Making Small-Scale Models (Quickly and Low Cost) with CyberCity 3D

So you want to create a small, localized model of a neighborhood or even just a single city block. You might need this model to highlight a new development proposal, attract an investor to a vacant property, or just visualize some proprietary GIS data. The problem comes when it’s time to create the 3D buildings. The options are extremely limited: download low-quality, crowd-sourced OpenStreetMap buildings, hire an expensive 3D modeler, or create rough “massings” yourself. Each has its share of drawbacks and costs. Luckily for you, there is an alternative! Read on for a brief look at this ideal solution (hint: it’s CyberCity 3D).

While CyberCity 3D has become known for city-wide 3D models spanning dozens of square miles, we also offer data primed for small-scale projects like those described above. We can “carve out” as small an area as you need from our 90+ city library. Models can be provided in formats suitable for applications that specialize in these smaller maps (i.e. SketchUp, Rhino, and InfraWorks). From there, you are free to bring in all other layers to complete a finished “look” for high quality renderings. Check out a quick story on a demo map we created with this in mind.

First, the finished product:

Real Estate Demo quickly created by CyberCity 3D, Inc.

As you can see in the text below, this rendering owes itself to a variety of data sources:

  • 3D buildings by CyberCity 3D, Inc. — This is a piece of our Washington DC database (full dataset seen on Cesium here). We carved out this specific area and output the models in SketchUp format. As usual, all structures are highly accurate with respect to their real-world dimensions and placement.
  • Basemap by Stamen — Stamen Design, a leading geospatial analytics and visualization company, offers free downloads of portions of their basemaps. This is a image tile of their “Toner” map.
  • White House model from SketchUp 3D Warehouse — CyberCity 3D produces high resolution 3D data. However, for specialty buildings such as landmarks or structures with highly artistic shapes, sometimes a hand-built 3D model is ideal. The SketchUp 3D Warehouse offers thousands of such models for free. That is where we found this White House.
  • Data Assembled in SketchUp/Graphic Design in Inkscape— Assembling the data can be the hardest part of the process. For this demo, we integrated all the pieces together in SketchUp, exported the model as a high resolution image, and touched it up with color and text in the free graphic design platform, Inkscape.

There you have it. A full-fledged rendering of a 3D model using a variety of data sources for high quality visual communication. Obviously this is not the only way to create a rendering like this- the possibilities are vast when you have high resolution, interoperable 3D models at your fingertips. Stop wasting time and money settling for inferior 3D data and/or expensive modeling services. Call us today for a quote for leading 3D city models at an extremely affordable rate.

By Austin Logie

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