Choosing the Right Programming Tools in CityEngine


Gnarly Architecture

In last week’s post on data driven visualization using CityEngine I showed that the results required using a variety of programming tools and techniques. No one programming environment or tool – traditional ArcGIS, CityEngine’s native “Computer Generated Architecture (CGA)” shape grammar, or direct Python scripting in CityEngine – was sufficient to accomplish all the tasks required. Ultimately, data-driven visualization requires a developer to be fleet of foot, recognizing which tool applies when, and implementing each to its best advantage.

ArcGIS is very powerful at manipulating the 2D geometry up front and then importing that data as annotated shapes into the CityEngine environment. Furthermore, Portland Metro has GIS experts more than ready to manipulate data by hand much more quickly than I can turn it into a stable program. Of course the goal was to see how far we could automate and replicate the process, so minimizing our dependency on…

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