3D Interpolation Options

3D scatter point sets are used for interpolation to other data types such as grids and meshes. Interpolation is useful for such tasks as iso-surface rendering or setting up input data for a model. Since no interpolation scheme is superior in all cases, several interpolation techniques are provided in GMS.

The basic approach to performing an interpolation is to select an appropriate interpolation scheme and interpolation parameters, and then interpolate to the desired object using one of the interpolation commands (to 3D Grid, to 3D Mesh, etc.) described below.

The interpolation options are selected using the 3D Interpolation Options dialog which is accessed through the Interp. Options command in the Interpolation menu. Once a set of options is selected, those options are used for all subsequent interpolation commands. The options in the 3D Interpolation Options dialog are as follows:

Active Data Set

Interpolation is always performed using the active data set of the active scatter point set. The active data set is normally selected in the Project Explorer. The name of the current active data set is listed at the top of the 3D Interpolation Options dialog.

If the active data set is transient then more interpolation options are available. (see Steady State vs. Transient Interpolation)

Interpolation Methods

The following methods are supported for 3D interpolation in GMS:

 Log interpolation is also supported.


Sometimes the data associated with a scatter point set will have directional tendencies.  The azimuth and horizontal anisotropy allow the user to take into account these tendencies.

Vertical Anisotropy

In 3D, vertical anisotropy is also available. In previous versions of GMS the user could enter a Z scale. Vertical anisotropy is 1 / the Z scale. This notation was changed to be consistent with Kriging.

Occasionally, scatter point sets are sampled along vertical traces. In such cases, the distances between scatter points along the vertical traces are an order of magnitude smaller than the distances between scatter points along the horizontal plane. For example, if the scatter point set was obtained from borehole data, the distance between scatter points may be a few centimeters, whereas the distance between boreholes may be several meters. This disparity in scaling causes clustering and can be a source of poor results in some interpolation methods.

The effects of clustering along vertical traces can be minimized using the vertical anisotropy option in the 3D Interpolation Options dialog. The Z coordinate of each of the scatter points is multiplied by 1 / the vertical anisotropy parameter prior to interpolation. Thus, if the vertical anisotropy parameter is less than 1.0, scatter points along the same vertical axis appear farther apart than they really are and scatter points in the same horizontal plane appear closer than they really are.  As a result, points in the same horizontal plane are given a higher relative weight than points along the Z axis. This can result in improved accuracy, especially in cases where the horizontal correlation between scatter points is expected to be greater than the vertical correlation (which is typically the case in soils since soils are deposited in horizontal layers).

Default Extrapolation Value

If the Natural neighbor option is selected and if the Extrapolate beyond convex hull option is selected in the Natural Neighbor Interpolation Options dialog, the Default extrapolation value is assigned to all points outside the convex hull of the scatter points.


When interpolating a set of values, it is sometimes useful to limit the interpolated values to lie between a minimum and maximum value. For example, when interpolating contaminant concentrations, a negative value of concentration is meaningless. However, many interpolation schemes will produce negative values even if all of the scatter points have positive values. This occurs in areas where the trend in the data is toward a zero value. The interpolation may extend the trend beyond a zero value into the negative range. In such cases it is useful to limit the minimum interpolated value to zero. Interpolated values can be limited to a given range by selecting the Truncate values option in the 3D Interpolation Options dialog.

Related Links:
Interpolating with 3D Scatter Points

Interpolating with 2D Scatter Points