In a variety of fields, 3D city models are becoming increasingly significant. With a steady shift from traditional 2D-GIS to 3D-GIS, it has become necessary to produce a lot of accurate 3D city drawing quickly and provide them widely. Using laser profiler data, 2D digital maps, and aerial images, as well as software newly developed, the authors have developed an automated system for creating 3D city models.

At the end of 2002, Map Cube had already mapped all the major Japanese cities. Many fields require accurate and photorealistic 3D city models for virtual reality (VR). The VR viewer simply could not handle large amounts of 3D city data in real-time. Urban Viewer is a new VR viewer that makes use of 3D city models, especially Map Cube, to solve the problem.

 On display devices, VR applications should provide easy interaction. The authors have developed NEXTRAX: a brand-new type of VR display that uses optical sensors, which is very easy to operate as touch-screen displays, but with much higher accuracy and durability. NEXTRAX displays simultaneously 3D city models, 2D digital maps, and various multimedia content.

There is a growing need for 3D city models in many fields. As two-dimensional maps are being increasingly replaced by three-dimensional ones, many accurate 3D city models can now be produced in a short amount of time and sold widely. Using laser profiler data as well as 2D maps and aerial images, the authors have developed a system for automatically producing 3D city models. At the end of 2002, Map Cube, a 3D model of Japan’s major cities generated by the system, already covered all major city centers. Virtual urballows users to create photo-realistic and accurate virtual urban spaces for a variety of applications such as 3D-GIS, urban planning, design and redevelopment, hazard prevention, broadcasting, navigation, and television games.


City 3D models were traditionally modeled by hand and required a lot of effort. There were two common methods:

  1. Get a digital image of the map,
  2. Create 2D data of building outlines from a digital image of the map using 3D CAD software
  3. By extruding 2D outlines to building height, you can make 3D models of buildings with 3D CAD and/or model manually detailed 3D geometry based on drawings and photographs.

Particularly time-consuming and skill-required was manual modeling with 3D CAD software. The old method could not be used to produce a large area of city model in a short period of time. A system of automatic 3D city model generation was developed to save a significant amount of production time. A new method for automatically generating 3D city models has resulted in a surprising reduction in production time. Further, the efficiency of texture mapping has been improved, along with the quality and accuracy of the 3D city model.

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Automatically generate detailed and accurate 3D city models with the material data for the automatic generation system, including laser profiler data, aerial image, and 2D digital map. Process of generating 3D city models automatically.

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