An increasing number of Australian states government departments and local councils are using or are in the process of acquiring virtual 3D city models as part of their planning and development strategy. In addition to other geospatial information layers integrated into interactive 3D GIS solutions such as Skyline TerraExplorer, these new tools provide intuitive and innovative ways to communicate complex information and develop long-term management strategies.

Please note that all the information contained into the following pictures and videos are for illustration purpose only  and have no official basis. Click the media to enlarge.

Traditional virtual 3D city models are often simplified individual objects where other smaller assets (such as street furniture, trees, cars, footpaths) are missing or added manually. Photogrammetric 3D city models such as this aero3Dpro model of Townsville provide a robust base dataset where every modelled asset is a close representation of the reality; this is particularly true for trees.

These intelligent virtual city environments based on 3D models generated from 3D photogrammetry provide:

  • Tools for planners and developers to perform accurate analysis on the impact of new developments (taking into account other objects such as trees). Sight lines can be checked to make sure neighbour’s privacy are respected. Sun and shade analysis can be applied to simulate the impact of the shade on the surrounding area.


Townsville building high restriction (experiment)

Townsville building high restriction made easy in Skyline TerraExplorer

shadow analysis of a building in Melbourne using aero3dpro

Shadow analysis of a building in Melbourne using aero3Dpro

  • Tools for emergency services and law enforcement such as immersive simulation, hazard assessments, flood modelling, planning/response coordination, trafficability, line of sight (for example surveillance camera optimal location), telecommunication coverage, building ingress/egress.


aero3dpro model of Melbourne under water

aero3Dpro model of Melbourne under water

  • Visually appealing and clear way to communicate information to all stakeholders including the public and non-technical decision makers. In addition to non-interactive and interactive fly-through, augmented and virtual reality technologies also provide new communication mechanisms.

aero3Dpro virtual city model of Darwin using Oculus Rift


Augmented reality app of buildings in Adelaide

Augmented reality app of buildings in Adelaide

  • New ways to extract and show information by improving the convergence between geospatial and non-geospatial disciplines and fusing data.

Integration of earthmine interactive street-level imagery and an aero3Dpro 3D model of Karratha into TerraExplorer

Interacting with a virtual 3D city model of Townsville in TerraExplorer Skyline

Interactive fly-through over Townsville using Oculus Rift virtual reality headset

Townsville aero3Dpro model

Townsville aero3Dpro model at sunset


These information-rich 3D environments provide accessible virtual platforms to improve the way decisions are made and complex information are extracted and communicated.