visualisations are  available for download and local display using third party software. 

1. Metadata

Geological metadata for each visualisation is generated from the database and stored in an html file that is automatically downloaded with the visualisation file as an ASCII text file in html format (will open automatically in a web browser). Metadata includes location information, site description, keywords, lithological information and stratigraphic data (see the full description of the metadata structure on the Metadata tab metadata ).

Note: Confirmation to allow download of multiple files may be required in your web browser.


2. 3D Texture-Rendered Models  - VisTypes : 3D, Pole and UAV

3D models are created by digital photogrammetric methods using Photoscan software. They may have been generated from terrestrial photography (3D), pole photography (Pole) or UAV imagery (UAV) but the file formats are the same irrespective of the mode of image capture. These models include a triangulated mesh that records the geometry of the outcrop together with a texture map image. In some formats these two components are combined into a single file while in other formats there are two files.

The supported 3D formats are:


Photoscan project files are the primary file format for 3D models. They have the extension _np.psz. These files can only be opened using Photoscan (link to photoscan). Photoscan projects are set up for display only and have had the photos removed so that users cannot inadvertently reinitialise or reprocess the model through the Photoscan workflow menu option.

Photoscan files can be very large but they have the highest spatial resolution and Photoscan has a very responsive and easy to use 3D view environment.


Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) allows display of 3D content in Adobe Acrobat Reader (link to acrobat download). PDF format does not support georeferenced models and models are in an arbitrary coordinate system.

The full resolution 3D PDF file has a .PDF extension.

The lower resolution version of the same model has a _lowres.PDF extension. The low resolution  files have a reduced number of triangles in the model and a lower resolution texture map. Despite these limitations, geological features are generally reasonably displayed and these small files are probably the best format for quick examination of a model.

Note: The PDF viewer within Google Chrome does not support 3D content. You will need to save the file onto your hard drive and open it using Adobe Reader.


Collada is a common exchange format for 3D models and can be read by a range of 3D display and design software. The Collada format consists of two files which are combined within a zip archive for download.

Google KMZ

3D models in Google KMZ format can be opened and visualised in Google Earth. KMZ files are fully georeferenced and consist of an embedded model and texture map (in Collada format) together with location and orientation information.

KMZ format is also used by the new freeware GeoPlanes structural analysis software (link to geoplanes).

Note: In Google Earth AusGeol 3D KMZ files often display beneath the topographic surface and hence are initially not visible. The vertical position of the model can be adjusted in Google Earth by right clicking on the KMZ file in the side-pane, selecting properties and adjusting the altitude from the altitude tab.


3. Full Spherical Panoramas - VisType : FSP

Jpeg Images

Full spherical panoramas are stored as standard jpeg images with file names ending in FSP.jpg. These images show the view from a single location that spans 360 degrees horizontally and 180 degrees vertically. They have typically been generated by stitching together multiple images acquired using a tripod, panorama head and a fisheye lense. If you open these files in a normal image viewer they will appear as highly distorted views of the outcrop. Special software is required to view these images as spherical panoramas. We suggest that you use the free FSP viewer  (


4. Deep Zoom Imagery VisTypes: GIGA, 3D

Deep zoom / high pixel count imagery is generated by stitching together many individual images to create a single composite image that may have billions of pixels. These composite images depict the geology of an entire outcrop but also allow deep zoom to show small scale features.

Deep zoom images are generated either using a gigapan robotic camera head and a large focal length lense (GIGA) or alternatively as orthoimages produced as a by-product of digital photogrammetry.

There is a subtle difference between these two types of image. Gigapan images show a high-resolution view from a single location whereas orthoimages are composed of pixels imaged selected from imagery orthogonal to a selected image plane.

Jpeg Images

Jpeg format (_giga.jpg or _ortho.jpg) is OK for 'small' deep zoom image files but very large jpeg files may not display in some viewers and may be slow for zoom and pan operations. Jpeg format does not allow for images with more than 65536 columns or rows.

Enhanced Compression Wavelet (ECW)

ECW format files (_giga.ecw or _ortho.ecw) are commonly used for geophysical and satellite datasets and are typically much smaller than jpeg files for the same image with a comparable level of detail. ECW imagery is designed for easy, rapid zoom and pan operations. ECW files can be opened in a number of image viewers but we recommend installation of the free software, ERViewer to view these files ( ECW files may also be georeferenced.


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