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Making the ‘Craftsman Rule’ more interactive….

Making the ‘Craftsman Rule’ more interactive….

In CityEngine you can use a feature called ‘handles’ to add visual controls to your models.  This means you don’t have to interact with specific numbers or values in the inspector.  It also means many more people can use your rules as they were intended.   The real issue here is how much control do you give you users via this method? 

As you can see there is a balance to be had between being highly configurable and being too configurable (i.e. too many attributes to muck around with!).

Early days on the handles, but I’m getting there!

Many people have reached out to me asking whether this rule file will be available for sale sometime.  The answer is probably!  Drop me a message if you’re interested and I’ll let you know how it goes.   Or keep an eye on twitter, LinkedIn or this blog for more updates.  I suspect I will have to stop sometime.

Procedural modelling the UK high-street

Procedural modelling the UK high-street

Some of our latest CityEngine work is looking at the high street and in particular here at home the UK high street.   Commercial buildings in a typical UK town are a mixed bag of traditional older buildings with some often badly maintained concrete buildings and the odd brick built modern monster designed and built in the 1980s.  More recent buildings like glass a lot …  We’ve been creating rules to describe building frontages, not all are pretty but that’s kind of the point! 

This set is early work for a project that we’re helping on for the Transport Systems Catapult based in Milton Keynes who are helping out the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) creating simulated virtual environments to test out way-finding technologies.  Stay tuned for some more outputs! 

Collaboration with Transport Systems Catapult

Collaboration with Transport Systems Catapult

Ryan at the Garsdale Design offices overlooking the Howgill’s and Sedbergh. (Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales National Park)

Some of you may have noticed a post I shared on LinkedIn by a gentleman called Ryan Johnston from the Transport Systems Catapult (based in Milton Keynes) coming to our office here in Cumbria last Friday. 

Getting the train this morning to Cumbria for some collaborative work with Elliot Hartley #Garsdaledesign . Looking at how City Engine can help create fast environments for testing and stimulation.

Ryan was here to gain insight into how we here at Garsdale Design build virtual 3D environments from GIS data.  We use the Esri platform to do this and one of the key tools Ryan was here to get an understanding of was CityEngine and ArcGISPro.  As you all should know by now is that at Garsdale Design is well known for our CityEngine and 3D GIS expertise! 

In any GIS workflow data preparation is vital

This is part of the Peterborough way finding research project for the partially sighted. Helping to understand how spatially correct 3d urban models and VR technology; can help the partially sighted to navigate from the train station to the RNIB Peterborough head office.

Ryan’s visit was in relation to a way-finding project for the partially sighted in Peterborough, home to the head office of the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB).  Here the TSC has brought together a range of industry professionals (such as Garsdale Design and MK Surveys) to create a virtual environment to test various sensors, beacons and navigation methods around Peterborough town centre and the offices of the RNIB.   As this project progresses more information will be posted on the Transport Systems Catapult website

Ryan was here the whole day (interrupted only by a nice lunch at the Three Hares Cafe), and we discussed various project workflows, for example making all that nice Ordnance Survey MasterMap data 3D, as well as managing terrain data.   We looked at game engine workflows and the exciting possibilities of Unity as well as the new datasmith tool for Unreal.   Of course once we have a dynamic and flexible (i.e. easy to modify) 3D model we also need to look at analytical tools to help in the process of assessing various ‘way marking’ technologies.   Whilst the discussion was focused on the Peterborough project we’re happy to report that many of the issues we were addressing also would come in use for future projects too.

CityEngine 2017.1 beta demoing how the new viewshed tool could be used for bluetooth beacon placement

At the end of the day Ryan and I were able to make a quick mock-up of part of Peterborough to identify where CityEngine tools may help create this virtual environment.  We also looked at the 2017.1 beta version with viewsheds which could be useful in this particular project.

We had a great day and it was fantastic to work with Ryan, I’m pretty sure we could have kept going for a lot longer, but sadly a work day must come to an end sometime!   

 

 

GISTEC’s 3DGIS Workshop/Seminar session

GISTEC’s 3DGIS Workshop/Seminar session

You may have seen that I was out in the United Arab Emirates a couple of weeks back.  I was there for two reasons, one to conduct a CityEngine training session for a number of GISTEC clients (we do this training here in the UK either with EsriUK or at our offices in Sedbergh as well as worldwide).  As always training often turns to bespoke advice and discussions around workflows and use cases.   

A great big thank you to all my trainees!

Basically, most things that a client asks for with 3D GIS can be done, you just to have a clear idea of what you want (oh and a budget!), technology (hardware and software) has progressed so much recently that most clients are now spoilt for choice. 

Want a smart city? Well you may need a 3D basemap.  Do you have any sensor data? If so what’s the quality?  The answer invariably to all these questions and more is “it depends”.   That’s why on the 20th of September I went to help present at our friends and partners GISTEC 3D GIS workshop/seminar event in the Roda Al Bustan in Dubai.   

A fun interactive format of round table discussions about new workflows and technologies for enabling your 3D GIS

As a new format for GISTEC we were all excited and apprehensive to see how invited guests and clients would respond.  We shouldn’t have been nervous as the response was overwhelmingly positive.   The sessions allowed people to find out what was possible with particular aspects of the Esri platform and where they could join up some of those dots.   My discussion table didn’t just talking about CityEngine.  We talked about data acquisition (from UAVs for example, in fact I used demo data from the UAV table), about smart cities and story maps.  The day was designed to find out more about everyone’s workflows and problems as well as informing and discussing potential solutions.

 

The format was informal and less about a sales pitch and more about discussion (no one likes presentations which basically say ‘buy me’).  We had divided the session up into tables and each table had a theme to talk about (mine was Geodesign and Urban Planning of course!).  The table’s moderators also used flipcharts and post-it notes to engage with the attendees and come up with  problems and solutions around each table’s theme.   This meant that at the end of the day each table had gained insight into some of the issues surrounding 3D GIS (in for example designing cities) but also discussed potential solutions and workflows (as well as software) to help.   These flipcharts and notes would then be shared with the attendees as well (not just the table group but everyone). 

Each table’s theme discussion was led by an expert in their field and as you can see we had some amazing people:

  • Geodesign and Urban Planning – Designing Cities
    Elliot Hartley – Garsdale Design Limited
  • Smart Cities and IoT Solutions – Smart City and IoT
    Andrew Rippon – NXN
  • Getting 3D-GIS Data from 3D-CAD – BIM to GIS 
    Nandakumar Menon – GISTEC
    Data Capturing and 3D Data Preparation from Drone – Working with Drones
    Giuseppe Catania – b-link
  • Texturing Your Landscape and Building VR Solution – VR Solutions
    Dileep Verma – Cirqus
  • Building Different 3D Applications – Working with Story Maps
    GISTEC
Great roundtable discussion on Smart Cities and the Internet of Things by Andrew Rippon of NXN

The largest group of attendees had come to hear about smart cities and the ‘Internet of Things’ from Andrew Rippon of NXN (formerly Nexgen group)  from what I heard (and saw a little of) this was a well received talk and discussion on some issues and challenges as well as the amazing solutions NXN are implementing for smart city projects.

Dileep from Cirqus discussing VR & texturing of GIS buildings

The day ended with a quick panel summary of each tables discussions and a question and answer session.  Questions about workflows and interest in what was possible seemed to be the main concerns.   All in all I really enjoyed the day with GISTEC and the attendees I think I may have learnt more off of them then they did of me! 


CityEngine 2017.0 now released

CityEngine 2017.0 now released

Okay so this came sooner than I thought it would and just in time for the Esri UC in San Diego next week! 

If you are a CityEngine user this is a very good release with key improvements that will make our lives easier when working on projects.  If you’re thinking about working with CityEngine for the first time this is a good release to come in on, and you can come to us for one-to-one training to get you started!

CityEngine 2017.0 has now been released and you can download it from your ‘My Esri‘ area, alternately you can grab a 30-day free trial here.

I’ve not got time to give you a run down of all the new features and interface improvements that have gone in to this release, but you can read my blog post on the beta release I was using here.

I can give you a key some key highlights though:

  • A user interface refresh
  • Scenario based planning and custom dashboards
  • Local edits for procedural models
  • Measurement tools
  • CGA neighbourhood queries (more advanced occlusion queries)
  • Improved import and export functionality including unit information for FBX exports. Also KML can export multiple models to SketchUp.

You can read more on the release here: “What’s new in CityEngine 2017“, or skip straight to the release notes here.  Or even better than that skip to the changelogs on the CityEngine help pages

Exciting things to watch for from us this year

Exciting things to watch for from us this year

 

After a period of ‘radio silence’ I’m looking at doing more regular postings here.  As I’ve discussed before this blog is naturally a semi-official Garsdale Design blog as well.  As such we’re looking to have our Southampton colleague Nicholas Duggan contribute every so often.  Nick (or @Dragons8MyCat ) is a well known blogger and the European Editor for XyHt magazine as well as having vast GIS and mapping experience in the Nuclear and off-shore industry. 

Garsdale Design’s work in 3D GIS is well recognised in the Esri world, I’ve heard us called the ‘3D-Guys’ more than a few times from separate people/organisations now.  We’re looking to capitalise on our knowledge by creating a new brand (which will be launched soon) to separate ourselves a little from Garsdale’s Architectural, Planning and heritage business.   We’re also on the cusp of launching (subject to some bureaucracy, don’t ask) a 3D data service for people who just want their 3D basemap now.   If you’d like some more details you can contact us directly.

If you’re an Esri user you should start looking at ArcGISPro seriously now

We’re getting increasing numbers of enquiries for CityEngine and ArcGISPro training, not least because we are the official EsriUK CityEngine trainers!  I think this is mostly down to increased awareness of the 3D capabilities of the Esri platform (have you tried ArcGISPro yet??).  Planners seem to especially ‘get’ Esri CityEngine.   Also whilst there is much talk of BIM more and more organisations realise that BIM doesn’t sit in a vacuum and often requires GIS.  BIM is 3D and so knowledge of 3D GIS is required.

This year we hope to organise a geospatial mini-conference here in Cumbria, with some speakers and followed on by a couple of days of training/workshops.  If you’re interested in getting involved or coming along please get in touch.

Keep on the look out for our new brand, we’ll do a blog post here on launch day.  In the meantime if you need Esri CityEngine or ArcGISPro training contact us!

ArcGISPro Animation Sedbergh3D

ArcGISPro Animation Sedbergh3D

At Garsdale Design we’ve just got ourselves a Vimeo account for hosting videos.  In preparation for GISWORX 2016 we’ve been getting some demo videos together and I thought we’d share them with you!  

ArcGISPro’s new animation features are surprisingly easy to use and can give you some great results!  As per usual CyberCity3D buildings and Blue-sky International’s National Tree Map make an appearance.

Like this? Just wait till you see what Nicholas Duggan has done in ArcGISPro with our new mapping templates!