Progress, July 2018

We’re halfway through the year and 18 months into this blog. Here’s what I can tell you.

This has not been a casual effort. I have devoted considerable effort, several hours just about every day and long hours when I can manage, working with the app and learning how to build rules in CGA. I’ve been moving with painstaking attention to detail because, for one thing I have the luxury of time, but I am also mindful one of the most time consuming tasks in any project is often the setup. So I go about my work with the goal of being able to take on a project and have the knowledge to knock it out in reasonable time. There will always be workarounds, but I want to know as many of the simple ones that I can.

I am now “thinking in rules”, imagining how I would build things I see by combining different types of geometry, how I would write the operations in CGA. I look at buildings, streets and terrain in a different way. It is definitely a mindset. One tutorial that left a real impression on me was the Petronas Towers example and seeing how the building was modeled by combining and rotating circle and square geometry. It was an example of the very different thinking I need to cultivate.

Another great tutorial is built over a transect diagram in the “Example Planning 02 – 3D Transect 2016.0” tutorial, which I’ve talked about in two previous installments (search the blog using the keyword “transect”). The diagram is a plan view showing a spectrum of design from natural and rural settings, through suburban and urban centers to an urban core.

I am constantly reviewing and analyzing CGA code. Sometimes I just look at it like I would browse a newspaper. My focus lately has been on the 3D City Design rule set from ESRI’s Redlands Redevelopment tutorial, particularly in modifying it to my needs.

Lately, I’ve been modeling over a plan drawing of a public sports complex which has no urban features, few buildings, lots of terrain, different ground surfaces plus baseball diamonds and soccer pitches. A lot of effort has gone into how to construct the pieces and getting all of them to play well together, seamlessly. This pointed me to start writing my first rules package for creating those baseball diamonds and soccer pitches completely in CGA code. Those tools will be used on future projects.

Striving for Seamless

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Curbs

Curbs

I've been working with and adapting ESRI's 3D City Design Rules. Even so, there has been a lot of customizing, starting with those winding curbs.

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Landscape

Landscape

As in ESRI's transect exercise, I've been working with a base drawing, except there is nothing in the way of city streets.

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I'll Be the Roundabout

I'll Be the Roundabout

A lot of my effort has been centered around this roundabout and the parking lots it feeds. Call it morning driving through the sound of me going crazy (YES fans, you know who you are),

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Divided Road

Divided Road

Actually, two roads divided by a large grassy area. The lots are automatically created when closed roadway loops are drawn.

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YEOWCH!

YEOWCH!

Two roads divided by a large grassy area converge into undivided pavement - just not very gracefully. Here is one problem I'm trying to finesse.

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Lots of Free Parking

Lots of Free Parking

One of the "nose in" parking rules blended with a larger surface.

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Lots of Free Parking #2

Lots of Free Parking #2

It's all about customization. I had to write a special rule for these parking islands.

Along with learning CityEngine, I have started tutorials for Unreal Engine, a rendering tool, plus GeodesignHub.com for implementing a Geodesign process. I’m pulling together things from a number of different direction.

Last spring, a young GIS manager acquaintance of mine had CE dropped in her lap with some pretty stiff expectations. Two months later, she showed me some very good work that I knew took a lot of sweat and headcracking — she needs to get a nice bonus check and maybe a fat raise for being so smart. Heck, I probably ought to buy her a Margarita. As for me, I can feel my knowledge increasing. I love this stuff.

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