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All Places > Esri Technical Support > Blog > 2016 > April

The Esri Support team has launched the new Support website! This is an exciting change that enhances the capabilities of the previous website, improves the organization of Support content, and modernizes the way in which you interact with Esri Support.


In the upcoming weeks, we will be fine-tuning the search results, product content, and downloads on the new Support website. During this time, the old Support website will continue to provide access to both assisted and self-support resources, so you can still contact Support if need be.


While we have done our best to provide the best online support experience possible on the new website, we realize that questions and issues may arise over the new few weeks. We are actively working to address your concerns and fix any problems. A summary of known issues is listed below, and we will be updating this as we move forward.


General Website

  • Contact Support button in the footer opens a 404 page.
  • Contact Support info does not update based on user's location. It is always showing the USA instead of the country of origin.
  • Site navigation dropdowns do not work in the GIS Dictionary
  • The Search bar does not display on the intermediate product selection pages

Main Page

  • Hovering over the "Other Resources" drop down option doesn't always display the list.
  • The Esri Support Services - Overview page content is displaying under the product navigation block.
  • Clicking "Manage Cases" in Support Banner does not redirect to My Support in My Esri, links to My Esri Dashboard when signed in.


  • Filters do not always filter correctly.
  • Result descriptions render with placeholder text
  • Foreign language results are appearing first in Most Relevant results
  • Each result should have the repository icon and hover states for icons
  • Results from some content rrepositories are not returned in the search results page.

Product Pages

  • Content icons are all the same on the product pages.
  • Share button on download pages does not work
  • Print button on content pages does not work
  • The Search Bar is not displayed below the Support Banner on the Product Selection pages
  • Default location for "Visit Product Blog" link in Product Announcements section should be the associated product blog URL
  • GeoNet Discussions: Site renders non-breaking spaces as pure text:  
  • Downloads section should sort results by Most Recent / versions applied to
  • Misspelling in Product Announcements "Visit Support Blog" button
  • Clean up the legacy products and add new products/versions.
  • Verify that Web Help, GeoNet, System Requirements, and other links are working.

Knowledge Base

  • All of the products should be listed on the Knowledge Base - Product Selection page
  • The Search bar in the Knowledge Base section displays "Search Downloads in Support".
  • Migration Issue: The download link is not included in a number of white paper content pages


  • Duplicate content pages for the same content
  • Content pages should open at the top of the page

Product Support

  • Include the PLC version release notes below the default table and above the Multiple Version Comparison Chart accordion.
  • The Multiple Version Comparison chat should follow the pattern set on the exiting PLC table

Other Resources Page

  • The icons need to be fixed in color and type, related to the resource they represent.
  • The Search bar does not display text "Search Esri Support"

GIS Dictionary

  • Index page: The Search Bar does not display text "Search GIS Dictionary"
  • On unique pages, the first letter/symbol of the GIS Dictionary Entry Term is not highlighted in the First Letter Index
  • Loading the terms and definitions can sometimes take a few moments. Add the loading screen/animation here
  • Duplicate terms are recorded in the glossary and similar terms exist. For example "feature dataset" and "feature data set".  Also  "geo data base" and "geo database"
  • New glossary terms do not have content.  For example "ArcEditor" and "ArcGIS 3D Analyst"

Esri Support Services pages

  • Each page should have a unique URL
  • Premium Support link from Support drop down is giving error message when clicking on 'local Esri distributor.'
  • "Back to Start" navigation arrow needs to be updated.
  • Add the Features and Add-ons for Intl. Premium Support
  • Update the Multilingual graphic on the Esri Support Services - Intl Premium Support page
  • Fix section heading and text spacing on the Enterprise Test Lab add-on description

Request Case web form

  • System Profile Summary does not load on Step 3
  • Add Auto Answers to Step 2
  • When a dropdown only has one option, it should be automatically populated
  • When a product has been selected, the OS and OS version should be filtered for that product.

Start Chat

  • Update the wording on the Chat closed page and change "Pacific Standard Time" to "Pacific Time"
  • Fix the "Attach a File" functionality

Contact Support page

  • Selecting a country from the dropdown returns a 404 page.
  • United States page should have a unique URL like the other countries do.

Bug Reports

  • Webpage displays old Bug Report design

Looking for a way to model your city in 3D? Look no further! To create a 3D model of a real world city in CityEngine that can be used for city planning, modeling of 3D phenomena, or even in 3D gaming environments, all you need is a DEM, streets data, and building footprints.For those with CityEngine 2016.0, please read this post that shows you how to quickly prepare data for CityEngine with the Get map data wizard.


Before you bring your GIS data into CityEngine, however, there is some data preparation involved. Here, we review key information you need to know before getting started.Final-1024x762.jpg


Common Terms used in CityEngine


Terrain = Digital Elevation Model (DEM)


Texture = Aerial Image or image for building facades


Graph = Streets


Lot = Building Footprint


Terrain and Texture


The first step is to gather your terrain and texture to overlay on top of the terrain. If you do not have a DEM, you can download one from the USGS. For terrains, 16-bit and 32-bit images with a maximum size of 4000 by 4000 pixels are supported. In order to verify the bit depth and number of rows/columns of an image, you can load it into ArcMap and check the information on the Source tab of the Raster Layer Properties.


Another key part of preparing the DEM and Aerial Image is to ensure that they have the same extent. This can be done in ArcMap by drawing a polygon graphic for the project area and running the Clip tool on the raster to clip both the terrain and texture to the same extent, or exporting the raster with the selected graphics as the clipping extent.


Another common issue is that the image has four or more bands. When this is the case, the aerial image will appear washed out. To resolve this issue, use the Make Raster Layer Tool in ArcMap and create a raster with three or less bands. The output from this tool will be temporary so it must be exported out in order to bring it into CityEngine.


A terrain draped with a texture.


Streets and Buildings


The second step is to obtain feature data for streets and buildings. Commonly used street formats include shapefiles, geodatabases, KML, and OpenStreetMap (OSM).  When you import the street data into CityEngine, sometimes there are messy intersections and merged nodes. We recommend using the Cleanup Graph tool to clean up these intersections, or manually edit the streets. If there are street segments that extend beyond the area of interest, use the selection tool to select the segments and delete them. Streets may also appear below the DEM - this can be rectified by running the Align Shape To Terrain tool, or manually raising the streets.


Additionally, OSM contains options for importing building footprints. With CityEngine you have the ability to generate your own lots, use your own data, or use those provided by a third party, such as OSM. An important distinction is that lots in CityEngine can represent the entire legal lot for a parcel, the building footprint, or lots with building footprints. When importing an OSM file, check the Highways and Buildings in order to import both the streets and the building footprints. Once the streets are imported they may be offset from the terrain and this can be remedied by using the Align Graph to Terrain tool in CityEngine. 



Adding streets and building footprints.



Once you have the terrain, texture, streets, and building data, the next step in data preparation is ensuring that your data is correctly projected. It is good practice to ensure that all layers are in the same Projected Coordinate System. CityEngine does not support Geographic Coordinate Systems such as WGS 1984 or NAD 1983 for the scene coordinate system, so the scene will need to be in a Projected Coordinate system. Additonally, CityEngine can only apply datum transformations for vector data. For terrains and textures you must ensure the datum matches the datum used in the scene. We recommend bringing the data into ArcMap prior to importing into CityEngine to ensure that everything lines up correctly and has the same projection. If you are downloading your data from OpenStreetMap, the OSM data format is not supported by ArcMap, so CityEngine will reproject the data to the scene projection and perform a datum transformation, if necessary (OSM uses the WGS 1984 Geographic Coordinate System.)


CGA rules


Once all data has been added to your scene, you can start the actual modeling. CityEngine uses CGA (Computer Generated Architecture) rules to programmatically generate buildings from footprints or lots. These rules determine the geometry of each building created (has four walls and a roof) as well as color, textures, height, number of floors, roof shape, and so forth. CGA rules usually have an element of randomness so that the city has a natural and varied appearance. For example, a rule could be created that all buildings are between 30 and 50 feet high and have roofs with pitches between 20 and 30 degrees.

Writing CGA rule files can be an involved process, but fortunately there are a number of pre-existing CGA rule files available to get you started:

  • The Buildings_From_Footprints.cga file found in the Esri.lib project (installed with CGA.)
  • A number of CityEngine projects with CGA files have been made available for public use and are available on ArcGIS Online by the CityEngine team here.
  • Esri also provides a number of tutorials and examples, most of which come with pre-made CGA files which can be copied and modified, and these can be found here.

If you are interested in writing your own CGA files, check out this tutorial as well as the CityEngine manual.


The building footprints and streets after CGA rules have been applied


3D models


If you have areas of the city with distinct architecture or landmark buildings, you may want to consider adding pre-constructed 3D models. These models can be created in one of the many 3D modeling software programs, such as Blender or 3ds Max, or purchased on a 3D warehouse such as 3D Warehouse or Turbo Squid. Just be sure that the models are in one of the supported formats (multipatch, DAE, FBX, KML, KMZ, and OBJ). Most 3D models are not created in projected space, but once they are added to CityEngine they can be scaled, rotated, and positioned as needed.


Adding 3-D models to the scene


How big can I go?


One question that we are frequently asked is “How big of a city can I have in CityEngine?”


There is no hard and fast rule for this, as it depends on the number of shapes, the complexity of the models, the number of textures, as well as your system memory and graphics card. You can check the system requirements and recommendations to see if your system can support CityEngine.


Remember that CityEngine is a modeling tool and not a visualization tool. When you are testing your rule files, it is generally good practice to only generate a portion of your city. This will improve performance both for the model generation and drawing. Then, when you have finalized the rules, you can generate all the models and export it to several different file formats (such as multipatch, DAE, FBX, KML/KMZ, OBJ, CityEngine Web Scene 3ws, Renderman RIB, and e-on Vue VOB) with the expectation that this may take some time if your city is very large.


Once the data is prepared, creating your model is just a question of bringing the data into a scene and applying the rule files. From there, you can refine your model by improving the CGA rule files, growing new streets and parcels to plan new developments, or creating a complex city with different rules for different sections of the city.


For more information about getting started with CityEngine, check out the links below.


Additional Resources:

Rebecca R. and Andrew J. - Desktop Support Analysts

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