Flood map visualising using OS Opendata & CityEngine


Okay it’s a little odd but I’ve been experimenting with Ordnance Survey Opendata and CityEngine on and off for a while…. using ArcGIS Spatial Analyst Extension tools I created from some OS terrain an artificial flood polygon.   I imported the terrain and polygon into CityEngine renamed the flood polygon “flood__water”  (the “__water” tells the CityEngine webgl viewer to render it as water).  Then I exported it out as a webscene.

Whether this is actually useful I don’t know, certainly for this demo it’s not as I’ve exaggerated the terrain a little for ‘dramatic’ effect.

I think it looks pretty good, I’m in the process of adding buildings, roads and forests, I’ll let you know how it goes… I’m also wanting to do this again using opensource software like QGIS and CityEngine (there is no equivalent of CityEngine as an opensource product).



Oh and I think they need some more water types… I think flood water might be dirtier….  if you’re interested in more do you remember the tree top walkway post I did a while back?

Putting geodesign into practice? ArcGIS & Wacom Cintiq 24HD in use

2013-05-28 14.14.42
The box is impressive…

Ok first up not all gadgets are trivial, in particular I don’t believe play is trivial (shameless plug for previous post there, apologies).  Recently I tweeted a that we (in my office) had purchased a geodesign gadget.   So you’ve now got two or three questions haven’t you?

  1. What on earth is geodesign?!
  2. What’s the gadget?
  3. Overcoming Software install problems  “A supported tablet was not found on the system”

  4. Why do I care?
  5. Wacom Cintiq 24HD and ArcGIS
  6. What’s next?

Let’s try and answer them (apologies for another big post)….

Read more

CityEngine is changing how we work…

As part of a new urban renewal project we obtained the previous master plan as a PDF (naturally).  Reading through it we felt that we needed to understand what was proposed and how the proposals would look in 3D.

My First Animated GIF on this blog, apologies to all those living in the present...
My First Animated GIF on this blog, apologies to all those living in the present…

It’s a largish urban area and previously we would never even dream of modelling it at such an early stage of the project.  Too much work to model in SketchUp and certainly not to just understand part of a report.   Things have changed and now we are aware of what CityEngine can do we’re starting to modify how we approach jobs.

You wonder why I’m interested in CityEngine?  Well I can see how it is changing our work and what it will change for us in the future.   Less than a month into a project and we’ve modelled an entire urban area in less than 1/2 a day, just to understand something better.

Pre-CityEngine we would never have done this.

Translating text for ArcGIS – Google Translate + Excel – A quick guide

This is a useful tip that has been pointed out to me by a colleague, so useful in fact I have to make sure I note it down somewhere.   Until my idea is incorporated into ArcGIS this is a quick and dirty workaround for translating Arabic labels in ArcGIS.

Yes, but what does it mean?

We have received some GIS data from a client, it’s landuse in a geodatabase with Arabic labels.  Trouble is our maps are needed in English!   In the past we’ve tested the Microsoft translation tools (for office) against Google’s online translate tool and found that Google does a much better translation.

So how do we translate this large landuse table quickly and easily?   Use Excel of course!   Please note that this bullet point list assumes you know ArcGIS and Excel quite well, to instruct from a beginners point of view would be a bit to long winded for me.

  1. First create a field name for the English Translation in ArcGIS
  2. Open a new Excel document
  3. Copy (using this method) the table from ArcGIS into Excel.
  4. Create a PivotTable that lists the row labels (in this case Arabic Landuse)
  5. Copy and paste this list out (so the text is static, you probably don’t have to)
  6. Copy the Arabic text into the text box at translate.google.com

    Google Translate
  7. Now Copy that English translation text list back adjacent to your Arabic landuse list into Excel

    Pasted back into Excel
  8. Now you have to use some Excel magic, select the English and Arabic text and under the Formulas tab (in Excel 2007) define a name ( in this case I called it English Translate)
  9. Once you have done this go to the English Landuse field name column and type in code like this “=VLOOKUP(E7,EnglishTranslate,2)”.   E7 is the Arabic landuse in your original table in Excel, EnglishTranslate is that Name you defined above and the number 2 is the column number of the EnglishTranslate you need to use if matched.
  10. Then click and drag copy this down your English translation field to check it works.
  11. Now copy back this data into ArcGIS or Join/Link it.

Well that’s it if you have any improvements/questions/suggestions please add them in the comments section below!

GeoDesign Summit 2013

Well a quick announcement really… I’ll be one of the featured speakers at ESRI’s HQ in Redlands, San Diego, early next year (January 24-25 2013).

This is what I’ll be talking about:

Garsdale Design, which specialises in master planning and urban design has been working on four city master planning projects in southern Iraq. These projects required the analysis and planning of these cities for their expansion over the next 40 years. So how did ArcGIS and CityEngine maximise our productivity giving the client better outcomes?

Large-scale city master planning projects inevitably move slowly over many months since the work proceeds stage by stage. At certain points work can often stop while the client consults and chooses options from a series of drafts. Frequently new data or requirements can emerge, the consequences of which have far reaching implications.

What if a city can be fully described at each stage of a project? CityEngine has demonstrated a new and exciting direction for us. With the concepts of ‘GeoDesign’ we are now looking at our project workflows in new ways. What if the project team could change detailed plans with ease taking into account new data instantly, and avoiding the laborious redrawing of layouts? This is the promise of the ‘Instant City’.

If you’re a regular  reader of my blog, you’ll know why I’m talking about CityEngine, it’s become a bit of an obsession really….

Drop me a line if you’re intending on going it would be great to meet other geo-professionals!

Follow their twitter account here https://twitter.com/GeoDesignSummit

The agenda is here : http://www.geodesignsummit.com/agenda/index.html

ArcGIS Toolbox – CityEngine Raster and Vector Clipper

The blog post on the ESRI site “Easily clip an entire workspace for a specific study area” alerted me to the toolbox “Clip Workspace“, which I thought would be useful for ArcGIS to CityEngine exports.   What I’ve done is tidy up the original rule tool and added a raster clipper tool as well.

It’s a beta release (is there any other release nowadays?!) so use at your own risk, modify if you like and perhaps you can share it back?

Anyway here is the download:

CityEngine Toolbox
CityEngine Toolbox
221.5 KiB

CityEngine to Lumion some more example renders Part 2

Following on from my previous post  I thought I’d post a few more example renders I’m working on.  I’m using the latest free Lumion version (2.5) testing out how big a model I can get away with from CityEngine.  As you can see it seems it can be quite big!