The City of Honolulu is taking city planning into the “third dimension” under a futuristic project that integrates geographic information systems (GIS) with 3D apps. This project is helping visualise and map planning and development proposals — without the upfront costs.
This council is using combined GIS and 3D capabilities to support future city planning, development, and service delivery programme – while managing the risks, according to Esri’s US-based 3D GIS GeoDesign project engineer, Eric Wittner.
Wittner, in Sydney at the Ozri 2012 (Esri) end-user conference (5-7 September 2012), says the City of Honolulu’s 3D trial began five months ago. “3D visualisation techniques help colour in the detail. End-users can visualise – from the ground-up – exactly what a revitalised city or location will look like.”
3D visualisation techniques help manage the risk of costly planning proposals – while ensuring that forecasts are factored in, at the outset, for project planning and service delivery.
Councils can use 3D tools to “create” cities before these are actually built. At the same time, they can incorporate planning, zoning, and density guidelines into overall planning. These simulations offer Lego-like building blocks, so that planners can add or subtract the design components, as and when these are needed.
Worldwide, cash-strapped councils are weighing the pros and cons of integrated 3D GIS platforms. Among the apps, 3D simulations can help councils tighten the workflow, minimise upfront risks, save on the cost of contractors, and “imagine” a city of the future.
This visualisation helps plan for additional council services. These services encompass the minutia of urban living, including access to parks, transport, leisure, entertainment, and tourism. Increasingly, 3D visualisation, together with GIS, is a cost-effective alternative, also supporting improved service delivery.
Simulating future cities – directly at the desktop, smartphone or laptop – helps support an integrated planning process. These simulations can help councils, and other government planners, more cost-effectively conceptualise, analyse and share “visual maps” and images — while utilising GIS data.
In future, tax-payers should be able to access 3D plans and other simulations through popular web browsers, including Safari, Firefox or Chrome.
This web access will enable tax-payers to share council plans, and comment on these proposals, without having to attend time-consuming planning meetings.
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