3D Scenes in Esri StoryMaps

3D Scenes in Esri StoryMaps

Esro’s StoryMap is a powerful communication, after-all if people can’t read about your project in an engaging format what’s the point?

Okay this is a quick post so I don’t forget how this all works!   I’ve been looking at StoryMaps for clients and in particular how to work in some custom 3D scenes.   

Some StoryMaps work easily with 3D, basically Cascade, where others you have to ‘coax’.   Basically the trick for getting storymaps templates like MapSeries to work require you to know about the how you can specify a weblink to a webscene that not only instructs it to display minimal user interface but also you can specify a ‘slide’ (what I’d call a bookmark).

Basically when you create a StoryMap (such as the MapSeries) choose a weblink instead of a map (as that only allows you a 2D map).

A powerful tool, once you know how it all works…

And then add either/or/both the following “&ui=min” for minimal user interface and “#1” for the slide number.  That would look like this : https://gd3d.maps.arcgis.com/home/webscene/viewer.html?webscene=b2ee85b778974ebd98f7403f4e5145d1&ui=min#2  in the web page link dialogue box put in the weblink for the scene you want to use for example : https://gd3d.maps.arcgis.com/home/webscene/viewer.html?webscene=b2ee85b778974ebd98f7403f4e5145d1

The resulting StoryMap would like this (Sorry its a quick example of very little content!):

I used these Esri official blog posts to help piece it together:

What’s new in the CityEngine 2018.1 Official release?

What’s new in the CityEngine 2018.1 Official release?

Well they sprung this one on us a little by surprise and just before a new update to ArcGIS Online too!  Following on from the beta CityEngine 2018.1 has been release with some significant additions and fixes.

Headline features are for me the revised drawing tools, boundary/fencing rules in ESRI.lib, and proper terrain support in the form of TPK exports. Oh, and initial support for terrain export for Unreal Engine…

The draw tools now make CityEngine a viable place you can start to do more ground work, this fits nicely in with being able to update feature layers hosted in ArcGIS Online (which incidentally has better support of large layers this release) .

They’ve finally added to the ESRI.lib directory, I’ve written about this before.  It’s hard to write generic rule files that make a majority of users happy (unless you’re a certain David Wasserman doing Compete Streets), but you can’t go wrong sticking with some of the basics people want, vegetation to start with and now boundary treatment!

A new addition to ESRI.lib, fences!

Finally the new support of exported terrains as TPKs allows us CityEngine users to modify terrain and export those changes to ArcGIS Online.  This is fantastic and I think now all we need is a comparable swipe tool (like in the old CityEngine Web Viewer) and we’ll feel complete!

not my image it’s Esri’s ‘borrowed’ from here….

Finally it looks like they’ve added some preliminary support, their words “Added preliminary terrain export.”, which suggest it’s very much in beta!  Great news for anyone wanting to hit the ground running using Unreal Engine, I’ve yet to test this out so who knows whether it works, fingers-crossed.

I’ll have to agree with Taisha here, this release has

exciting improvements that not only set a great precedent for things to come, but are sure to make you love CityEngine even more

Taisha Waeny – CityEngine 2018.1 Release Highlights

Great job Esri CityEngine team, you’re showing us a direction of travel for planners and urban designers here 🙂

One final note Garsdale Design’s exclusive CityEngine training is being updated to reflect this new release.   Did you know we were the first to offer CityEngine training and consultancy worldwide, and are official EsriUK CityEngine trainers? Visit my company’s website for more details and methods to contact us!

Edinburgh Earth Observatory (EEO) Seminars – Geodesign and Smarter Planning

Edinburgh Earth Observatory (EEO) Seminars – Geodesign and Smarter Planning

I was massively surprised and honoured (look at the last speakers) to be asked to speak at the Edinburgh Earth Observatory and AGI-Scotlands seminar series programme for 2018-2019 on the 1st of February 2019.   I’m known for my CityEngine work and so my theme will be around geodesign, planning, and procedural modelling.

As usual with these events they want a title and abstract way ahead of the event which I’ve done.  Now I have the fear.   I read a tweet recently that sums this up (but can’t find it now) something about wanting the confidence of the person who wrote the title and abstract months ago…. except I wrote mine last week…

Anyway here’s the title and abstract, please do sign-up and come say hi if you can.   I try and make my presentations and seminars accessible, I’m not a big fan of technical terms of the sake of it so don’t be worried about the buzzwords!

Geodesign and Smarter Planning

Wake up! The built environment professional worlds are colliding, and we cannot sit in our narrow professional cells anymore. Concepts such as 3D Geodesign, BIM, and software tools like Esri CityEngine show us a collaborative future of fast scenario modelling with integrated testing, analysis and visualisation, all while collaborating online with teams of experts around the world.

With rapid advancements in software and hardware, we are able to do more in less time. Our clients will be happier, we will be happier and hopefully the planet will be better for it too.

In this seminar I will explain my professional journey and how it is indicative of wider changes and challenges in the built environment industries. I will discuss the emerging geodesign discipline as well as BIM and the dizzying array of standards to keep all this data moving smoothly. In my view the entertainment industry’s work (gaming and movies), should also be seen as part of our all our professional futures.

Where:  Old Library, Institute of Geography , University of Edinburgh, Drummond Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9XP.
When: Friday 1st Feb 2019, 4.30pm
More Information available here



What are the system requirements for Esri CityEngine? Hardware & Software Recommendations

What are the system requirements for Esri CityEngine? Hardware & Software Recommendations

I get asked this question a lot, I’m not sure why people can’t find the relevant sections on the Esri website!  So here it is…

I also get asked what PCs I run CityEngine myself, so here goes my list:

Laptops

  • Asus Transformer Pro 3 (i5, 4GB RAM intel graphics card) – Works okay for small projects, I like using it for creating rule files ‘on the road’.  If you want bigger city models don’t use this.
  • Razer Blade 15″ – (i7 8th Gen, 16GB RAM, 1060 GTX Nvidia) This is a fantastic games PC but also practically a desktop replacement, a new purchase for me but good for most things I would throw at my desktop.

Desktop

  • Chillblast  (i7, 32GB RAM,1070 GTX Nvidia) It’s the RAM that makes this great really and has the edge over my new laptop.  Oh and I have 2 24inch screens attached.

Virtual

  • For a client I’ve been working with CityEngine installed on Amazon Workspaces alongside ArcGIS Pro this seems to work pretty well so far but I haven’t push the limits (yet)!

Accessories/Software?

  • ArcGIS Pro!  If you working with Esri software anyway this is essential you can use it to publish easily your 2D and 3D layers.  You can also use CityEngine to create Rule Paackages which can be used as advanced symbology in ArcGIS Pro.   Users who only have ArcGIS Pro can use CityEngine rule packages which gives you more options to share your hard work.
  • ArcGIS Online for those looking to publish quickly an seamlessly to the web geospatial 3D data/models created in CityEngine you need to be using this.  Obviously other platforms can be used, if you they can work with the CityEngine export formats.
  • I really recommend a 3DConnexion SpaceMouse (any of them) as well for navigating around all that 3D work.  It’s not a replacement for your regular mouse but does compliment it greatly.
  • SketchUp is still a must have for all those fiddly details, CityEngine+SketchUp are perfect companions applications
  • As to 3D software renders?  Well that depends on you!  Small models you could use the numerous render plugins for SketchUp.  But for reall professional stuff think SideFX Houdini which has a nice open source plugin called Palladio  which you can get here on github. I hear AutoDesk Maya and 3DS Max are good too.
  • For game engines you can’t ignore Unreal Studio as there is export functions in CityEngine now.  But don’t discount Unity for its wealth of help and support communities.

If you have any recommendations hardware or software comment on this article and I’ll add it to the list.

CityEngine Revisiting the Complete Streets Rule

CityEngine Revisiting the Complete Streets Rule

I still love the tilt-shift… 🙂

Many who use CityEngine will have heard of or at least used David Wasserman’s updated Complete Streets Rules.  He is like me a big fan of CityEngine and fantastic at it.   Anyway I noticed an update to his Complete Streets rule and have been playing with it.   The big feature is the trees handle controls…. well worth using if you’re interested in CityEngine and street typologies.

Thanks David for the amazing contribution to the small CityEngine community!  You can download it here : https://github.com/d-wasserman/Complete_Street_Rule 

 

Sedbergh Primary: 2018 Annual Statement of Governance

Sedbergh Primary: 2018 Annual Statement of Governance

For those who don’t know this happened So I will occasionally update and blog a little about our local primary school…  

 

In other related news my DBS check came back and it looks like there are no problems there.

A new adventure for me (School Governor)

A new adventure for me (School Governor)

My blog has been a lot about CityEngine and planning workflows but I’d like to warn you that I will occasionally be posting some words about my new adventure.   A while back attending one of children’s class assemblies at the local primary school (Sedbergh Primary School) the headteacher announced a vacancy for a ‘co-opted’ governor on the schools governing body.  Now, I had been looking for a local community group to volunteer for, that took me outside my comfort zone and was unrelated to my professional career.  This seemed to fit me.    

I approached the headteacher to say I was interested and we arranged a meeting where he explained the role of a governor and gave me an idea of the challenges the school was facing.   From what I’ve now read the governors of a school can be very important, just read some Ofsted reports and you’ll see mention of them and their role.   

Leaders, including governors, have successfully steered the school through a challenging period. They have been successful in their drive to raise standards since the previous inspection.  School Inspection Report 27th September 2016

To be honest I was unsure how I could help.   I needn’t have worried too much.   The headteacher reassured me that support was available and that prior knowledge of governance was not a requirement in fact they wanted co-opted governors to bring their own skill sets to the table.  The idea was to bring my professional skills to the board rather than my parenting ability… 

Fast forward to the recent governors meeting this week which I attended as an observer.   This was a fun lively meeting discussing lots of things related to the school, I get the feeling I will have a better appreciation of just how much work teachers do across the board (I had an idea, but still!).   I’m happy to report that the existing governors took a vote to admit me.  This means I am a ‘co-opted’ School Governor of Sedbergh Primary School, this is of course subject to a criminal records check also know as a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) process. The meeting itself is strictly confidential which if you think about it makes sense when especially when dealing with a small school and children.   I will never go into detailed specifics of my role here on this blog, but I see no harm in discussing the generality of the role and my learning journey.    This is very early days I don’t know all the terminology but I’m excited to learn! 

In conclusion I’m on the start of a learning journey I guess!  So my blog will be used as I have done for my career as a place to store notes and resources as well as thoughts.  Those of you who read this site know I only started it as a place to keep notes really 🙂  I suspect the next blog post will be about educational related acronyms!

Wish me luck, please leave a comment or note if I get something horribly wrong or you can offer advice or resources!

Websites for background

 

Notes on ‘co-opted’ vs ‘parent’ governors

So apparently there are more than one type of governor (taken from this document from the Inspiring Governance website):

  • Academy Trustee
  • Academy Members
  • Chair of Governors
  • Co-opted Governor
  • Foundation Governor
  • Local Authority (LA) Governor
  • Parent Governor
  • Staff Governor

I think these are almost self explanatory but only if you are involved in school life, some of this probably relates to the type of school you are involved with.  There is also statutory guidance for local-authority maintained schools here.    I think my concern was what the difference between parent and co-opted was.   I was aware the parent governors are elected whilst co-opted are appointed.   Perhaps I best let the document from Inspiring Governance explain:

Co-opted Governor – This is an individual from the community who has the skills and experience which the governing board require. They will be appointed by the existing board, following an interview

Parent Governor – An individual who has a child of legal school age (5 – 16) and is elected by the parent body to serve as a governor. They are usually parents who have a child on role at the school, but it is not a legal requirement. It is possible to be a parent governor because you have a child of legal school age, but not attending the school at which you govern.

 

4D 3D modelling with Esri CityEngine? (poc)

4D 3D modelling with Esri CityEngine? (poc)

LICA Building at Lancaster University

Last weeks CityEngine training at Lancaster University went really well.  It was my first time doing a session at this site and I really liked it.  Good facilities and a beautiful campus, stayed tuned for more CityEngine training sessions there in the future, but if you want a session now just ask as we do training on demand.   Also did I mention Lancaster is set to launch Architecture courses and are looking for a new ‘Chair of Architecture’??
Right, on with the main purpose of this blog post!

Above is an animated GIF of a quick proof of concept for some 4D modelling in Esri CityEngine.   4D refers to the time component used in the construction industry to see the various phases of development (see “What is 4D BIM?”) think Gantt chart in 3D!  Whilst CityEngine is not truly a 4D modelling software package it can provide some elements of it after-all time is just an attribute.    I like to think of this as a nice way of 3D modelling urban planning and city master planning phasing scenarios over time.   With the introduction of Esri CityEngine’s handles feature this can make for a nicer interaction method with your model.

after-all time is just an attribute

In this example I have a days and a maximum number of days attribute (think deadline).   The slider controls the day in that timeline between 0 and 365 days for example.   Each of the 2D footprints has a field with a start day and an end day, as the slider is moved a test is performed to see whether the day is between those two numbers for each footprint.  If the condition is true the footprint is extruded based on a calculation that gradually and proportionally extrudes up to it’s maximum building height.  When it reaches and/or exceeds the finish day, the model changes to a more realistic looking building.

All of this is relatively simple in CityEngine (case statements, attributes, and handles), the nice bit is being able to report on progress in the Dashboard.  We can use this in a variety of different scenarios in CityEngine, as usual because it’s code we can copy and paste in to other projects!