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creating 3d maps out of building footprints

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#1
jonathanelevy

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Hey all,

I've never done a 3d map of a city but have recently been asked to do so for the cities of long beach, ca and palm springs, ca. These maps will be static and will be posters for display as well as for the web. Interactivity is not needed. The only way I figure I can do it is to acquire the building footprints with some type of height data associated with it, extrude, bevel and voila!??

does anyone know a good source for building footprints for these two cities?

Does anyone have any other suggestions or techniques they wish to share about how create 3d maps of cities?

And lastly, is anyone with more experience in 3d mapping than me willing to work with me on this project? Compensation would of course be provided.

Best, Jonathan

ps-attached is the 3d map they sent me as and example.

#2
Rob

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I'm not seeing the attachment.

#3
jonathanelevy

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I'm not seeing the attachment.

sorry...lets try that attachment again!

Attached Files



#4
frax

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That attachment is more of an artistic piece, rather than something based of data in GIS/3D-software, I think. You should check out Jean-Louis' work, as well as Derek Tonn et al:
http://www.geografix.ca/portfolio.php
http://www.mapformation.com/
Hugo Ahlenius
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#5
Jean-Louis

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and voila!??


instant pictorial map...I wish indeed....

There is to my knowledge no automatic way to generate an oblique view landscape that will look like the sample you provided.

I think Arcmap and other programs can render accurate 3-D views of cities by building the shape up from footprints and elevation data but as far as I know, they only build up rough grey boxes. Moreover, you will find that accurate 3-D views are very unsatisfying and frustrating. (The cool building you want to highlight will invariably end up hidden behind a multi-level parking lot or something!)

You need to get reference like a good and hi-res aerial of your city, plus maybe Google earth and then construct your own version of it.
I,ve been doing this for 25 years and unfortunately still find nothing beats pen, paper, and eye. to get such a view going.

Anyways Jonathan send me a private message with your phone number. I'm sure I can help you out with this kind of project beginning with the question as to whether it is feasible.

While you are at it, check out http://en.wikipedia..../Pictorial_maps for a bird,s -eye-view of this centuries-old type of mapping.

PS I am no longer reachable through Geografix.
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#6
CHART

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Having taken a look at your pdf it seems you need an artist such as Jean-Louis. Not to be biased but his work is among the best for 3d pictorial maps.

Jean-Louis how are you 'officially' reachable?
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#7
Unit Seven

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To do what you are asking is pretty simple with Arc and the Sketchup plugin for ArcGIS. Does exactly that, takes building heights from an attribute in footprint data and extrudes them to 3d for Sketchup. There is plenty of info out there—try the Sketchup site for a start The plugin comes with a fairly straightforward guide to getting this achieved.

...but what you are showing is a much more labour intensive process—think the difference between Cartography and a straight GIS exports. You then have to add the details to the buidings, add other details to the landscape and even with all this work as Jean-Louis says accurate is always the best represention, things get hidden or the message you are trying to communicate could be better shown by exaggerating certain aspects.

As Frax has said I think for the best result you should look into the great work Jean-Louis and Derek do in this area.
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#8
Derek Tonn

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...but what you are showing is a much more labour intensive process—think the difference between Cartography and a straight GIS exports. You then have to add the details to the buidings, add other details to the landscape and even with all this work as Jean-Louis says accurate is always the best represention, things get hidden or the message you are trying to communicate could be better shown by exaggerating certain aspects.


I agree 100%. Extruding polygons is one thing, but taking that and converting it into a beautiful illustration is an entirely different animal. Even using the Sketchup plugin for ArcGIS will still leave you with dozens upon dozens of hours of detail and facade work...particularly if you want to generate a completed piece that will allow you to have close-up views of a variety of structures from multiple angles. Also, with bird's eye/oblique design, you have to be careful not to be TOO accurate or literal in your representation sometimes.

Blasphemy in a mapping forum, I know! :P However, if accuracy (or too much detail) will directly interfere with wayfinding/usability and a user's ability to use the piece to understand or navigate the environment, then just a bit of "artist's license" or creative liberty needs to be applied without straying TOO far away from exact coordinates, building proportions, street widths, etc.

I will take the opportunity to give a shout-out to one of our hard working designers, David Burley, and link to an illustration he did of downtown Minneapolis a few years ago. http://www.mapformat...wntown_mpls.htm That was an entire Summer project for David...but the end results have been stopping people at our booths at conferences for the past 2-3 years. That's an example of static vector work though...compared to the hand-rendered/cartoon-style hybrid image of Long Beach that you have cited. Jean-Louis' style would fit that Long Beach type of look to a T! He would be a PERFECT choice to help you with that project! However, if he decides he is too busy or ??? to help you with this process, I'd be happy to talk with you too. I'm thinking that Bob North (hand-rendered design style), Michael Karpovage (Adobe Photoshop), Terry Sirrell (cartoon-style) or Nate Logston (SketchUp) would be able to come up with something you would be very happy with in the end.

Good luck!
Derek Tonn
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mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#9
DaveB

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Also, with bird's eye/oblique design, you have to be careful not to be TOO accurate or literal in your representation sometimes.

Blasphemy in a mapping forum, I know! :P However, if accuracy (or too much detail) will directly interfere with wayfinding/usability and a user's ability to use the piece to understand or navigate the environment, then just a bit of "artist's license" or creative liberty needs to be applied without straying TOO far away from exact coordinates, building proportions, street widths, etc.


I don't think that's blasphemy. In fact, I think that's a big part of the ART of cartography (and to some extent, the science as well), whether it's an oblique view, 3-D view, "standard" top-down map, whatever. Selectivity, generalization, deliberate distortion and exaggeration, etc. are all part of the cartographer's toolbox (or should be - in my opinion).

I agree with the previous comments that to do what he is showing would take a lot of manual work. Not something that someone is just going to be able to automate in the current state of the art of computer-based mapping.
Dave Barnes
Esri
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#10
Unit Seven

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I don't think that's blasphemy. In fact, I think that's a big part of the ART of cartography (and to some extent, the science as well), whether it's an oblique view, 3-D view, "standard" top-down map, whatever. Selectivity, generalization, deliberate distortion and exaggeration, etc. are all part of the cartographer's toolbox (or should be - in my opinion).

I agree with the previous comments that to do what he is showing would take a lot of manual work. Not something that someone is just going to be able to automate in the current state of the art of computer-based mapping.


Dave beat me to it—this was exactly what I thought as soon as I read it. Aren't we always moving features—sometimes 1000's of kilometres from where they really are depending on scale and surrounding features. Kinda like playing god really. I have been thinking about this recently as those things we just do I've been trying to teach a new cartographer from a GIS background in a large Telecom and trying to explain the 'why' we do them.

…in the current state of the art of computer-based mapping.


Does this mean ArcMap will has the instant pictorial map button planned for 9.4 then Dave? :P
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#11
Jean-Louis

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Just for the record, I have an abhorrence for the usage of the word 'cartoon maps'.

This may explain the point that Derek often brings up.

There are an awful lot of these ‘Tourist’ or ‘artistic’ cartoon- maps everywhere. In my opinion most are unecessarily overly-distorted, poorly drawn and goofy. Some are downright hideous and many are rip-off, one-shot-deal advertising deals.

Even those who execute tourist maps often seem driven by some inexplicable compulsion or habit that dictates: ‘artistic” map means you must draw in a huge, ugly 1950’s smiling sun with sunglasses. Some of these tourist maps are fine of course but people are too polite to say that there are also a lot of cheap, dumb and crass promo items out there that the public refers to as maps.

Yes, there is a deep divide between a Tom Patterson map and a cheesy throw-away advertising placemat that does not deserve the name of map.

Unfortunately the few who, like Derek and I, toil in the labour-intensive and difficult area of illustrated panoramic maps often get unfairly and generically lumped in with that low-end of the market. How many times I had someone look at a map that took me a year to draw and say :‘Cool, I saw the one you did of Cockroach Beach!’
Unlike Derek however, I did not experience that prejudice in the cartographic community, most of which can tell the difference. But there is still a vague lingering perception that ‘artistic’ illustrated map are not really ‘serious’ maps and that is simply because the cheap advertising variety is what the public sees most of.

That is the main reason I created that Wikipedia page. To establish a terminology. The term PICTORIAL map refers to the generic category of illustrated maps (usually oblique-view) and CARTOON map is that particular sub-group style that is often used for lower-end and local tourist markets. Lets drop the term ‘artistic’ map. Personally, the only time I use the word ‘artistic’ is when I don’t want to offend someone’s awful design choices.
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#12
Derek Tonn

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Dave beat me to it—this was exactly what I thought as soon as I read it. Aren't we always moving features—sometimes 1000's of kilometres from where they really are depending on scale and surrounding features. Kinda like playing god really. I have been thinking about this recently as those things we just do I've been trying to teach a new cartographer from a GIS background in a large Telecom and trying to explain the 'why' we do them.


True...I guess I'm just used to hearing comments around here about "Where's the North Indicator?!" or "Why isn't North on top?" from the GIS and traditional cartography crowd....when for a lot of people who are relying upon bird's eye/oblique designs, North is almost a secondary or non-consideration. Showing them what they see from the primary intersection at which they will be approaching the campus? To quote Kenny Bania, a fictitious character from the TV show Seinfeld: "That's gold, Jerry....GOLD!" :P

Seriously though, I guess the difference for me is that IMHO (please don't shoot me if I am over-OVER-simplifying things), GIS design is starting from DATA, X and Y, lat and long, etc....while bird's eye/oblique, on the other hand, is starting from visual stimuli such as oblique aerial photography or hundreds of ground-level photos and half a notebook full of hand sketches and notes. GIS starts with "science" and works its way towards "art," while bird's eye/oblique starts with "art" and works its way towards "science." If you want "art" (bird's eye/oblique), it's probably best to start from art and work your way back towards science (though SketchUp is challenging that assertion). If you want "science" (much more technically precise), best to start from "science" and work your way over towards art.

My $0.02. $1.50 I suppose, with how devalued the US Dollar is about to become... ;)
Derek Tonn
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mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#13
Derek Tonn

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Just for the record, I have an abhorrence for the usage of the word 'cartoon maps'.


Agreed, 100% Jean-Louis! The only reason we use it at all in some of our marketing for one particular genre of bird's eye/oblique designs is because prospective clients know EXACTLY what it is referring to, only they are pleasantly surprised to see what Steve Gray and now Terry Sirrell do with our firm instead of those absolutely horrible "placemat" designs that litter every rest stop and small-town diner from Anchorage to Key West, it seems.

I personally prefer the terms oblique and bird's eye...though a lot of prospective clients do not know what those terms mean. They quickly get it after a bit of explanation. However, they don't get it out of the gate. I think the same issue exists with pictorial...as that could mean anything from 0 degrees (ground-level, looking straight-on) to 90 degrees (from directly overhead). To the average client, I mean.

I think we should just call bird's eye/oblique/pictorial/3D perspective/et al designs "cool" from now on. :P You with me? LOL.
Derek Tonn
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mapformation, LLC

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#14
frax

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Jean-Louis, I would love to see you do a parody of a cheesy map, like the one you describe - but maybe you are too busy for such diversions... :)
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#15
DaveB

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Does this mean ArcMap will has the instant pictorial map button planned for 9.4 then Dave? :P


Not until (I mean, unless) we can do a brain-grab from Derek and Jean-Louis and dump it all into the code behind a button! ;) I can say no more! B)
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