Everyone is doing game engines these days it feels like. I think basically once we in the built environment professions started talking about digital twins the idea that current geospatial and CAD systems could cope with the sheer amount of visualisation required, disappeared! Convergence of various professional’s outputs on game engines like Unreal or Unity is now all but inevitable. Tools like CityEngine help me get in that world and take GIS data and publish into a game environment relatively easily.

One day I expect GIS and associated tools will just be a subset of tools/functionality to a game engine environment. I might even go further and say Epic might even just buy a geospatial software developer like Esri. Perhaps you don’t believe me? Well perhaps you need to look at Esri’s ArcGIS Pro and how developers expect users to want to display data (think nice water effects, animation, video output) even ArcGIS Online has animated weather options. Yes I know we have a way to go yet, but I don’t think I am far off.

Anyway this post is really highlight to those who don’t know and haven’t seen Esri’s social feeds that they have released publicly (out of beta) an ArcGIS Maps SDK for Unreal Engine. It allows you to pull in data from the Esri platform quickly into your Unreal Engine creations. Genuinely this is a fantastic toolset for those wanting to inject real world data into their visualisation and/or game environments!

Is this a game changer? Not yet but as I’ve already sort of said, the direction of travel for visualisation is marked out ahead of us.

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