Lidar & Point Clouds in CityEngine? A quick workflow (sort of)

San Francisco OSM data plus CyberCity3D real world data plus CGA model

San Francisco OSM data plus CyberCity3D real world data plus CGA model, plus Lidar, plus a building split by floors, plus satellite imagery!

Without getting into too much detail now (I’m running out of time today) but you can get Lidar data into CityEngine with a bit of work, read on….

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Unexpected consequences and the power of instant feedback


Bridge Supports don’t go upwards…. (generally)

Did I tell you I like CityEngine today?   Okay you will have noticed that CityEngine gives a designer an instant feedback on their rule files.   You move a centre line of a road or a node on a building plot and the model created on top of it dynamically changes as it’s moved.    It’s fascinating to watch your simple rule files come alive.

Take this example, it’s my attempt at really simplifying a street rule that includes a bridge element.  Above a certain elevation (either 0 or a terrain) and the street gets bridge supports and simple sides.   Also no trees are planted and no zebra crossings (‘crosswalks’ to our North American friends) are created either.

It works great, raise the road and supports are made, trees are taken out, just as I wanted but what happens if the road goes down… well have a look, I think I have some unintended consequences of a decision I made in my rule file…

You see?  I’ve created a model from a rule and can instantly see that I have made a mistake.  Or perhaps better described I need to modify this rule to be more forgiving of the terrain.   Perhaps when the road is below ground I should put a tunnel around it?   Come to think of it I’ll go and do that now…
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Conducting my first CityEngine training session


The imaginatively titled ‘Esri CityEngine Training Course’

Well it finally happened I conducted my first full CityEngine training session in conjunction with my good friends at GISTEC in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).   I have done workshops and presentations before on CityEngine and conducted SketchUp training sessions for clients but not something like this.


Sharjah, near the GISTEC Offices

I was staying in Sharjah a smaller emirate within the UAE, where GISTEC have their offices.   My two days consisted of being collected at 5am and driven from Sharjah across Dubai to Abu Dhabi which took close to two hours!  Fortunately I had the company of two GISTEC colleagues who provided me with excellent and interesting conversation.

If you are looking for CityEngine training sessions come talk to me, or if you are located in the Middle East contact my friends at GISTEC directly (tell them I sent you).

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CityEngine 2013 Service Release (2013.1 140203R)

cityengine2013 SR splash screen

2013.1 140203R – a snappy title for a release huh?

Just a quick ‘heads-up’ for all you CityEngine fans out there, a new version of CityEngine 2013 has been released which fixes a few, ahem, ‘issues’ the main one being a ‘concurrent licence’ issue.   I’m reliably informed there is also a fix in there to solve an issue of data being shifted when exported to a webscene (why they haven’t said that in the release notes I don’t know).

cityengine2013 SR about screen

Not just on the splash screen but also on the About screen so it must be true..

If there are any other fixes I hear of or notice, I’ll let you know.. in the meantime you can download it from the Customer Care Portal, oh and you’ll need to uninstall the 2013 previous version to install this.. I hope one day these fixes come in updates rather than total new versions…

cityengine2013 SR customer care portal screen

If it fixes anything else they’re not officially saying….

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Does the CityEngine webscene viewer work on a Nexus 7 (2012)?

Yes - this is a screen capture of Google Chrome running a webscene on a Nexus 7 (2012 version), it’s not hacked or modded in anyway.   It stutters on anything more than small models.   You’d be better on the newer generation of tablets and mobile devices, dare I say it you would be better to use a Windows tablet?


It does work, just don’t expect it to work well.

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3D Flood Mapping Landscapes with CityEngine

Further to my London post I’ve also been experimenting with flood mapping in CityEngine and how best to display it in a webscene.


The webscene is not animated you have to switch each on in turn…

I’ve been finding that small increments just don’t work very well (lots of z fighting).   On the plus side the new tree rendering in CityEngine 2013 webscenes is fantastic.

You can view the webscene below on my company’s ArcGIS Online site.


Biblical title for this webscene, maybe I should model the Ark too…

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3D Flood Mapping of London using CityEngine

A topical visualisation today after I wondered whether I could do this whole flood map thing in 3D.   What I’d really like to do next is have the rule file change the building colour as the water level rises… It can be done just not very nicely.  It also demonstrates the real potential of CityEngine to become a responsive Geodesign tool.


This would obviously be a ridiculously large flood, it’s proof of concept really

Yes you can do this all in other packages but in CityEngine I can change the flood height variable and the model changes pretty much instantly (video to come).   I’ve obviously done some pre processing work in ArcGIS to allow for it to work in CityEngine.


Data courtesy of CyberCity3D, who I am providing CityEngine consulting for.



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3D London & Terrains

I’ve been working on the latest CyberCity3D London coverage today, using the terrain map we have and experimenting with the terrain colours.   Sometimes a satellite imagery overlay on terrain in CityEngine just doesn’t seem to work…

Here are some screen shots from ArcGIS CityEngine and the Webscene viewer.







Data courtesy of CyberCity3D, who I am providing CityEngine consulting for.


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CityEngine Consulting & Training
CityEngine can handle lots of data types & isn't just about modelling cities.
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