CityEngine for Underground Infrastructure

12-19-2011 05:29 AM
Status: Open
Occasional Contributor
Working for a civil engineering firm I think it would be great if CityEngine could be used as a way of modeling underground infrastructure, such as: sewer networks and water distribution.

CityEngine looks to be an awesome visualization tool with great detail.  Having the ability to pull in attribute data from GIS utilities and have it displayed in such a rich environment I think would provide a great way for municipalities and private companies alike to 'see' their infrastructure and how it is related in 3D space.

Some of the key fields I can think of to start with in building a working model would be:
  • StructureID - unique ID of structure
  • Rim Elevation - elevation at top of structure
  • Structure Depth - depth of structure
  • Invert Elevation - elevation at bottom of structure
  • Structure Diameter - diameter of structure
  • Structure Material - material of structure (ex: concrete, brick, block, wood, etc...)
  • Pipe Diameter - diameter of pipe
  • Pipe Material - material of pipe
  • Upstream Pipe Elevation - elevation at upstream end of pipe
  • Downstream Pipe Elevation - elevation at downstream end of pipe
  • PipeID - unique ID of pipe
  • Surface - import from TIN, DEM, contours, etc...
These are just some of my quick thoughts on the subject, but I think having the ability to visualize an underground network in such a detailed and rich environment like CityEngine would be something that is unlike anything out there right now.
I've been modelling some utility networks (pipes and electricty) in CityEngine, some of what you ask for can be done already.  My blog post has one example "Modelling Utility Networks", I'll be posting soon about modelling a basic pipe network.   It really is just using a rule file to model a pipe instead of street though so has so issues...

CE should have some easy/flexible ‘component-based or model-based’ capabilities for more complex engineering designs, including facility and utility, in particular, like piping. Those components/models should be pre-defined and stored in the library catalogs, at least, which should be like some extensions for Trimble Sketchup (saying, 3Skeng at

With ‘pure’ rulesets or ‘current’ design tools, it is very challenging for us to get those complex engineering designing/planning works done 'effectively' in CE …