Digital Cities

  1. The new Steve Winwood/Eric Clapton Live Concert DVD is a must buy.
  2. CityGML has 5 levels of detail well defined for 3D cities.
  3. We need to document the early digital cities success stories in terms of ROI.

Now before I get started today, I have to diverge for a moment. For all of you music lovers out there, well at least those of you who can appreciate performers like my wife’s favorite, Eric Clapton, and one of my all time top 5, Steve Winwood – both musical geniuses in their own right you must get their newly released live Madison Square Garden concert DVD set. My wife and I were lucky enough to attend one of the nights, but it is even better on the DVD. Certainly one of the best concerts ever.

From the ridiculous to the sublime. I have to be honest, I am not completely sold on the digital cities concept. I suppose it depends on the level of detail (LOD) that we are talking about, particularly when it comes to the required funding. The OGC has adopted CityGML as the standard for 3D cities. A tremendous amount of thought and work has gone into this standard, which being involved with developing a scan data interoperability standard I can certainly appreciate – it’s like herding cats.

There are 5 levels of detail included in the standard, from 2.5D up to the most detailed which are full blown architectural models with rooms, doors and windows. Of course this is all in 3D with the obvious method for collecting the data being laser scanning. All of the platforms can come into play here – airborne, mobile and static, which being a proponent of the technology I think is great.

What I think needs a lot more work is the business model. I suppose it is not unlike the early days of GIS, where the technology was out in front of the ROI, but is it the same? I can certainly understand certain applications like solar rights and emergency planning, but once again you end up with LOD. How much detail is really needed to perform the analysis?

It will be interesting to see where this all goes, and who steps up in each city to be the champion for these projects. This is classic early adopter territory. We need to document the early successes so that the majority does not have to reinvent the wheel. The good news is we have a data standard already in place.

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