Navigating 3D Mode in cove.tool

How do I use the Daylight and Site Context Feature?

Patrick Chopson avatar
Written by Patrick Chopson
Updated over a week ago

Like any other 3D platform, cove.tool has it's own toolset and workflow. Below is a step-by-step breakdown of each capability.


Once your project is set up and you have passed through the workflow of the geometry page, you can start your daylight analysis on the 3D analysis page.

3D Analysis Page

cove.tool's 3D visualization page includes 5 major features. The sDA daylight-map, the ASE glare-map, a point-in-time shadow tool, radiation-map, and site context. This article will focus on navigating these tools using the 3D interface. For assumptions and methodology for each simulation please click the respective article hyperlinks to learn more.

Interface Navigation

Keyboard and Mouse Movement

  • Mouse Right-Hold: for panning around the environment, also known as orbit.

  • Mouse Left-Hold: to move around the scene, also known as drag.

  • Mouse Wheel: zoom in and out of the scene

  • Keyboard Shortcuts: N/A

Buttons on the model-space screen

  • TopLeft Screen, 3D/2D Button: Orient camera to top(plan) or 3D view

  • TopLeft Screen, Snapshot Button: Download image as .png file, more here.

  • TopLeft Screen, Labels Toggle: Toggle visibility of text labels on the map

  • TopRight Screen, Plus/Minus Button: Zoom in and Zoom out

  • TopRight Screen, North Arrow (indicator/button): reset bearing to North

  • Top Right, Edit Scene (Pencil Icon): Activate scene editing mode. Note that activating editing mode will disable the ability to move around the scene.

> Enabling the Edit Scene mode will reveal 2 additional buttons.

  • TopRight, Move Button: Translation Control. Once this button enabled, a gumball control will appear above your building. Dragging the pink square will allow users to move their models free of guides re. Users can also use the blue or red arrow-vectors to move their buildings on the x-axis and y-axis.

  • TopRight, Rotate Button: Rotation Mode. Once this button enabled, a green circle-control will appear above your building. Dragging along the circle will manually rotate the building. To type in a 0-359 degree change, while the rotate button is activated, users can type in an angle on the rotation angle input at the BottomRight corner of the control panel.

Daylight Control Panel Capabilities

Capabilities and interface of the right-hand control panel will change as different Analysis Types are active. The following two sections will display under all types.

  • Top, Analysis Type: Displays 3D analysis for Shadow, COVID, sDA, ASE, or Radiation.

  • Middle, Element Selection: Toggle the visibility of 11 visual categories. Exterior Walls, Interior Walls, Roofs, Windows, Skylights, Floors, Shading Devices, Context Buildings, Context Map, Property Lines, and Analysis Grid.


  • 2ndToTop, Date: Calender date for shadow study

  • 3rdToTop, Time: Time of day for shadow study


  • Top, LEED Metrics & Percentage sDA/ASE: Whole Building Results

  • 2ndToTop, Floors: All Levels which have been analyzed for sDA & ASE

  • BelowFloors, Select All checkbox: Select/Deselect all analysis levels

  • BelowFloors, Blue Eplise: Toggle visibility for each analysis level

  • 4thToTop, Legend: Compare grid point color's to analysis results

  • Bottom, Settings: Analysis Controls

  • BelowSettings, Grid Size Input: Extent of analysis detail (2ft limit)

  • BelowSettings, Glass Transmittance: VT%, VLT, or Visual Transmittance of Glazing

  • BelowSettings, Rotation Angle Input: Rotation factor in degrees clockwise

  • Last, Recalculate button: Rerun simulation with changes to data

Assumptions & Methodology

Find our sources and calculation methods in the following articles


1. Can I save my camera angle (view)?

Yes, you can now click on the video camera button on the top right corner of your 3D analysis window to save multiple view angles. Check out this article for more details.

2. How can I edit the global map, beyond deleting and resizing the buildings?

Users can change the global map by going to OpenStreetMap. Login, or if this is your first time, create an account. Once in the app, watch the tutorial series to see how new buildings can be created, or edit existing models. Once you complete the changes, it will take 24 hours to be added to the global OpenSteetMap's database. After this reload your cove.tool browser and see the newly updated context buildings.

3. Can I export the context buildings?

You can use the "download" button at the top left of the 3D Analysis page to download your project geometry and the context geometry as an .obj file. You can also retrieve this data from OpenStreetMaps.

4. How do I see all the buildings available in cove.tool without uploading a model?

To just see which locations have context modeled, visit Enter your building location and see what context is readily available.

5. Can I run a daylight/glare/shadow simulation without the site context?

This would yield an extremely inaccurate simulation and it is highly discouraged. Context is a crucial part of the energy and daylight aspects of the building's overall performance. Do not do this. If absolutely necessary, locate your building at the airport, or open land area near an airport.

6. How do I export a report from this page? For each analysis?

Check out this article for steps on exporting images for a report.

7. Will uploading new geometry require me to redo the changes I have made to my site? ex. If I deleted building or changed some heights.

No, Uploading new geometry won't change the altered context. If you want to reset the context, re-enter the building address and the map will reset to the default import.

8. What to do if a context building is incorrect? How to edit the shape of the building?

Context buildings are pre-generated in covetool through OpenStreetMaps. To edit the context building, open the edit mode using the pencil icon and select the context building. However, in 3D Analysis, you can only edit the height of the building, in order to make significant changes to it, we recommend you delete that context building and export the context building as part of the shading devices layer from your 3D application. Edits can also be made to the OpenStreetMaps database as well.

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