GeoDesign Workflows at Philadelphia University

2015-06-12 20.24.58

Matthias and I were living the CityEngine Philadelphia Demo

If you follow either myself or Matthias on twitter you may have seen that we were ‘living it up’ in the great city of Philadelphia last week.   Home to the Liberty Bell and all sorts of reminders as to where my native land went wrong and some of its big mistakes….  

Lego Liberty Bell... it's Lego what can I say?

Lego Liberty Bell… it’s Lego what can I say?

Having said that the city seems a wonderful place and it helped our experience staying in the historic core of Philadelphia where all the good restaurants and bars are.  The food was wonderful and the people were friendly.

Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market, we will never forget you…

Enough of the travel guide!  We were there to help and support the work of students on their design charrette on Philadelphia University’s GeoDesign Masters Program.  The M.S. in GeoDesign was the first of its kind in the USA, and come to think of it probably the world. You can read more about Geodesign elsewhere but for all practical purposes it’s about collaborative workflows and coordinated iterative processes across disciplines.   It’s heavily influenced by new technologies like Esri CityEngine and has a strong supporter from Esri as well as a string of notable academics.

The GeoDesign students were working on a concentrated collaborative design project called a charrette.  This was focused on the Navy Yard, a birthplace to the USA’s Navy and where some notable battleships like the New Jersey were built.

Philadelphia Navy Yard

Philadelphia Navy Yard, not just about boats….

Garsdale Design (Matthias and I) were there to provide additional support, troubleshooting and advice on CityEngine and Geodesign workflows.  We had already provided remote assistance to elements of the course around technical aspects of CityEngine, so we were familiar with the students and the program.

As with all projects academic or ‘real-world’ collaboration in a team is critical.  In such a small amount of time the students had to focus on a design goal on chosen study areas, and come up with workflows and analytical processes to measure metrics to help them design.   They were designing using software like ArcGIS, SiteOps, AutoCAD and CityEngine and merging it into one cohesive process.   Towards the end of the week the students had focused in on achievable goals and worked out workflows that were easily repeatable and produced metrics that would help inform there design choices.   I won’t go in to detail what these all were as it is there project and is best heard directly from them when the are ready.

2015-06-13 17.28.23

Philadelphia GeoDesign Central

One clear thing came out of this charrette for me was that most software (especially CityEngine) works best with focused tasks and simplified processes.  For example when you first work with CityEngine the tendency is to think it can do many things, which it can.  But trying to combine all those tasks into one is often a mistake, keep the workflows as simple as possible is much better for everyone.

What next for Philadelphia University’s GeoDesign program and Garsdale Design?  Hopefully more collaboration on Geodesign and at least one more visit back to that wonderful city of Philadelphia.

PhilaU Ram soft toy

I got one of these each for my daughters… t’s given me nightmares

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This will change everything. (FibreGarden to dig)

2015-04-24 13.00.09

Just a quick post to say something exciting happened whilst I was away at GISWORX last week, DigitalDales (trading/operating as FibreGarden) has started to dig in the ducting that will carry the community Fibre network.   This will be great for Garsdale Design as well as residents up Garsdale and Dentdale who will when completed have a word class fibre optic broadband network.   This will change everything around here.

To find out more read David’s blog, those in this area will probably have met David and you will see him driving up and down each dale trying to organise wayleaves and sort out network routes.  His blog posts are regular and a really good read, if you’re a rural fibre broadband supporter you must read it.

2015-04-24 12.59.45

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GISWORX2015 Conference, Dubai

 

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Nicely produced conference material

Last week Garsdale Design (that is myself and Matthias) attended, exhibited as well as conducted a workshop at the Middle East’s premier annual Esri GIS conference called GISWORX held in Dubai.   This is hosted and run by GISTEC an Esri Distributor. Those who follow me know I’ve been before, in fact I was the guest speaker the first time around (The Power of Play).

IMG_2962 5r

GISWORX2013 Guest Speaker…. Elliot

If you want to see Matthias in a suit click on to read more… :)

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Love Handles – Part One

In celebration of the new release of CityEngine 2015 (click here for release notes) and the announcement of a new feature set called ‘handles’ we’ve produced this AnimatedGIF (next time I might just do a video).

(It's a 8MB animated GIF so be patient those on a slow connection)

(It’s a 8MB animated GIF so be patient those on a slow connection)

Comments on this post should really only be suggestions as to what these two are saying I think.

This is directly from the Tutorial 18 Handles 2015 that you can download by clicking here.

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What’s new in CityEngine 2015.0?

CE2015 Splash Screen

It’s that time of year when a new release of CityEngine becomes available (okay we think it maybe the 9th of April)!  Yes we would love more bug fixes and features added, but they’re a small development team so we shall forgive them (this time…).  

As usual the Changelogs are publicly available here.

CGA Changelog

2015.0
CGAC 1.5
new functions:

changes to existing features:

  • split operations:
    • missing sizes are not allowed any longer. For instance, split(x) { A } does not compile anymore. The correct equivalent is split(x) { ~1: A }.
    • functions in size expression do not need extra parantheses anymore.
  • @Hidden annotation: changed propagation across imports. A hidden import hides all its imports recursively.
  • uid shape attribute deprecated. Use the getTreeKey function instead.

bugfixes:

  • Fixed a bug in the cgb decoder which failed to read compiled cga files with a large number of attributes/rules/splits.
  • Vertexmerger: fixed a bug which prevented hole vertices to be merged with vertices of other faces.
  • float() function: made string-to-float conversion independent of locale.
  • split operations: intensified internal mesh cleanup to reduce memory load, fixed a bug which led to undesired vertex-merges.
  • roofHip operation: avoid duplicate vertices.
  • offset, roofGable and roofHip operations: made offset / roof construction more stable on polygons with co-linear vertices and fixed a memory explosion bug.
  • cleanupGeometry operation: fixed bug which led to illegal material assignements (“filled holes rendering bug”) on edge cleanup for geometries with per-face-materials.
  • Fixed undefined behaviour if the same name was used for a scalar attr and a map attr.
  • CGA compiler: Parameteric rules and functions with a large number of parameters do not hang the compiler / CityEngine anymore.

 

Python Changelog

Status Commands
new get/setExportDatasetRelationships in FGDBExportModelSettings
new get/setExportFeatures in FGDBExportModelSettings
changed get/setAddObjectAttributes renamed to get/setExportObjectAttributes in FGDBExportModelSettings
new Several new methods in FGDBImportSettings
new setFloat in ImageExportTerrainSettings
new additional argument animate for View3D.restoreBookmark and View3D.setCameraPerspective
note Selection behaviour change in UI changes behaviour of ce.selection(), ce.setSelection() in cases where shape has a model. To get the shape from a selection with shape and model, usece.getObjectsFrom(ce.selection, ce.isShape)[0] instead of ce.selection()[0]
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Procedural Landscapes: Tuscany

Believe it or not, but this whole scenery was created procedurally. In e-on software’s VUE.

Villa_In_Tuscany

This image is the result of an 8 week online (yes, late evenings and weekends!) 3D Workshop I just recently completed (my second already) on CGSociety.

Everything is procedural: The terrain model, the vegetation (each plant plus the distribution), the volumetric clouds and haze. Even the main attraction: The almost too well hidden villa.
The villa is a procedurally generated model coming from CityEngine, which was manually placed.

Rendering this single image took about 26 hours on my quite fast hex-core machine. Minimal post work was done in PhotoShop.

I’m ready for some holiday in that villa now!

 

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CityEngine and Bank Barns? Built Heritage meets Geodesign

BankBarns_01

Variant versus True Bank Barns in CityEngine??

 Imagination is required to use CityEngine, I’ve said this before and I say it a lot in our 3DPathFinder CityEngine training sessions (shameless plug).   The power of the rule file is in it’s ability to be used in other contexts and is often only limited by your imagination.  Some of what I think Geodesign is also about this, connecting up other peoples workflows, joining disciplines together to form a coherent team.

Take the humble rule that places a parapet around a roof top and places a satellite dish inside, this is the same rule that I use to make my infamous “procedural sheep”.  Get your head around that and the world is yours (in a metaphorical sense).

procedural_sheep_esiruc_01

What do you mean you haven’t heard about my Procedural Sheep??!

 

This leads me to a little rule file I adapted yesterday, my colleague and friend Matthias had created a couple of rule files for a client (Philadelphia University’s Geodesign course).  One rule file coloured a surface depending on the steepness of a slope, which clearly when drawing a path or a road can be useful.  The other rule file was one that placed arrows facing down a slope in a grid pattern, think about water run-off and this is cool, useful stuff.  

Read more

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