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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

The First Nationwide 3D Model

November 4th, 2015 by Susan Smith

This week in London at the Hilton Metropole  The Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2015 Conference is being held. The latest product announcements from Bentley Systems were announced, as well as the 2015 Be Inspired Awards, awarded for excellence in various areas of Architecture, Engineering and Construction Excellence. Because GIS is an integral part of the work done in the areas of utilities and 3D cities, it is worth including some of the finalists’ work and some new products announcements in GISCafe Voice coverage. Winners are chosen from a group of finalists, who have submitted their projects for consideration.

After jurors have deliberated during the week to come up with the winners in each category, the Awards Dinner is the crowning event of the conference. In this blog we will look at the winner in the category “Innovation in Government,” as it was profound in its scope and ambitious undertaking using 3D Cities GIS technology.


Singapore Land Authority – Mapping Singapore in 3D

The Singapore Land Authority was the winner in the category “Innovation in Government.” The Authority needed to provide an up-to-date 3D city model of their nation for multiple benefactors. They were challenged with maintaining 3D data and embarked on the first nationwide data project.

While many cities have embarked on a 3D city model, no one has done a national project like this before. Singapore adopted an open standard format, using CityGML, which is not yet popular in their country. It was used to ensure high ROI.

Singapore has been the highest population density per square meters covered with a city/national mapping project, with a total cost of about $8 million, covering an area of 700 square Kilometers, using mobile, airborne, and Bentley products.

Their idea was to “develop once – use by many.” They used the following Bentley tools: Bentley Map, Pointools and ContextCapture, Bentley’s new photo-based capture for real world modeling. They used airborne imaging and laser scanning also. In so doing they are enabling the next generation of 2D/3D cadastre. “We are waiting for the user to define open standards while we work on the project,” said Victor Khoo of the Singapore Land Authority. “We are nailing down the technical aspects of the standards.”

Khoo said originally their plan was to do airborne, but they have had difficulty getting into the sky and capturing data. “We do it airborne once and then the rest of the data will be gathered by drones, terrestrial and on the ground. The project delivers benefits – many agencies recognize they can benefit. The Ministry of Defence and water ministries, land transport, all of them say we should do this more often. We have to depend on our network, we need to get everybody to learn at the same time. Now that government agencies are already getting data from us, we are looking into more automated dissemination of this data.”

The resultant project produced the biggest geospatial dataset ever collected homogeneously in Singapore – several hundred TB of data and products are produced.

This is the first high resolution 3D map that covers the entirety of Singapore. It is also the first nationwide project that completely adopts OGC standards from city models to data base schema. It is also the most comprehensive 2D dataset that includes buildings roads, waterbodies, terrain, vegetation, bridges and tunnels.

Bentley and Oracle Spatial were used in this endeavor to manage and edit 3D data in a federated manner, to operate or an open and interoperable platform, to share data on a secure manner through Service Oriented Architecture.

“In our own department we are looking into 3D cadastre that is higher resolution, and how can it integrate into the model we have?” said Khoo. “We are looking at how the model will help environmental assessments, and doing quantitative modeling such as modeling an urban heat study. The National Environmental Agency deploy sensors on the ground, and use the model, and weather data, to simulate wind and environmental parameters with a sensor to look at urban heat.”

In reply to a query from the audience, Khoo said this is an authoritative model that will stand up in court.

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Categories: 3D Cities, 3D designs, CityEngine 2014, field GIS, OGC, Oracle Spatial

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