This article will show you how to create a 3D online globe using MapTiler Desktop.
The easiest way to create an online 3D globe from an image is to prepare the texture of the whole world. The image needs to have a 2:1 aspect ratio to account for 360 degrees of longitude and 180 degrees of latitude total. In this tutorial, we'll use the "Cassini Terrestrial and Celestial Globes 1790 - 1792" dataset from the David Ramsey's website.
Rendering the map with MapTiler Desktop
First, open MapTiler Desktop and simply drag and drop the image into the application window.
In most cases, the file should contain the geolocation metadata that MapTiler Desktop will automatically parse. If that's the case, you can proceed by clicking the "Export" button. However, if your source data do not contain the geolocation information, you'll see the "No coordinates" or "No geolocation" values in the menu located in the right-hand side of the window. If that happens, choose the coordinate system from the "Coordinates" menu. Most probably, you'll want to use the WGS84 coordinate system, which can be chosen directly from the drop-down menu.
Then, set the correct geolocation for your image. To cover the whole world, choose the "Bounding box" option from the "Geolocation" menu and input the values: -180 -90 180 90.
Next, proceed click the "Export" button and choose the output format for your map. If you're not sure which one to choose, please refer to this documentation article.
Clicking the "Continue" button will take you to the page, where you can change the settings like the zoom levels or the tile format. The default values suggested by MapTiler Desktop should give satisfying results, but you can change them if you need to.
Click the "Render" button to start the rendering process. When it finishes, you'll see the preview of the generated map.
Publishing the map online
The next step of the process is to put the created map online. You can easily upload the tiles to MapTiler Cloud or any S3-compatible storage service directly from the MapTiler Desktop application. In this tutorial, we'll use the MapTiler Cloud service as it's probably the most straightforward way.
When you close the map preview, just choose the "Upload to cloud" option, and click on the "Start upload" button.
When the process finishes, you'll see the confirmation screen pop up. Clicking on the "Open in browser" button will take you to you MapTiler Cloud account in the web browser. Then, just scroll down to the "Raster tiles" section and click on the "Cesium" option.
And that's it! The opened page will contain the preview of the 3D globe as well as the example code snippet you can copy to embed the viewer in your own website.