Applications of 3D city models
3D City Models (3DCM) are digital representations of the Earth’s surface and
related objects belonging to urban areas (like cities, factories, buildings etc.).
The need for 3D city model is growing and expanding rapidly in many fields.
3D city models make it easier for people to understand the spatial properties of
The contents of 3D city model mainly include Digital Terrain Model (DTM),
sites (e.g., buildings and bridges), transportation objects (e.g., street and
railway), vegetation, water bodies, and so on.
Figure1. A gallery of 3D city models
APPLICATIONS OF 3DCM
Figure 2: Applications of 3DCM
Ran Chen(2011) :
The advantages of 3DCM over 2DCM.
Used Arc GIS for 3DCM.
HafenCity, Hamburg in Germany was been modelled.
Fanlin Yang, Litao Han(2012):
Integrated SketchUp and ArcGIS for 3D city modeling and scene
Modelled for a factory in Jiangsu Province.
Abdelkader E.G (2013):
Investigated the necessity of detailed surface representation in order to generate
a feasible platform for the detailed simulation of urban modeling.
Historic Medina of Fez , Morocco was been 3D modelled.
Used the concept of 3D GIS modeling techniques to generate a university
campus model (real 3D GIS model) by using Arc scene.
3D modelled for Al-Bayt University in Jordan.
The 3DCM generated was proved to be effective use in the decision making
process to communicate ideas very quickly and which help to make better
Surendra, Kamal Jain & Ravibabu (2014) :
3D modelled using the image based data.
3D modelled the Civil engineering Department of IIT Roorkee.
The image based method was proved to be very easy and also very suitable for
3D modeling of an urban area. Cost and Time is main advantages of this
Case study 1
Sivasamy M, et. al., (2012):
Objective of this case study:
To map the urban area in 2D from various sources and to visualize them in
3D along with various information related to that particular building.
To create a database for the study area from various sources.
To create the 3D urban city model.
Study area: Vadaj, Ahmadabad. The study area is located at 23°02N 72°35E.
Software Used: Arc GIS version 9.3.
Figure3. Study area
Figure 4: Methodology adopted
Figure5: Building wise land use
Figure6: Plot & building wise land use
Figure7: Plot wise land use
Virtual City Model built using advanced GIS techniques gave the
better visualization of urban areas.
The average elevation of the area was identified as 53 metres.
3DCM provided the information about urban land use to local
communities more precisely.
This application enables users to visualize complicated urban planning
information in 3D way, to evaluate allowable capacity of block and to
simulate building plans.
With visualization and analysis capability, 3DCM is considered as a
powerful tool to solve various issues which modern cities confront.
Classification of urban structures into different classes depending upon
their usage type in 3D model (Virtual City) is additional feature of this
Case study 2
Sagar Mali et. al., (2012):
Objective of this case study :
To create the 3d city model for urban planning and development.
To assess the utility infrastructure of Dahisar region of Mumbai city by
developing utility information system (UIS).
Mumbai city is the ‘Economical Capital’ of India. The study area is a part
of Dahisar region which is located towards northern side of Mumbai. The
study area covers 376011.16 sq. m area and located between 19° 15’ North
to 19° 15’ 20” North Latitude and 72° 51’ 40” East to 72° 52’ East
3D City model:
The vertical growth map
was created to classify
various buildings according
to their height, the minimum
elevation of a building is 4.5
m and maximum is 60.5 m.
The analysis reveals that 10
per cent buildings are
between 10 to 15 m height.
Figure 10: 3DCM in Arc scene
Figure11: Vertical growth distribution
Assessment of Urban Utility Information:
By joining spatial and non-spatial data like utility information it is was easy to identify the
locations of various utilities like hospitals, schools, banks, petrol pump, ATM centers,
Each utility centre provides facilities to surrounding area which comes under its service
zone. In study region, two hospitals are available for providing health facility.
With respect to school facility, there are four schools in Dahisar area. A buffer zone of 200
m has been created from the school location. The analysis shows that 52% area has only
one school facility, 22.5% area has dual source and 0.5% area has got maximum school
facility from three sources.
Figure12: Facility zones
TIN MAP :
TIN model of the study region
has been generated to study
surface topography of the area.
The analysis shows that
elevation increases from north
to south and the average height
of this area is 10 m.
3DCM evaluates the urban space efficiently and provides the information
about urban planning to local communities.
With visualization and analysis capability, 3DCM is considered a powerful
tool to solve various issues which modern cities confront.
The 3D city models are used for engineering and non-engineering
Abdulla Al-Rawabdeh, Nadhir Al-Ansari, Hussain Attya and Sven Knutsson, “GIS Applications for
Building 3D Campus, Utilities and Implementation Mapping Aspects for University Planning Purposes,”
Journal of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Jan. 2014, Volume 8, No. 1 (Serial No. 74), pp. 19-28.
Abdelkader El Garouani, Abdalla Alobeid, “Digital Surface Model generation for 3D City Modeling (Fez,
Morocco),” presented the paper in Eighth National GIS Symposium in Saudi Arabia – April 15-17, 2013,
Amat Nor Ainah, Setan Halim and Majid Zulkepli,,“Integration of aerial and close range Photogrammetric
methods for 3D City modeling generation”, Geoinformation Science Journal,2010, Vol. 10, No. 1, 49-60.
Fanlin Yang, Litao Han, “A New Method for Rapidly Modeling and Managing 3D City Scene,” 2nd
International Conference on Remote Sensing, Environment and Transportation Engineering (RSETE),
Jianjun Li, Bohua Ying, Weili Yang, Zhuanxia Ning; Wenjing Cui, “The Application of ArcGIS and
SketchUp in the Virtual Campus Construction,” International Conference on Multimedia Technology
Kobayashi.Y, Photogrammetry and 3D city modelling, “Digital architecture and planning” 2006, School of
Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Arizona State University, USA.
Paul Rajesh, Subramanian Siva, and Bharadwaj Shalabh, “Creation of Digital City Models Using Single
High Resolution Satellite Image”, Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote sensing, April 2006, 341-
Ran Chen, “The Development of 3D City Model and Its Applications in Urban Planning,” Department of
Urban and Regional Planning, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China, 19th International Conference on
Sagar Mali, Sachin Panhalkar, C. Pawar & Sandipan Das, “Generation of 3-D City Model for Urban Utility
Information System Using Digital Photogrammetry & GIS Technology,” Global Journal of Researches in
General Engineering, Volume 12 Issue 3 Version 1.0 Year 2012 .
Surendra Pal Singh, Kamal Jain & V. Ravibabu Mandla, “Image based Virtual 3D Campus modeling by
using City Engine (civil engineering department, IIT Roorkee),” American Journal of Engineering
Science and Technology Research,Vol. 2, No. 1, January 2014, PP: 1 - 10, ISSN: 2327 – 8269.