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.

What are the new 3D capabilities of ArcGIS?

Esri continues to work on the base technology of ArcGlobe, ArcScene, and ArcGIS Pro for desktop users. At ArcGIS 10.3, we are introducing a whole new way of working with 3D using Web Scenes. 3D will work across the ArcGIS platform on servers, desktops, in the browsers, and on devices. Users with 2D information can easily apply 3D symbology and create 3D Web Scenes using core capabilities of ArcGIS Pro. These Web Scenes can be published and used in web apps or on devices. They are powered by new 3D services that are accessible from any of the Esri clients.

The new capabilities include the following:

1.   Integrated 3D/2D experience in ArcGIS Pro, including viewing and editing of data simultaneously in 2D and 3D windows.

2.   More advanced 3D editing tools in ArcGIS Pro.

3.   Ability to create advanced 3D symbols using rules authored in CityEngine.

4.   Support for Web Scenes in ArcGIS, including in a browser, on mobile devices, and in ArcGIS Pro. This is powered by a new 3D service type in ArcGIS for Server. This capability has dramatic implications for ArcGIS Online. Users will be able to open, create, and manage 3D scenes and layers in the same way as 2D maps and layers in Portal for ArcGIS and ArcGIS Online.

To use Web Scenes, the user simply chooses the right scale for the base scene and adds geographic data to create new scenes with the 3D layers. To work with a scene, users will open it in ArcGIS Online using a browser, in Explorer, or in ArcGIS Pro.  These 3D scenes can also be easily embedded in web pages and custom apps.

Over time, users will share 3D virtual scenes (cities, landscapes, etc.) in such a way that others in the organization and beyond will be able to interact with these scenes as well as mash them up and use them in various analytic settings.


Will you be adding more rules to CityEngine?

Yes. With CityEngine 2014.0, we released new building, vegetation and street rules that can be immediately used in both CityEngine and ArcGIS for Desktop (ArcMap, ArcScene, ArcGlobe, and ArcGIS Pro).

Specific enhancements to CityEngine included in version 2014.0 are:

  • Stability & interoperability
  • Built-in Esri rule library
  • Improved donut support
  • Improved streets
  • Unity example plugin based on the CityEngine SDK


What’s new in Esri CityEngine?

Esri CityEngine is a standalone desktop technology for parametrically creating 3D models. To start, it typically uses 2D information and extrudes it into 3D representations and allows the visualization of these 3D models using standard and popular textures and graphic representations of building facades. Over the last several years, Esri has been integrating key components of CityEngine into ArcGIS for Desktop, culminating in the release of a lot of the parametric design tools in ArcGIS Pro.

CityEngine has also been advancing, and we shipped a new version in June with enhanced design and parametric visualization capabilities. Going forward, Esri intends to enrich CityEngine with new usability tools, content generation rules (buildings and trees), and interactive design tools as a platform for professional urban design and planning. This environment will also be tightly integrated with ArcGIS Online, allowing the consumption of ArcGIS Online 2D and 3D services as well as the ability to easily publish the results of CityEngine design sessions in the ArcGIS Online environment.

I’m interested in using Esri CityEngine. Does Esri offer any support for organizations looking to integrate CityEngine into their GIS?

Yes. To get started with CityEngine we recommend you check out the series of Follow-Along-Demos Esri provides that are designed to introduce users to the basic concepts of CityEngine, demonstrate the workflow for creating a 3D city model, explain how to create and share rule packages, and outline the process for exporting 3D models from CityEngine to various 3D formats. These one-hour demos are free and available through Esri’s Educational Services. Additional information and resources, including sample projects, rules and assets, are also available from the Esri CityEngine Resource Center.

For those users looking for more comprehensive support, Esri Professional Services offers the Esri CityEngine Jumpstart Services Package. Over 3 days, we introduce the software capabilities through a standard Esri dataset, then we discuss essential concepts while working with your data, and finally publish a 3D web scene to your ArcGIS Online account.

What is a Web Scene?

A Web Scene is a 3D view that users can interact with in a web browser with no plugin or download, using a mobile device, or in ArcGIS for Desktop. Web Scenes are conceptually similar to Web Maps – they are composed of intelligent geographic data layers – but are different from maps.  Maps focus on 2-dimensional visualization of geography; scenes are 3-dimensional.

Web Scenes support multiple scales. They can be used to view and share an Earth view of global scientific data, such as land surface temperature or sea surface temperature. Zooming down to landscape scale, Web Scenes can explore detailed elevation with high resolution imagery and bring in operational layers, for example, flight track logs or a city/campus scene with detailed 3D buildings, trees, and bodies of water, etc.

What’s happening with the Web Scene data type that Esri published last year?

Web Scenes are evolving and moving from a pre-cached static view of limited extent to a dynamic view and extent. Users will interact with very large Web Scenes in their browser, and data will be dynamically downloaded as users interact with the 3D view.


More can be read on the official site here.