CityEngine,  LiDAR,  building footprints and roof modelling

07-31-2012 01:43 PM
New Contributor II
I am aware that CityEngine is not yet supporting LiDAR (LAS/ ASCII/ XYZ etc.) data directly, I managed to import a small set of     LiDAR data as File GDB into CityEngine with attributes (elevation)

I have building polygons footprints data available and imported simultaneously with LiDAR GDB. (image attached ).

With standard arcGIS procedure (spatial join) it is easy to calculate and join the Avg. building height derived from LiDAR data to     building polygons. But that will give very flat roofs for all the buildings.

Is it possible to model exact roofs façades (shape, orientation, aspect and slope) based on LiDAR information available?

Existing methods and rules  in CityEngine are  great to generate roofs at random, but what if we want to replicate existing city

using the available information?.

Is there any method to achieve this using LiDAR information available?

I am more interested in replicating roofs.


CityEngine usage level: Beginner
Tags (2)
37 Replies
Frequent Contributor
Hi !

CityEngine seems to have converted all the LIDAR points into little point markers, but that's not a proper way to work with LIDAR. Actually, LIDAR is not supported at all.

To derive proper Roofs from LIDAR, you'd have to use ArcGIS or better contact a company who is specified in that type of processing.

CityEngine is a procedural modeling application, thus it's specialty is to create geometries based on rule sets you define. CityEngine is not meant to be an application which lets you get 3d buildings from LIDAR data.

Let me know if you have more questions..

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New Contributor III

Hello Matt,

I read your reply to @Amit which goes back to 2012... just want to double check if the same is true for CE 2015.

I have similar problem and want to use Lidar data to capture roof details of buildings beside the average height.



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New Contributor III

I am also trying to do the same thing. Can you point me to the features in ArcGIS that could help me do this?

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Esri Contributor

Hi guys,

We recently released the Local Government Schematic Scene solution. This solution allows you to create LOD2 buildings (roof forms) out of building footprints and lidar. We use 3D and Spatial Analyst to extract information from the lidar such as eaveHeight, Building Height, roof form, roof direction and then use CityEngine rule packages to create the LOD2 buildings.

You can download the solution here:

Local Government Scenes | ArcGIS for Local Government

Web scene:

Local Government Schematic Scene

Cheers Gert

Gert van Maren

Esri software solutions

Occasional Contributor

Thanks for sharing Gert 🙂

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New Contributor III

Hi Gert,

First, thank you for the solution.

I downloaded it but noticed that there aren't any instructions. Would you mind describing the recommended workflow? I don't need step by step details but I believe a description of the general process would be very helpful.

Thank you,


GIS Specialist

Township of Langley

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Esri Contributor

Hi Javad,

The instructions are on those Local Government pages as well under the Get Started tab.

Get started overview - Local Government Scenes | ArcGIS for Local Government

Just pick the scene you would like to start with on the left - Basic or Schematic. Keep in mind that the quality of the roof forms that created in the Schematic workflow, greatly depend on the resolution of the Lidar data and building footprints. We recommend 3 feet or less point spacing for the Schematic Scene workflow.

For the refinement of the roof forms, there is also a helpful video on the Roof Form Extraction page.

Cheers Gert

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New Contributor III

Hi Gert,

Thank you for the lead. I see also that the real workflow is spelled out in the ArcGIS Pro "tasks" area. It's brilliant.


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Occasional Contributor II


What's the location for the ArcGIS Pro "tasks" area you're referencing?


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