Virtual 3D City Maps Assist Urban Planning
An innovative new synthesis of mapping technology and video game engineering is arming urban planners with “god-like” tools to create the cities of the future, according to Esri Australia’s 3D geospatial specialist Leonard Olyott.
Speaking at this week’s Transport and Main Roads Spatial Science Symposium, which covered geospatial applications in GIS, cartography, surveying and asset management, Mr Olyott said design software with roots in video game engineering has been incorporated with geospatial technology to drive a new era of urban planning.
“Computing advancements in the gaming industry have driven our ability to take GIS technology into a 3D environment,” Mr Olyott said.
“The result is tools like Esri CityEngine, which when populated with geographical data – such as building and road locations – can model the impact of natural and man-made phenomenon on urban infrastructure.
“They enable planners to simulate how ‘acts of God’ such as flooding, fire or earthquakes could affect a city and create designs that minimise impacts and produce safer urban environments.
Mr Olyott said it was fitting that this week’s symposium was hosted in Brisbane, where the local council has been using CityEngine to create a virtual 3D map of the city to assist in developing its urban planning program.
“Brisbane City Council is at the national forefront of geodesign with its Virtual Brisbane program – a photo-realistic 3D platform that helps visualise proposed planning concepts,” Mr Olyott said.
In addressing the delegation of the state’s leading transport infrastructure professionals, Mr Olyott also highlighted a new virtual reality innovation called reality-indexing – which allows organisations to manage assets remotely using 3D geospatial software.
“Reality-indexing systems take the 2D ‘street-view’ concept we are all familiar with from GoogleMaps one step further by adding the third dimension of depth to create dynamic virtual worlds,” Mr Olyott said.
“This enables organisations to perform audits on assets such as trees, post boxes or roads from personal computers, removing the need to travel into the field – which of course can lead to enormous efficiency, safety and budget savings.”