Transform 2D Data into 3D City Models Faster with Esri CityEngine 2012

New Version Includes 3D Web Viewer for Expanded Sharing Capabilities

Esri CityEngine 2012, the latest version of Esri’s software to create smart 3D city models, is now available. Esri improved CityEngine with a new graphic user interface and refined workflow designed to speed transformation of 2D GIS data into smart 3D cities. In addition, 3D city scenes can be shared directly through custom URLs, in ArcGIS Online, or on web servers of private organizations.

CityEngine 2012

CityEngine 2012

Easy-to-use editing tools are now integrated into the CityEngine interface, providing more immediate visual feedback. Esri also simplified the workflow for creating 3D city scenes. From starting with a 2D building footprint to being fully finished, creating highly detailed 3D city scenes now only takes five steps.

“For CityEngine 2012, we focused on improving the key workflows in GIS, urban planning, and entertainment production,” says Pascal Mueller, director of Esri R&D Center Zurich. “We developed new tools for the 3D editing of buildings, introduced 3D zoning techniques for better urban design, and made CityEngine fully compatible with ArcGIS.”

Sharing 3D city models is also easier than ever via the new CityEngine 3D Web Viewer. Three-dimensional models can now be exported as URLs that display in a browser-based viewer. This greatly expands CityEngine sharing capability because scenes can be opened independent of CityEngine on any Internet-accessible device.

“Smart cities of the future will be designed more transparently, and the design process will engage citizens,” says Esri president Jack Dangermond. “With CityEngine 2012, smart city scenes can be published directly on ArcGIS Online for sharing new developments, design proposals, and before-and-after-comparisons with nontechnical decision makers and the public.”

CityEngine is available for the Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms in Basic and Advanced versions. CityEngine Advanced is available with single or concurrent use licensing and comes with all features, including Python and advanced import/export format support.

For more information and a free 30-day trial with full export capabilities, visit

[Source: Esri press release]

Obesogenic Environments in Youth: Concepts and Methods from a Longitudinal National Sample

American Journal of Preventive MedicineAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine, May 2012, Vol. 42, No. 5

“To effectively prevent and reduce childhood obesity through healthy community design, it is essential to understand which neighborhood environment features influence weight gain in various age groups. However, most neighborhood environment research is cross-sectional, focuses on adults, and is often carried out in small, nongeneralizable geographic areas. Thus, there is a great need for longitudinal neighborhood environment research in diverse populations across the life cycle. This paper describes (1) insights and challenges of longitudinal neighborhood environment research and (2) advancements and remaining gaps in measurement and study design that examine individuals and neighborhoods within the context of the broader community. Literature-based research and fındings from the Obesity and Neighborhood Environment Database (ONEdata), a unique longitudinal GIS that is spatially and temporally linked to data in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N=20,745), provide examples of current limitations in this area of research. Findings suggest a need for longitudinal methodologic advancements to better control for dynamic sources of bias, investigate and capture appropriate temporal frameworks, and address complex residential location processes within families. Development of improved neighborhood environment measures that capture relevant geographic areas within complex communities and investigation of differences across urbanicity and sociodemographic composition are needed. Further longitudinal research is needed to identify, refıne, and evaluate national and local policies to most effectively reduce childhood obesity.”

Earth Science Week 2012 Focuses on the Importance of Geoscience Careers

Message to the Geospatial Industry: Promote the Week and the Career Pathway

In 1998 the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) launched Earth Science Week (ESW) “to help the public gain a better understanding and appreciation for the earth sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth.” Over time, the annual event has set its chief focus on K-16 teachers and students, working to build interest in the geosciences—in classroom teaching, college majors, and ultimately the geosciences workforce.

ESW 2012 runs October 14-20 but in many ways this is the kick-off of a year’s worth of exploration. The ESW web site points to an array of resources and activities educators, students, and the public can access. Over 16,000 educational kits have been sent to schools across the country. Each kit contains a range of timeless educational resources including a calendar of monthly lessons produced by ESW sponsors and supporters. This year Esri, a sponsor of ESW since 2005, has produced an activity on geospatial careers for November, providing a tie to GIS Day, and a print resource pointing educators to the Esri Education Community including ready-made ArcGIS Online maps, apps, and galleries with an education focus like the STEM-GIS gallery.

STEM Gallery

Each year, ESW is framed by a compelling, organizing theme. For 2012, the theme is Discovering Careers in the Earth Sciences. The preface to the activity calendar proclaims the mission: To enhance our understanding of interactions among the Earth systems—the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere —we all need to know about the work done by professional geoscientists.”  While learning about what the geosciences workforce does every day is an overarching goal, a deeper foundational motivation is clear from a story in the December 2011 issue of Earth magazine, “Jobs, jobs everywhere, but not enough people to fill them.” In short, the article peers into 2021 and predicts that geoscience jobs will grow far faster than the current stream of incoming geoscience graduates are entering the workforce. The combination of rapidly advancing Baby Boom generation retirements and constrained flow of new qualified entrants equates to a gap of 145,000-202,000 geoscience jobs unfilled in 2021.

The Esri Education Program, a 20-year proponent of the use of geospatial technology in science education, has been attentive to this and similar impending dilemmas and prospects in a variety of fields. As we look at the current state of the world, imagine the future, and recognize that others must jump into the breach to tackle local to global matters and predicaments, we have always seen GIS and a geographic perspective as essential to working to steward the planet and local communities. This very much includes the geoscience community—from people seeking to solve energy sustainability issues to those helping ensure our planetary ecological footprint is softer to those contending with interrelated ocean and atmosphere changes. A great step forward is getting the geospatial industry to embrace and actively promote Earth Science Week and the geosciences career pathway.

Anyone who has participated in the annual Esri International User Conference or has pored over the annual Esri Map Book knows that geography and science touch our lives every day. It is incumbent upon us, and others we inspire, to confirm that what seems like fringe technology and approaches are clearly mainstream and that our collective futures depend upon advancing them and that greatly includes the broad range of the geosciences.

Choose a GIS Career

By George Dailey, Esri Education Program Manager