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Creating Dense Urban Terrain with Models Generated in Esri CityEngine

Creating Dense Urban Terrain with Models Generated in Esri CityEngine


MetaVR and many of its customers use Esri® CityEngine to generate a 3D model comprised of a large number of geotypical buildings as a culture supplement to terrain built in Terrain Tools for Esri ArcGIS.

CityEngine is a standalone software product for rapidly creating procedural 3D urban models. CityEngine generates the models from building footprints and road vectors using Open Street Map (OSM) data, which are extruded and textured from OSM data using computer generated architecture (CGA) rule files. A single CGA rule file can be used to generate many 3D models using feature attribute information stored in the OSM data.

Using CityEngine output directly in 3D terrain

In a simple workflow, you can output an urban model of many geotypical buildings from CityEngine to FBX format or Collada’s DAE format (for converting the latter to FLT format in Presagis Creator), and then use MetaVR’s FBX or FLT model conversion utility to convert the model to MetaVR’s model format for rendering in Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG). (These utilities are delivered with VRSG.) Then you simply reference the urban model in a cultural feature file like any other model that you want VRSG to load on the terrain at runtime.

Using a CityEngine rules package in Terrain Tools

New in MetaVR Terrain Tools version 1.6 is a feature type for compiling extruded building features using a CityEngine rule package (.RPK) to enable adding large areas of dense culture to 3D terrain quickly and easily. An RPK is a compressed 7-Zip archive package, which contains compiled CGA rule files, and all referenced assets and data. RPKs can be applied to any building footprints.

You do not need CityEngine to use a rule package with Terrain Tools. A selection of rule packages is publicly available from Esri. If you have CityEngine, you can make your own rule packages or modify existing ones to suit your needs. 

Use of Esri CityEngine to generate 13,326 building models for the 3D terrain of Hajin, Syria, resulting in the dense urban environment rendered (on the right) in MetaVR VRSG.