Currently, SIGGRAPH 2009 takes place and many visualization companies show their latest product versions. Autodesk focussed mainly on Maya, no news from LandXplorer here. However, they are currently working on a complete re-programming of the promising geobrowser, so that might still take a while.
Always interesting for landscape visualization is E-on’s software Vue (see the previous post on Vue 7) which will be released as Vue 8 until the end of the year. The new version will support 3D terrain modelling and even more advanced atmospheric models for haze and clouds. The image shows a recent test rendering in Cinema 11 with trees, wave and atmosphere model from the Vue 7 plugin for Cinema.
Last week, I had the chance to see Doug Eberhard, Senior Director of Autocad and head of the Digital Cities Initiative, speaking at the conference “The new dimension in GIS – 3D Analysis“, hosted by the British Columbia section of URISA. His focus were 3D city models and he promoted their future not only for visualization but also for analysis. According to him, the process and people behind need to catch up with the technology, i.e., processes and methods are needed for a collaborative workflow. All these issues are explored in the Digital Cities case studies with Seoul and Salzburg being the first two.
Interestingly, Mr. Eberhard showed lots of examples from LandXplorer (though without mentioning the name of the product) and gave a lot of credits “to the Germans”. Furthermore, he highlighted that CityGML and its interface ADE allow to incorporate extensions for analyses and that has huge potential from his point of view.
In August Autodesk already published a press release, announcing that they buy the German company 3D Geo, a spin-off of the Hasso-Plattner Institute in Potsdam that became well-known for their LandXplorer software. LandXplorer is basically an authoring system for 3D geodata that allows to construct, analyze, store and manage 3D city models for various export formats (GeoBrowser, VirtualReality, GameEngines, WebApplications). Among other features, LandXplorer is one of the first software packages to support CityGML. The full text is available at http://www.3dgeo.de/news.aspx?Article=143
Autodesk said that they will keep the office in Potsdam as future development center in Europe and that they will further develop LandXplorer. This might even open a chance that LandXplorer will become a meta-platform to link single Building Information Models on a larger scale, i.e., as part of a semantic 3D city model.