GEOG 497
3D Modeling and Virtual Reality




Lesson 3 has introduced you to hands-on 3D modeling using an efficient approach for various modeling purposes. Instances of when you need hands-on modeling are: (a) you are interested in a substantial amount of detail in your models, (b) your models are non-existent anymore and cannot be, for example, scanned, or (c) you’d like to make use of a substantial asset warehouse that provides you with professionally designed items such as fridges or couches. As you can easily imagine, this approach will be prohibitive if you are interested in modeling entire cities or any large number of buildings, if you would like to test changes quickly (e.g., increzasing the number of floors), or if you need flexible access to your models, for example, through the internet.

In contrast to modeling by hand (also referred to as static modeling), the general concept of procedural modeling has been discussed in Module 2. Rather than modeling individual buildings, procedural computing (as a basis for procedural modeling) is the process of creating models algorithmically instead of manually. This chapter will provide a more detailed introduction to procedural modeling as it is the basis for modeling cities and other geographic scale information in GIS environments. However, we decided not to teach a specific software as a generating platform in this course. We are already introducing you to a number of software options and ESRI CityEngine, although a powerful tool, requires a bit more time than we have in one or two lessons. We will provide you with resources and a demo (in later lessons) that show some of the functionality but do not expect you to learn CE for this course. Yet, we would like you to understand procedural modeling. Later in Module 5, you will explore how procedural rule packages (that we created for you) can be applied in ArcGIS Pro (this is also in line with the long term strategy of ESRI). What this means is that you will be able to modify rules created by a procedural modeling software but you do not have to learn the specifics of the software (City Engine). As Arc GIS Pro is a rather new software product the functionality to change procedural rules is still limited but improving from version to version. The software has already been updated twice since we started designing this course.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Define the concept of procedural modeling rules and coding (.cga or computer-generated architecture)
  • Contrast procedural rule modeling and hands-on modeling
  • Identify advantages and challenges of procedural modeling rules
  • Demonstrate the results of procedural modeling rules for the campus

Lesson Roadmap

Lesson Roadmap
To Read
To Do
  • Discussion: Models
  • Assignment: Reflection Paper


If you have any questions, please post them to our "General and Technical Questions" discussion (not e-mail). I will check that discussion forum daily to respond. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help out a classmate.