Monday, October 1, 2012

CityEngine 2012 - First look

CityEngine 2012 is imminent and there are several new features worthy of your attention. Some of them will be of interest to GIS professionals only but there is plenty of new functionality for everybody.

Here are key new features:

  • 3D Editing of generated models
  • Full support for file geodatabase
  • Web Scenes sharing via ArcGIS Online
  • New CGA functionality
  • New examples
  • Licensing mechanism update
Here are some details about above points.

3D Editing of generated models
Until now it was not possible to edit models generated by rules. Now there is a set of basic 3D editing tools and functions that allows SketchUp like editing. Edited multipatches can be saved back to the file geodatabase. To get most out of it check out the Tutorial 14 Basic Polygonal Modeling.

Full support for file geodatabase
The big improvement is import and export of textured multipatches. Not only that textures are supported but one can choose to append to existing feature class, update it or create a new one. This will make it much easier to create several design options for planners and designers.

Web Scenes sharing via ArcGIS Online
Scenes created in CE can now be shared with much greater audience. The scene is uploaded to ArcGIS Online and there you specify how it will be shared. Some examples are already live on 3D Web Scenes page. This is an excellent opportunity for planners, urban designers, landscape architects to present solution to wide (or limited) audience. Just to remind you that your browser must support WebGL. Latest versions of Chrome and FireFox work just fine. Below is an example of tiny web scene exported from CityEngine before it is published to ArcGIS Online.

New CGA functionality
New envelope operation is set to be an instant hit with urban designers and planners. It allows you to visualize build volumes. When used in tandem with mass models or as-built representation one can quickly find out problem areas. Envelope operation is also nicely demonstrated in this short video.

For more accurate analysis go to ArcGIS and use Intersect 3D tool.

Before publishing your scene as Web scene you will most likely use reduceGeometry operation to reduce number of vertices. For troublesome geometry use cleanupGeometry operation.

For full list of changes check the CGA Changelog in CityEngine help.

There are also changes in user interface. Icons on toolbars are now in single colour - black. 


And now something little bit different. I have a privilege to present a half day workshop on Geodesign at Asia Pacific User Conference in November in Auckland. Several papers about use of CityEngine will be  also presented. Hope to see you there.

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