VU.CITY: First Ever Interactive 3D Model of London at Geo Business 2016


The role of technology in planning the built environment will be essential in the coming years. London is facing a housing crisis and tools that can help to bring the planning process to 21st century are urgently needed. On 24-25 May the Business Design Centre is going to be full of people looking to discover the latest developments in drones, mapping solutions and software. The team behind VU.CITY will be running a workshop about the future of planning in London and how the first ever fully interacting digital model of London is connected to various GIS and custom databases.

The 3D model of London currently covers more than 130 square kilometres of central London and another 20 square kilometres area is currently being captured. The model in VU.CITY is expanding by 5-8 square kilometres every month. The model is also updated from the latest 2015 imagery to keep it as current as possible whilst the level of detail of the model is also constantly upgraded.

The model has been created using Photogrammetry as the primary geospatial mapping tool. The unprecedented 15cm accuracy of the model allows architects and developers to use this model in all aspects of design and planning process. VU.CITY currently covers five Boroughs: Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster, The City and Tower Hamlets. VU.CITY doesn’t only allow for this huge dataset to be displayed together but also includes tools such as sunlight patterns, transport routes, TFL updates and LVMF protected views.

VU.CITY also gives all stakeholders involved in a city planning the option to see which consented and proposed developments are going to appear in the future.

“Using the combination of photogrammetry, high res aerial imagery and a highly skilled workforce, we are able to create our 3D model of London that can be used by any entity involved in design and planning of the city”, says Sandor Petroczi, Product Manager of Vertex Modelling. “We tend not to use any automated processes and although this is more expensive and time consuming, it allows us to create highly usable models with a consistent level of accuracy across the dataset. The team is currently capturing Camden and Southwark while updating existing areas from the latest 2015 imagery. VU.CITY is an ideal solution for visualising the entire dataset”

“VU.CITY overlays the 3D model with a set of tools and databases that work seamlessly to inform the planning debate.” adds Jason Hawthorne of Wagstaffs. “These tools include turning on and off consented and proposed schemes, visualise sun-paths and overshadowing for every day of the week, visualise viewing corridors as well as for example travel networks. The data can be examined in novel ways – clients can place cameras onto buildings to see how the view from the building will be affected by new developments from where the new proposed building will be visible. We are constantly working on new and exciting tools as well as data layers – for example, we are now importing 1.2 million trees with accurate heights and canopy widths into the model.”

Using the VU.CITY 3D model of London allows planners to forego old fashioned methods of visualising their schemes and allows them to more effectively and efficiently analyse their designs. With set of valuable tools to inform debate, VU.CITY quickly becomes the go-to tool for all aspects of design and planning in London.

VU.CITY is exhibiting at the Geo Business Show at the Business Design Centre – Stand K31 on 24-25 May. The team will presenting VU.CITY in Room 5 at 10.15 on Wednesday 25 May.