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Month: January 2014

Using CityEngine to model the Garden City

Using CityEngine to model the Garden City

The Garden City (not a funny hybrid international looking city you see here)

Any town planner especially one taught in the UK has seen this diagram by Ebenezor Howard, and so I had to have a go creating it.  Even though it clearly says its a ‘diagram only’.

Really this is again demonstrating the power of CityEngine as a modelling tool, we can run through hypothetical scenarios quickly and easily.   I hope to make this model better by adding reporting, so we know how many people can live and work in this diagram.  As well as making things look a bit more realistic I need to:

  • The ‘Grand Avenue’ would surely not be a forest and more a formal park environment?
  • The roads should have more trees!
  • The low-level housing should be more, well British looking, where’s the terrace and cul-de-sac?
  • The railway is a light rail here and elevated, perhaps this needs rethinking?

So do you have any suggestions?   You can comment directly on the 3D model (if you have an ArcGIS account)

To view this scene in 3D click here, (or on the images above and below)


FibreGarden and myself on TV

FibreGarden and myself on TV

A bit of self promotion here …. I’ll let you watch it in peace… (you have to got watch it on the ITV site (link below)), check out CyberCity3D and ESRI promotional literature as well as some CityEngine and 3D action!


Community’s plan to install their own fibre-optic broadband

A community in South Cumbria could pave the way for areas all over the country to be part of a high-speed broadband network without waiting for any big companies to install fibre-optic cable in their area.

Homes and businesses in Garsdale and Dent have teamed up to create their own community broadband company and are hoping to connect their homes in the New Year.

Fiona Marley Paterson reports.


What’s coming in 2014!

What’s coming in 2014!

A warm welcome to all of you for 2014, I wish you all a prosperous (emotionally and financially) 2014!

2013-05-24 18.30.41
This is not the crystal ball you were looking for…

As I look into my crystal ball for this year there are some really big things going to happen in the GIS world, for starters, I feel it’s going to be all about the real use of 3D GIS beyond the traditional visualisation/pretty picture stage.   ESRI’s forthcoming ArcGIS Professional new application as well as their new streaming globe are going to change how we look at GIS I genuinely believe that.   I hope that better integration with standards can push adoption (CityGML and INSPIRE) of this exciting area.

ESRI Streaming Globe
This ArcGIS web globe will be able to stream 3D Cities!

WebGL is really opening up the ways in which our 3D data can be displayed, I’m looking forward to progress not only from ESRI but people like ViziCities (although nothing has happened on their blog for quite a while!) too.

In the OpenSource world QGIS is massively better than when I first started using it, the barrier (i.e. ease of use) to entry is being reduced and I think we’re not far of a time when ESRI will really have to justify very hard why ArcGIS Desktop Basic should be charged for, when such a competent GIS package can be had for free.


On a personal level this blog will continue and my journey from Planning to CityEngine to the world of 3D GIS and Smart Cities will surely be a topic here! As you may have seen I’ve entered into a partnership with CyberCity3D a provider of cost effective 3D city data.   I’m mainly advising them on CityEngine and ESRI integration but we’ve got some exciting projects coming up as well as new cities to create.  All to industry standard specifications (as well as any extras clients want)!

Not just pretty pictures…

Some exciting news I have left till last! I’m currently in the final phase of finishing my CityEngine Tutorials and I’ve written some of it up as a text.   As part of this I plan on holding webinars and screencasts that show tips tricks and various workflows for CityEngine.   I’ve still got some way to go, but if you want CityEngine training fast and cost effectively please get in touch!

Learning CityEngine draft cover
Imaginatively titled it is not… (don’t worry it’s a working title)

Last but not least, this is hopefully the year when our local community project FibreGarden starts building out a true fibre optic to the premises network!   Forget copper and goodbye asynchronous  100 both ways please!   This above all else will truly be transformational for us.