shapeViewer is a scientific software first designed to display a 3D shape of an asteroid from a ".shape" or ".ver" file as defined by the database of asteroids models DAMIT. It rapidly evolved into a more versatile tool which let the user visualize all shapes in 3D in an interactive environment and provides several tools to support geomorphological investigation.
It has been used for planning and scientific analysis in the Rosetta and Dawn missions since 2010.


  • 3D display of the shape using photometric functions for realistic rendering,
  • projection of images on the shape,
  • orient the shape according to SPICE kernels,
  • retrieve observation geometry and solar elevation,
  • visualize interactively the changes of illumination as the object rotates,
  • calculate and display gravity field at the surface,
  • view and export cylindrical maps and orthographic maps,
  • measure distances, areas,
  • extract topographic profiles,
  • ...

Other videos

Accurate simulation of images acquired with Rosetta's cameras (NavCam, OSIRIS NAC, OSIRIS WAC)

NavCam image acquired
on 2016-02-10

shapeViewer simulation
of the same view

NavCam image acquired
on 2016-09-18

Simulated WAC field of view,
with NavCam outline

Various map projections and data visualizations:

Equatorial map of illumination
on 2014-08-06T02:19:14

Azimuthal North map of illumination
on 2014-08-06T02:19:14

Gravitational slopes
on the 3D model

Projected NAC color data
from Oklay et al, A&A (2016)

Download and install

shapeViewer is currently distibuted for Windows systems only.
It is provided as a single zip file. Extract it in the folder of your choice, and run the shapeViewer.exe executable file.
A graphic card supporting at least OpenGL 2.0 is necessary (usually true if your computer was built after 2004).


Latest changelog (complete list in User Manual)

2017/11/30: Release 2.9.6 2017/11/15: Release 2.9.5 To be notified of new releases, send an email to shapeviewer-subscribe[at]comet-toolbox.com.


I kindly ask each publication making use of shapeViewer to include the following acknowledgement:

This research has made use of the scientific software shapeViewer (www.comet-toolbox.com).

Additional information

shapeViewer is built with cross-platform libraries and can be compiled for other systems. I use a native version in Linux but do not have the time to maintain it actively for other users. Feel free to contact me if you absolutely need a Linux version. Alternatively, the Windows executable runs fine in Linux through Wine.

shapeViewer can be used to simulate images of any space mission for which SPICE kernels are available.
I have developped and used other bundles for the following missions:
These versions can be made available on request.

Dedicated builds of shapeViewer can be generated for future missions (i.e. OSIRIS-REX, Hayabusa 2, Lucy, ...), contact me fore more information.


An Android version of shapeViewer, which can display 3D models but does not provide all the analysis tools, is available for free on Google Play.