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Bringing 3D to Life in ArcGIS Pro

Bringing 3D to Life in ArcGIS Pro

Cesar Suarez
By Cesar Suarez
Geospatial Product Manager
May 31st 2022
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Maps are ubiquitous to the art and practice of cartography.

They provide both quantitative information and visual cues to 2D geospatial patterns. Advancements in 3D data collection, such as reality capture from drones and smart phones, are transforming GIS into a multi-dimensional experience. Users now expect to visualize geospatial data in both 2D and 3D at any point in time of the location-intelligence workflow. Presagis is contributing to this shift in user experience through the release of the 3D Environments Add-in for ArcGIS Pro. What we will be discussing is how to bring 3D GIS data to the next level within ArcGIS Pro, and how Presagis can help.

3D Environments Add-In for ArcGIS Pro is available on the the Presagis website and the Esri Marketplace.

The Geospatial data tsunami

Similarly, geospatial data itself is not only increasing in importance and variety (and formats!), but in sheer quantity. To the surprise of no one, the amount of GIS data generated on a daily basis is staggering. An explosion of data from a variety of devices, and connected possibilities, will see our world generate 10,000 times more data than is already in existence. Agencies, companies, and countries are consistently collecting more data than they can process and analyze– impacting the need for critical and complex decision making.

There’s more data. So what?

More data means more opportunities – in terms of enhanced visualization possibilities, better simulation and contextual analysis – not just in 3D, but 4D and 5D too.

Yes, 5D. We will get to that later.

The evolution of computing and the data boom data, combined with the power of game engine platforms, streaming technology, and GPU-enabled visualization (not to mention reality capture devices!) are changing the face of GIS and 3D modeling and simulation applications.

So how does this affect ArcGIS Pro users? How can they take advantage of these fundamental industry changes to ring more value to their projects?

Glad you asked.

Using 3D Environments, the ability to create and implement detailed and realistic 3D content in ArcGIS Pro has never been easier.

A new Add-In that Brings 3D to Life

Developed by Presagis, pioneers in the MODSIM industry, the 3D Environments Add-In for ArcGIS Pro supports this above-mentioned trends by allowing ArcGIS users to ingest modeling and simulation data, such as OGC Common Database (or CDB short), directly into your ArcGIS Pro projects.

A striking increase in the visual appeal, realism and immersion of 3D virtual data

The 3D Environments Add-In allows the ingestion of OpenFlight models and CDB layers into an ArcGIS Pro project, and will soon support 3D Tiles data.

The result? A striking increase in the visual appeal, realism and immersion of 3D virtual data in ArcGIS Pro all the while maintaining geospatial accuracy.

One of the things the video above demonstrates is how the 3D Environments Add-In is capable of extracting CDB layers (including terrain, building footprints, vegetation) as well as OpenFlight models directly into I3S for ArcGIS Pro Projects.

As the GIS and ModSim worlds converge, the ability to add realism and accuracy to an Esri project just got a lot easier – especially for those working in the CDB format.

What is CDB?

In short, it is an open format for the storage, access and modification of a representation of the natural and built environment for simulation applications. OGC-compliant, the CDB (Common Data Base) specification relies on three important means to organize the synthetic environment data or the Digital Twin:

  • Tiles
  • Layers
  • Levels of Detail (LOD)

A great advantage of the CDB Specification is that is an open database format, a source data repository, and a runtime publishing format. All in one.

This means that CDB layers are read and published directly from their source format and the 3D Environments Add-In supplies the interoperability between formats.

Transforming ArcGIS Data

Another interesting functionality shown in the video above is the transformation of existing ArcGIS vector data (building footprints, vegetation, 3D models) into stylized 3D buildings, models and vegetation using I3S and Presagis Building Templates and texture libraries.

3D Environments Add-In allows for the digitizing and editing of new vector points while in ArcGIS Pro

The 3D Environments Add-In allows for the digitizing and editing of new vector points (points, lines, or polygons) while in ArcGIS Pro and does not hinder any of the editing tools. In fact, all of ArcGIS Pro’s analytical tools work with the geometry of the published 3D data layers and are not layer dependent.

Moreover, you can use ArcGIS Pro tools (including Exploratory Analysis tools) with ingested 3D data that is combined with additional user data.

More Cool Features

This new Add-In has a few more features that might be useful to ArcGIS Pro users:

  • Adding 3D Models: The 3D Environments Add-In also permits the addition and overlaying of 3D models in a project/scene. This functionality extends to buildings, entities, landmarks, trees, lampposts, and much more.
  • Format Conversion: In addition, 3D Environments is equipped with conversion tools that let users convert to the I3S and OpenFlight formats.
  • Building Templates: Bringing those lovely white/grey blocks to life is dead-easy using Presagis 3D building templates. These templates provide access to our styling algorithms and texture libraries to enhance the visual appeal and realism of a project.
3D Environments Add-In Webinar
3D Environments Add-In Webinar

Summing Up

Not only can the 3D Environments Add-In extract CDB layers (including terrain, building footprints, vegetation and OpenFlight models) directly into i3S for ArcGIS Pro projects, but it can transform existing ArcGIS vector data (such as building footprints) into stylized 3D buildings.

This Add-In is part of the VELOCITY 5D ecosystem that revolutionizes the way in which you manage the production of digital twins and large virtual environments.

By combining best-of-bread tools with next generation architecture, V5D provides breakthrough performance in geo-localized content management. From 2D to 3D, you can seamlessly transform diverse GIS data streams into rich, multispectral environments, complete with pattern of life, humans, crowds, traffic, interactions, and behaviors. The result is a digital twin that delivers more than area, space, and time – it delivers the fifth dimension: context.

Presagis recently held a webinar that discussed, in detail, what the 3D Environments Add-In brings to ArcGIS Pro users.

Next Steps: Try or Buy

The 3D Environments Add-in is currently available at the ArcGIS Marketplace as well as the Presagis website where you can download it and start testing for 30 days at no charge.

3D Environments Add-in is sold as a subscription-based product and includes maintenance, technical support, samples, and documentation.

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Realistic 3D in ArcGIS Pro

Realistic 3D in ArcGIS Pro

With our new 3D Environments Add-In for ArcGIS Pro, Presagis is bringing the detailed realism of the modelling and simulation market to Esri users.