3D Web data modeling with API-javascript: Esri Advances

When we see the ArcGIS Smart Campus functionality, with tasks such as paths between a desktop in the third level of the Professional Services building and one in the Q Auditorium, as a result of both the interior cadastre and the BIM data integration, we give ourselves The integration of Geo-engineering flows into a binding vision is very close.

And despite, serious tasks are missing to maintain a method type master data management (MDM) for a point of truth between the light reality of GIS, the detailed reality BIM and the incidences of application in real life that run on this pointer. We also realize that all this functionality is running on web browsers, with some Python for routines but above all with a language as light as javascript.

What inevitably reminds us, that geomatics and engineers will have to go a step further to understand models, and programming codes.

It is also important to note the change in trend from heavy desktop environments to lightweight browser code snippets. Surely a computer scientist who made art with GIS server, Gis Engine or Gis objects left Spain when he saw how Leaflet worked in a course of MappingGis; I would not be surprised if he went to jump over the grave to his predecessor mentor.

Pending the next ArcGis Indoors version, this article summarizes a combination of Lau's insights - a tenacious girl who collaborates with this site - and the context views of the editor of Geofumadas.com, about the recent webinar "An introduction to 3D on the Web with the ArcGIS API for Javascript ".

The presenters of the webinar appeared initially with a good hook on the subject of use of the 3D in the ArcGIS applications, and how it manifests in the platforms of: Scene viewer, Story Maps, or the Web App Builder depending on the purpose of the study.

It was important that the basic concepts related to the 3D theme were defined at the outset, above all because beyond showing volumes, we want to model processes. Also the aspect that is still critical in terms of basic system requirements to run processes linked to this type of data that are completely different from 2D, such as a good graphics card, OpenGL support included in the browser w / WebGL.

If not, let them be told by friends of SELPER, in the magnificent course of asset management in GIS technologies, which had its barriers before the OpenGL versions of the Nvidia graphics cards of the University where it was developed. Increased exponentially by the protests of Bogotanos students who made it difficult to do enough tests the previous day.

In addition, they revealed the launch of support to run the tool on mobile devices such as cell phones or tablets.

In the presentation they made several examples or demonstrations, to understand how the API for Javascript works and how the data is interconnected to generate the 3D modeling, starting with the loading of layers or information to the WebScene and later its 3D modeling / rendering in the Screeneview,

Technological integration

The architecture is of the 4.x type and consists of visual components and widgets, in addition to accepting multiple layers of information from different data sources. This architecture stands out on the 3.x because, the 3D visualization is available only for this level. The tools of Webscene and SceneView are those used for the management of the 3D data and are fully integrated in the API, in addition to this how the 3D modeling can be adapted to the data available in previous applications.

With examples, they indicated the visual difference between 2D and 3D data and how to move from a 2D WebScene map view to a SceneView 3D, through javascript codes. The manipulation of the camera is simple, adding specific commands the views change the direction. Tests were carried out in the following characteristics:

  • heading, that allows the rotation of the camera on the workspace.
  • goTo: is used to establish a view according to what you want to see in 3D, plus you can make animations with this tool, such as placing certain degrees of heading to recreate a rotation animation.
  • ToMap: takes coordinate of the view and places it on the 2D map
  • toScreen: allows you to indicate a point on the 2D map and place it later in the 3D view
  • hitTest: is used to determine the characteristics that a specific point has within the view

They also defined that the construction of an 3D map has the same tools as to create an 2d, such as the use of basemaps, layers or layers that are supported as well as for 2D maps (WMS, vectors or CSV).

However, it must be taken into account that the 2D layers do not contain the information of "Z" (height), that is why to model data it is necessary to have layers associated with 3D as point clouds, meshlayers is elevationlayers. Within the API, you can make inquiries about these 3D layers, such as specific elevation points within the view, in the image (1) the terrain is originally observed, and in the image (2) as it changes from the query or consultation made.

They showed multiple examples of how the data is represented, for example, what data the SceneLayers (points) support, and the 3D objects (3D Objects).

For large cities the representation of objects 3D, is a powerful tool, since you can see, not only the spatial location of the object, but its volume, relationship with the environment, just as you can add intrinsic characteristics of each of the objects. The following image shows how they selected a random building in New York City, and all its attributes can be seen. Likewise, multiple queries could be prepared according to the structures, such as: where certain structures that have a specific height range or optimum route definition are located

Supports the handling of layers like IntegratedMeshLayer, which is a block of information from sensors like drones. They do not contain isolated information of each structure like the previous image, but it is a mass of information with 3D attributes.

As for the point clouds, you can play with the size of the points to have a better visualization of the data, since each point layer can have billions of information points, but they are not represented as an 3D object itself.

They specified the use of symbology in 3D data, which are presented in flat / flat shapes, and the volume symbology associated with the objects created in 3D. These can go in specific styles according to the type of object. They showed the use of the so-called Extrudes to "color" the structure according to its attributes,

The types of render that can be used were shown: simplerenderer, where all the objects have a single symbology, the uniqueValueRenderer where you can categorize the objects, according to an attribute, and the ClassBreakRenderer where attributes of each object are observed with respect to a class: in this case they indicated how much distance from the building it takes to access the public transportation system.

The presenters, showed in the short time sel Webinar, all the benefits of using the ArcGIS API for Javascript, including:

  • 3D widgets: with an interactive demonstration they indicated the distance between objects, both horizontally and vertically.
  • Construction of applications: from the location and the 3D objects.
  • SceneView scene mode: defines the content and style of the 3D view and can be uploaded to Portal for ArcGIS.
  • Geodesic measurements: not only focuses on the structures of the surface, but also allows to measure distances in the globe.
  • Application building, 3D modeling according to the reality of the space, lines or bubbles where certain features are indicated, such as the tags that can be seen on platforms such as Google Earth, in this case 3D
  • Declutter: used to debug or filter which labels or features are what you need to see on the 3D map, thus avoiding a large number of labels that do not allow an appropriate visualization, and cause noise when placing something in specific.

Following the demonstrations of each characteristic incorporated into ArcGIS API for Javascript, showed the novelties to be presented in the new 4.10 version. Where you will have the possibility of:

  • Build the Scene Layer
  • Slice widget: which will transmit previously designed information to an 3D object
  • Loading a large amount of data: not only corresponding to a specific city, but nationally (country).
  • Point cloud filters

Contributions of this webinar to geoengineering

In short, the topic is very valid; remembering that the trends towards Digital Twins and Smart Cities require that beyond thinking about the management of information, whose modeling has been greatly overcome, the integration with the modeling of the operation is addressed. The market is large, promising and to date it has many solutions almost turnkey for the end user; although for those of us who use technology to make non-canned tools, the road is still hard. This implies, making converge the other dimensions such as time, cost and life cycle of the processes; not at the level of data and technology, which as we insist is a clear issue, but in the less painful adaptation to the action of the real life of the user before intermediaries of the transactional chain that go through spatial information. From the ESRI side, the construction of data is somewhat arduous, because although it can already integrate BIM data built on Revit, it still looks like two separate worlds that require a complex transformation. The new works can surely be used on BIM models, but there is an excessive amount of CAD information that to take it to Indoor conditions, with polygonized spaces, elevations and standardized layers is still expensive.

However, if a merit deserves Esri, is the advance that takes in terms of attractive and simple visualization. I can already imagine the disappointments of Don Jack, with his optics of "let's make it easy" the leaders of vertical lines of AutoDesk, in that late but successful marriage where «almost an ArcGIS Pro application»You should find under the sheets as shoes with several pieces that point to the same thing but with difficulties to simplify the essence of the result that the topography, Industrial Engineering, Civil Engineering and Architecture look for. And it is that the tendency of simplicity of the artistic map that the GIS underwent, still it must live the conventional CAD, by that custom to forget that a plane is hardly a means, but that the important thing is to put the building in operation.

The good practices of modeling GIS, lightweight, focused on the abstraction of reality will be useful for the CAD / BIM hybrid, which for a time must coexist because the adoption of BIM in many countries goes for long, especially due to the normative ineptitude of old-fashioned officials pasted on the first two letters of the AECO vision.

The race will be interesting in the coming years, in a very similar trend to bring to a continuous flow the sequence CAD-GIS-BIM-DigitalTwin-SmartCity; as evidenced by actions on the side of Siemens / Bentley in the acquisition of solutions such as CityPlanner and the release of open source on Javascript.

For now, we give credit to Esri for that synergy effort with AutoDesk, beyond the integration of data / technology, in a process / actor integration approach. In the end it is gain for the users, to whom we have to guarantee that step to learn to understand models and code; to start at least a good ArcGIS Pro course and a basic Javascript.

These are some courses that we recommend to keep you updated, at affordable prices.

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