June 28, 2004
Interactive Decision Support for Communities
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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“There is now a reports wizard, which automatically generates reports about a project. There are three different reports in existence right now and we're actually building on that. The first type is a summary of the analysis, which is really basic. It gives you a description of the analysis and scenarios, and a list of assumptions, indicators, attributes and alerts. The second report is a detailed scenario comparison report, which a community would use to post on their website. The third report is a dependency report. Basically if the project changes, for example, if I give you a project on a CD, I can also run you a dependency report, which says I used this data layer and it was
located in x location."

The scenario comparison report is created by a wizard that walks a user through creating the scenario description. You can load two side-by-side views of the different alternatives, you can take screen grabs of the 3D and load those in, and you can also load photos or drawings, such as architectural drawings of the proposed development. Then you have your charts that compare your alternatives side by side. If people perhaps want to look at the numbers, you have the assumptions for each scenario and the total value for each. A third option is to add in any alerts or violations that have occurred.

“A lot of people didn't know how to put the work they had done out there in a format that was both educational and communicative of the project they were working on,"noted Allen. “These reports help automate that communication.”

To create a model, you use data, assumptions, dynamic attributes, indicators, charts and alert buttons on the 360 setup tab. Data can be added either by using the Scenario 360 data entry button or the one in ArcMap. You have some ArcCatalog functionality within the Scenario 360 extension which allows you to create a new data layer, and you can easily find out what attributes within that layer are dynamic.

With assumptions, when you create them, you create properties for them. You can create new categories, you can decide what kind of format they are going to be, and you can also create custom labels and put in alerts.

The product allows you to do side-by-side comparisons with different layouts, and it has basic functions such as zoom, pan, and global view. You can link multiple scenarios as you're zooming in and out, and you can load different chart views and map views, which makes it a great presentation tool.

A function of SiteBuilder 3D is draping. You can create a TIN and drape an orthophoto or anything else on top of it that is georeferenced. It is useful for viewshed sensitivities, and different land-use designations, such as wildlife areas. “You can toggle between the more realistic ortho view scene and the analysis layer. If you are doing a viewshed sensitivity analysis, you can toggle between the 3D and a drape of the sensitivity analysis. Then people can see visual areas of high sensitivity in a 3D model. They can understand that if you develop in certain areas, everyone will be able to see it.”

There is a Get Data button in Scenario 360 which allows you to get data for a scenario or an analysis. CommunityViz partners with MapMart to offer orthophotos, DEMs, and TeleAtlas Street Data.

Future Directions

Scenario 360 is CommunityViz's core product and it will work with multiple 3D tools, both modelers and viewers. ArcScene is similar to SiteBuilder 3D, and when Scenario 360 releases its Arc 9 product it will be compatible with ArcScene. “Our plan is to work with multiple 3D tools, meaning real-time scene views and also some of the modeling tools that are out there,"said Allen. “We already work with Multigen's ModelBuilder 3D (which is different from ESRI's Model Builder). There are also other great tools out there for modeling, like SketchUp. More people are buying modeling tools to be able to customize site location, for example, if our Model Library doesn't have the style of
house that's
most popular in that area, or perhaps they have a completely new development with architecturally rendered drawings that they want to be able to place into the landscape. We are also planning to develop decision tools, like our upcoming Build-Out Analysis tool. In addition to Scenario 360, 3D tools, and decision tools, we hope to integrate with external industry-specific models that are very detailed, thorough applications which can be imported into CommunityViz in order to look at a larger community picture.

Allen said that within their goal to provide more data education and base requirements, she would like to work more on getting some data models released, which they hope to work with other companies to promote.


Scenario 360 and SiteBuilder 3D can be purchased together from CommunityViz or purchased separately. If you purchase SiteBuilder 3D from Multigen-Paradigm, it doesn't integrate with Scenario 360. In addition, the CommunityViz version has a robust 3D Model Library which has houses, street signs, bus stops, etc., specifically designed for community planning. There is also an exportable viewer included in the CommunityViz SiteBuilder 3D software. With the viewer, Allen said, “I can take a scene and export it to you and as long as you have a computer that's fast enough and has a video card in it, you can interactively fly and walk through the scene.”

From the CommunityViz website:

Name Scenario 360
Description Dynamic GIS analysis software that supports land-use decision making through quantitative analysis and 2D visualization
Required Software ESRI ArcMap™ 8.3 (ArcView, ArcEditor, or ArcInfo) with Service Pack 3
Price (includes 1 year of Technical Support & Maintenance) $2,500.00 for one seat

$250.00 for a lap-top add-on (allows you to use the software on a laptop in addition to your regular computer)
Technical Support & Maintenance Plan $625 per seat per year

$750 for one seat plus lap-top add-on per year
System Requirements
- Windows 2000®, NT4.0, Service Pack 6a, or XP

- 256 MB RAM

- 450 MHz Processor

- 1 GB hard disk space

- 2-button standard Microsoft® mouse

Summary (also from CommunityViz website):

With Scenario 360 you can:

- experiment with hypothetical scenarios

- measure economic, social, environmental, and visual considerations

- challenge assumptions on the fly

- view impacts of proposed changes

- make holistic, informed decisions

Common uses of Scenario 360:

- Comprehensive planning

- Site selection and evaluation

- Build-out analysis

- Development proposal analysis

- Cost estimating

- Visual impact analysis

- Land evaluation and sustainability analysis

- Environmental impact statements

- Forest management planning

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