3D Fusion Summit Report

  1. Between 70 and 80 paid to attend yesterday’s 3D Fusion Summit at MIT.
  2. The major software vendors demonstrated that they can support CityGML – today.
  3. Google and Factory Mutual were among the more note worthy participants.

citygml logo

Somewhere between 70 and 80 people attended the event at MIT yesterday. There was a diverse group of interests represented, and each session was followed by a number of thought provoking questions, and insightful answers .

Regardless of what you want to call it – one person I spoke with said it was more like a collision of technologies rather than a fusion, the OGC and the the 3DIM Working Group deserve a tremendous amount of credit for the work they have completed, and that is ongoing. If you have an interest in 3D, BIM, laser scanning , digital cities and how it is all going to fit together than this is the group you need to be involved with.

In the morning the focus was on software vendors. At times it seemed a bit too much like a commercial, but in the afternoon the rationale for this became crystal clear when Tim Case was doing his summary. As he noted we had all seen that the major software players – Autodesk, Bentley, and ESRI had demonstrated their ability to work with the CityGML standard – today. In some cases, this was through the use of Safe Software’s support for CityGML, but it can be done.

There is no doubt all of the major software vendors believe 3D is the future direction for their customers. As one presenter pointed out, “the Google Earth, video game generation” expects nothing less than 3D.

Ed Parsons from Google was on a panel discussion in the PM along with a number of interesting stakeholder reps, including a senior manager from Factory Mutual. They insure 90,000 commercial buildings worldwide. His presence at the the meeting sent a clear message to me about the diverse interest in 3D digital cities.

The fact is that today only a few cities in Germany have full implementations of CityGML. There is the need for a simpler version perhaps, and better support for the use of CityGML via the web, but to me that can all be summarized with one word – opportunity. There is still much to do, but the critically important foundation standards and prototypes have been developed. The Berlin University, for instance has published a complete Oracle Schema for implementing CityGML.

Of course the key unresolved issues is data. Your author made the case for the importance of LiDAR and laser scanning as tools to support the challenging task of collecting and processing the 3D data. This was well received and it was noted that the Working Group needs to include support for laser scanned data acquisition in their future planning.

The primary challenge/benefit of creating CityGML database lies in the attributes. This is what separates CityGML from Google Street View. CityGML is all about semantics, or what was termed “spatio-semantic coherence”. Google does not support this kind of intelligence. They are all about visualization – that’s where it starts and stops, and I don’t see that changing.

This train is definitely leaving the station. The OGC, the buildingSmart Alliance, the major software vendors, Google, Factory Mutual, the list goes on and on are on board. I don’t think you can afford to miss this one.

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