Procedural Amphitheatre


In a free hour (literally 1 hour), I created a CGA rule that creates a procedural amphitheatre.

It is full circle or circle segment based (0-360 degrees), has attributes for inner and outer radius.

 Additionally, I can drive:

  • Number of radial stairs
  • Number of levels
  • Number of sitting rows
  • Walkway width
  • ..

If you’re interested in reconstructions of historic or ancient cities: Contact us!



The future of GeoPlanIT


A global future.
A global future.

GeoPlanIT which has been my private blog since I started, is changing. The idea was that I would muse on the geography/planning and IT (tech) world as well as off topic posts about my life and things that made me ponder.

What you may have notice happen is that my life has been consumed largely by one product (Esri CityEngine). This has been good for me and this business, in fact so much so that I have led Garsdale Design’s business into the 3D city and Esri CityEngine consultancy business.

This is turning into a tremendously successful move, in fact so much so that in September we took on a new colleague who (shock horror) wasn’t a family member!

This was a personal and professional risk taking on a new staff member with barely a business plan in place (it was more of a gut feeling really). But I needn’t have worried in a little over 3 months Matthias (more on him later) and I have made great strides into the CityEngine consulting and training business and see lots of work on the horizon.

This is turning into a tremendously successful move

GeoPlanIT the blog has been a key point of contact for many of you with us, and me in particular and with what CityEngine is capable of. I want to keep that channel open, I’m not big on the ‘corporate’ thing, and GDL is not a big faceless multinational, we’re people who do interesting work as professionally as we can.

As GDL’s CityEngine work has increased my time has been focused elsewhere and I have not been making the blog posts I should. So I’ve been thinking recently, why not be more obvious about this all and make GeoPlanIT the semi-official blog of Garsdale Design? Then I can get other colleagues to do posts and cover a more broad range of topics (that was originally intended anyway).

Once every year Matthias has a beer… (a half)

may I introduce you to the newest member of Garsdale Design, Matthias?

With that in mind may I introduce you to the newest member of Garsdale Design, Matthias? I have asked him to start contributing posts and articles to this blog and I hope to expand this further.

GeoPlanIT will still stay as it always was, a more informal way of talking about my (and now our) interests as well as our work. Yes it will still have a CityEngine focus. As to noticeable changes, well I will make it clearer this is now becoming more of a ‘company’ blog of sorts. No “look how wonderful we are!” stuff here (unless we are excited). No “buy one get one free” sales pitch either.

So what’s on the horizon for GeoPlanIT? Well Matthias has his first blog post coming soon (stay tuned) an introduction really and then he is going to do a post about some really nice work he is doing.


I have a blog post about LumenRT 2015 coming, not a review as such but my thoughts on it and where we see it being used. In the new year GDL has some exciting developments coming that I hope to share with you. I’d also like to finally put to a blog about our first 3DPathFinder CityEngine training event in Miami.

Butter Tarts

Season Greetings and wishing you a successful and productive new year!

The Power of Playtime

2014-10-04 12.29.29_small

Our family went to a local tourist attraction the other week.   To visit ‘that’ rabbit whose name is Peter… a small and quite nice attraction with nicely detailed displays of the favourite characters, not to mention an evil gift shop (evil if you have small kids that is).  We’ve read some of the books to our little ones but they’ve also seen the newer Cbeebies TV show so they new what was going on.   My wife and I had problems holding them back, being a small attraction there was a real danger of racing through everything in under 15 minutes and missing some of the details and cute mice.

Then we got to the interactive room and they stopped racing, in the centre of the room was a table…. an interactive ‘touch screen’ table.  The kind daddy dreams he could play with at home.  Both of them (3 and 5 years old) almost immediately set about using it.   The touchscreen had two elements a map where you could bring up streetview style views, and a section of puzzles and colouring-in pictures.  Within less than a minute both of them had ‘got it’.   I had to drag them off this interactive wonder to let other kids have a go.   I noticed a similar pattern emerged in this room, children would enter the room see the table and immediately start playing with it, the adults glanced at the table and went to read some of the static displays round the edge of the room.  Some adults would come to the table and touch a few things but pretty quickly move away and look at other things.

This got me thinking, are the adults avoiding the table because they don’t know what to do with it, or do they not want the rest of the adults to think ‘they’re just playing’?

Esri UC Q&A – 3D

As I’m only interested in the 3D part of Esri’s Q&A for the User Conference I thought I’d paste it here (I’ll probably have some commentary coming as well in a later post) :

More can be read on the official site here.

Esri has written questions and answers to keep our customers informed on our efforts in software development, products, education, and support; future plans in these areas; and our thoughts on GIS and the industry as a whole. Our purpose for sharing this information is to help our users be successful in their use of GIS. Please feel free to share with your colleagues.

Read more

New look, do you like it?

The Radiate Theme, it had a picture of a city on it, what can I say?

My blog was starting to look tired so I went for a new look, I had also recieved some questions in regards to my colour choices.  I could have done a redesign with Artisteer but I quite liked this theme in the WordPress theme directory, it’s called ‘Radiate’.   Why reinvent the wheel?  I know it’s not perfect on a mobile device, but I’ll look into that bit soon… until them I hope you like it!

Communicating Master Plans – Miami in 3D


When I think of Miami I think Will Smith… (if you know why leave a comment below)..

Anyway I’ve been working at clean format to view planning/zoning data in CityEngine webscenes and I think I’ve found it…

One thing I’ve got to work out is when using transparencies how to keep the labelling consistent, notice how the landuse areas are darker with a ground surface?

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3D Building Data from CyberCity3D

CyberCity Black

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…