Esri boosts 3D urban modeling software with enhanced content, rule packages
GIS software developer Esri on Wednesday released a new version of its 3D urban design modeling software, CityEngine, with a software developer kit (SDK) that enables its procedural modeling technology to be used in 3D software such as Autodesk’s Maya and 3ds Max, and Trimble’s SketchUp.
CityEngine is based on procedural modeling technology, which automatically generates and textures detailed, large-scale, 3D city models out of 2D data via a predefined set of rules using attributes stored in GIS data, such as building height, window size, and roof material.
With just a few clicks of the mouse, the procedural modeling tools aggregate geospatial data, layout and edit street networks, generate and modify buildings, create 3D road profiles and distribute street furniture, control the shape of the skyline, and analyze urban planning projects.
“We are excited about enabling our third-party developer community with our long-awaited CityEngine SDK, which provides developers with a rich set of tools to create smart 3D city applications,” said Pascal Mueller, director of Esri R&D Center in Zurich, Switzerland.
VIDEO: What’s new in CityEngine 2013
e-on’s 3D plant software
CityEngine 2013 has enhanced content with e-on software’s 3D plant library for realistic digital nature environments such as those created for the blockbuster movies Avatar and The Hunger Games.
Esri also increased the speed of importing street networks and footprints of real-world cities for free from OpenStreetMap http://www.openstreetmap.org/ into CityEngine.
Sharing by browser
Esri released the CityEngine Web Viewer in ArcGIS Online last year, allowing anyone with a WebGL-enabled browser to navigate and explore uploaded 3D cities and environments created in CityEngine and shared on online.
Once 3D content – graphs, shapes and models – has been exported to a web scene, it can be uploaded directly to ArcGIS Online or to a user’s server, or loaded into ArcGIS 3D Analyst for visualization, editing, and analysis.
Also new in this latest version is the ability to create rule packages to help promote and share CityEngine content. Rule packages allow users to write and package procedural rule files for 3D models and other assets in CityEngine and share them with ArcGIS users.
CityEngine is available as a single use license for both the CityEngine Advanced $4,000 and CityEngine Basic for $500. For more information and a free 30-day trial with full export capabilities, visit here. All CityEngine software includes first-year maintenance.