‘Geodesign projects increasingly using 3D’

‘Geodesign projects increasingly using 3D’


US: A number of geodesign projects involving 3D technology, on which Esri has worked, were presented by Eric Wittner, a Technology Evangelist, ESRI at the ESRI User Conference.

Citing many examples Wittner explained that Geodesign is design which considers geography. Wittner provided a classic example of bad and good geosdesign in the US by comparing a standard American suburban development with Frank Lloyd Wright”s renowned waterfall house.

Wittner explained that modern geodesign is a systematic approach to design that uses computer GIS tools to incorporate geography into the process of designing (planning) buildings and infrastructure. Initially geodesign used 2D tools exclusively. But now as 3D is being integrated into GIS tools, geodesign is also beginning to leverage 3D, he said.

Like BIM processes, geodesign is collaborative, but it is perhaps more multi-disciplinary (involving a wider range of stakeholders including politicians and the public), multi-scale (involving different levels of government) and iterative (typical in planning) than is typical of most BIM design processes.

Wittner described a very interesting geodesign project in Philadelphia where the objective was to rezone a part of Philadelphia to encourage economic development. For this project 3D was essential to the analysis.

This involved an iterative process. The existing buildings and spaces were first assessed and 3D models were created. Then a multi-criterion suitability map was developed to assess the development potential. The first attempt showed very little potential for development, primarily because of limited accessibility.

“They then extended a light rail system into the area and found that it enabled much more development potential. They then created 3D models of potential new buildings and looked at times to walk to the light rail stations from different floors, opportunities for residential, commercial, and retail development at different locations and on different floors with different zoning policies, for example, zoning for higher buildings,” Wittner explained.

“For residential potential they used criteria like proximity to retail and light rail, parking, and quality of view. For quality of view, they identified historic buildings, waterfront, and other features that would contribute to what people would like to see. Because they could calculate the square footage available on different floors and at different locations, they had a metric for assessing the development potential for residential, commercial, and retail under different zoning policies. For example, higher buildings tend to favour more residential because the quality of view is better on higher floors,” Wittner added.

Geoff Zeiss, Editor – Building & Energy