Preparing Data for CityEngine (2016.0 Update)

The CityEngine 2016.0 release was a ground breaking release. For those who are new to CityEngine and unfamiliar with the workflows, the new release cuts out a significant amount of time required to access and prepare data for use in CityEngine. For those who still want to use their own data…great!

You can find more information about preparing your data here.

For those who want a quick way of getting data and getting a CityEngine project up and running as quickly as possible, CityEngine 2016 is here to help with the Get map data wizard.

The Get map data wizard can be accessed by opening a scene in CityEngine and going to File > Get map data.  In the wizard, use the map to zoom to and select the area you want data from. The area selected can be from 500 m x 500 m to 100,000 m x 100,000 m. Three types of data can be grabbed by the wizard: Basemap, Esri World Elevation, and OpenStreetMap.

The basemap data is used as imagery (also referred to as texture) to be draped over the elevation layer. The basemap options allow you to select the basemap you want (Satellite, Streets, Topo, Dark Gray, or Light Gray), along with the image resolution. The resolution you select will determine the number of pixels the imagery has. The actual resolution of the imagery will depend on both the extent and resolution. For example, a 500 meter extent with a low resolution of 1024 pixels wide is less grainy than a 1,000 meter extent with the same resolution. As high resolution is not available across the globe, you may need to choose a lower resolution or larger area to get data. The Esri World Elevation will pull terrain data, or digital elevation model (DEM) data, from the Esri elevation service. OpenStreetMap data includes networks (streets) and polygons (building footprints).  OpenStreetMap is an open source, user-produced dataset, so coverage cannot be guaranteed, particularly for building footprints.

One thing to keep in mind when selecting data is that CityEngine is a memory intensive program and the larger the area and the higher the resolution, the more memory is required. If the computer has limited memory, you must consider that when selecting data to import.

With each new version of CityEngine, the software gets smarter, easier, and more groundbreaking. This blog only touched on the Get map data portion of the software, but there are more exciting features to check out, such as sharing scene packages, alembic modeling, and accessing data from ArcGIS Online. For a full list of new features, go here.

Rebecca R. & Andrew J. – Desktop Support

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