Published on Thursday, 20 September 2012 02:08
A landmark 3D mapping technology which could help protect the Darling Downs from future floods has been unveiled to the region’s leading town planners, engineers and environmental scientists during a geospatial conference in Toowoomba today. CityEngine – a 3D mapping technology developed by Geographic Information System (GIS) giant Esri– generates sophisticated ‘real world’ views and simulations of current and future cities to show the impacts of development, and economic, environmental and demographic changes.
Esri Australia 3D GIS expert Len Olyott said the technology had already transformed major cities in China, the U.S. and Europe – and could help towns like Toowoomba develop a more sustainable future.
“Many of the Darling Downs’ leading organisations already leverage GIS technology to map and analyse their assets and assist in planning,” Mr Olyott said.
“In fact, Toowoomba Regional Council was widely acknowledged for using the technology to underpin their response to the devastating 2011 flood.
“CityEngine takes the planning capabilities of GIS technology one step further – enabling stakeholders to simulate future community scenarios as if they were viewing them in the ‘real world’.
“Using 3D analysis tools, users can create sophisticated scenario models that take terrain, elevation and 3D features such as buildings into account.
“By adding further data, such as historical information about flood events and weather patterns, we can determine where areas are capable of flooding and develop in line with that knowledge.
“At the end of the day, this technology gives city planners a new set of tools – so that if disaster strikes again, our cities can be more sustainable and built in a way that mitigates the risk.”
Mr Olyott unveiled CityEngine at the Downs Interest Group for GIS and Remote Sensing (DIGGARS) 2012 forum today at the University of Southern Queensland’s Toowoomba campus.
The event brought together users, developers and educators to discuss the use of GIS technology, remote sensing and global navigation satellite systems in the Darling Downs region.
Mr Olyott said beyond planning for disasters, CityEngine could identify the ramifications of developments across a range of areas including increased population, employment opportunities, environmental impact and public access to infrastructure.
“From a 3D vantage point, we are able to design, build and develop with clarity, foresight and understanding,” Mr Olyott said.
“Multiple scenarios can be played out to see what would happen if certain development paths were taken or not taken – which helps to refine decision-making and choose the most successful path forward.
“For example, users can see how their city would look before and after urban developments, such as higher residential buildings, to show the impacts on a range of areas including skyline, carbon footprint, water usage and traffic congestion.
“This also helps improve community and stakeholder engagement – as the results can be shown before development takes place, to gauge response and feedback.
“For the first time, we are not merely speculating on our region’s alternate futures, but depicting, visualising, and assessing the future to find the best possible design for sustainable cities.”