A new 3D technology that is transforming the urban development of major cities around the world has hit Australian shores – and will be unveiled by one of the experts developing it at the region’s leading spatial technology conference.
Eric Wittner, a lead software engineer at global Geographic Information System (GIS) technology giant Esri, is in Australia to unveil CityEngine – a technology that enables users to foresee how cities will look as they grow and develop. Mr Wittner, who will be delivering a keynote at Ozri 2012, said many Australian urban centres, including Sydney and Melbourne, already had the geographic data needed to start generating detailed 3D digital cities with the technology. “This new generation of smart 3D GIS enables us to represent, design, build and develop with clarity and understanding,” Mr Wittner said. “For the first time, we can do more than just speculate on the alternate futures of our cities… this technology gives us the ability to depict, visualise, and assess the future to find the best possible design.
“CityEngine has a range of advanced features that has already made it a powerful tool in the transformation of major cities in China, the US and Europe. “For example, the city models can be used to assess heat island effects of yet unbuilt developments, as well as visualise their impact on the existing skyline from multiple points of view. “The good news is Australia’s cities are amongst the most advanced in the world when it comes to using GIS technology for planning, and many – including Sydney and Melbourne – are in a position to start using this technology today.” Mr Wittner said a key advantage of the technology – which is also widely used in architecture, simulation, game development and film production – is it gives urban designers the tools to construct ‘what-if’ scenarios.
“As population rates boom, planners are being forced to make cities denser and incorporate more mass transit system capabilities,” Mr Wittner said. “Smart 3D solutions such as CityEngine can produce a ‘real life’ visualisation of how a city would look before and after urban developments, such as light rail infrastructure or higher residential buildings, to show the impacts on a range of areas including carbon footprints, water usage and traffic congestion. “Multiple scenarios can be played out to see what would happen if certain development paths were taken or not taken – which helps to refine decision-making and choose the most successful path forward. “This approach also helps improve community and stakeholder engagement – as the results can be shown before development takes place, to gauge response and feedback.” While in the country for Ozri, Mr Wittner will be conducting demonstrations of the technology, showing users how to easily build virtual 3D cities, visualise change, and conduct powerful analysis at previously unseen levels of detail.
Hosted by Esri Australia, the market leader in Australia’s $2.1 billion spatial industry, Ozri 2012 is the largest GIS conference in the Asia Pacific. Mr Wittner will be available for media opportunities in Sydney from 5 - 7 September. Visit www.esriaustralia.com.au/ozri for further information.