Scene lacks detail, or looks unclear/pixellated


  • Fly farther from the ground (flying mode) or zoom out (enhanced mode)
  • Use enhanced mode for more detailed topography and maps
  • Increase the scene complexity in Settings
  • If available, use a more modern device

Height above the ground

As you approach the ground, the level of details in the maps or terrain may appear too low - if this happens, try flying farther away from the ground by pinching out to fly away, or by using the "fly out" button at the top right of the map.

If you're at a map pin, or in enhanced mode, try pinching to zoom the lens out (and of course, make sure you're not simply pointed straight into the ground - you can tap the camera pitch indicator at the left of the screen to level up the view).

We hope to increase the level of detail in the scene in future releases - it's a complicated set of trade offs, somewhat governed by having to load a large amount of terrain to ensure that the lighting is correct (this is a restriction other 3D mapping apps do not face, as they don't attempt to simulate accurate lighting and shadows). Please read more background on this below.

Enhanced Mode

When you enable enhanced mode (by pressing the 'magic wand' button, or by double tapping a map pin), the app loads both topography and maps at higher levels of detail. Make sure you allow time for the additional data to be loaded and displayed (the first load of a new location on a slow network connection can take a few seconds).

The screenshots below show the difference between Flying mode and Enhanced Mode on an iPhone 7 Plus (scene complexity is set to max in Settings):

Flying Mode


Enhanced Mode2017-08-15_19.23.36.png

Increase Scene Complexity

In settings, you can adjust the scene complexity using the slider control. This is a trade off between performance, responsiveness and data/power consumption of the app versus how much detail is shown in the scene (read more).

However, between lowest and highest settings, the amount of detail can vary considerably, depending on your device type. Compare the screenshots below - made with the lowest scene complexity - with those above (highest):



Device type

Older iOS devices e.g. iPhone 5 and 6, iPad Air 1 have limited processing power and memory compared to the latest devices. For that reason the app limits the maximum selectable scene complexity based on available device RAM (which is also a good proxy for CPU power).

If you're running TPE 3D on an older device and have a newer model available, you will be able to select higher scene complexity on the newer device, generally speaking.

2016 models onwards all support highest scene complexity.


We try to balance the number of map tiles requested with providing adequate resolution. Because TPE 3D loads a significant area of terrain in order to provide accurate lighting and shadow conditions, the number of map tiles required to cover the topography is significant.

We use a level of detail algorithm to load higher zoom level map tiles (currently up to zoom level 14) closest to the camera, and lower zoom levels as you move away.

If the camera is positioned very close to the ground or to a valley wall, the map tiles may appear relatively fuzzy.

Also, if, in Enhanced Mode, you zoom the lens at distant terrain, that area may have been loaded with a lower map tile zoom level and so may appear fuzzy.

We're working on ways to improve the resolution of the map tiles we load without imposing excessive memory or network overhead on your device. It's an area of the app we expect to continue to iterate on and refine over time.

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful
Have more questions? Submit a request


Please sign in to leave a comment.
Powered by Zendesk