Ok, that’s great but… wait a minute, what is WebGL?
All of them lacked of browser integrity and compatibility. By that time, the end-user had obligatory to install an additional plug-in into the browser, with the subsequent appearance of both compatibility and performance issues among browsers.
Fortunately those times have already gone. For the first time, there has been created an API to finally succeed in rendering 3D content to Web, and that is named WebGL.
Considering WebGL is still in version 1.0 though, it already confirms the expectations of having a promising future; and at Prodevelop, we are pretty sure about it.
One of the most usual mistake people commit is associating Web 3D content to the game industry. We all agree that games are the entrance door of WebGL to the end-users, but from a wider point of view, 3D graphics can be applied to almost any kind of field as for example, 3D medical explorations, architecture representations…and why not Geographic Information Systems. In the later one, is where Prodevelop masteries.
Ok, don’t ramble around... Let’s move forward. What did we implement? ;)
Eager people :)…
We implemented a 3D buildings visualization for the city of Valencia. We mainly gathered 2D data from the cadastre, and after an automatic preprocessing, we were able to extrude the buildings and further represent them in 3D, on top of a WebGL globe’s surface.
The results look optimistic taking into account it consists in a R&D project developed during a short period of time.
Setting as grounding the showed buildings representation, on top of it we implemented two different processing.
The first one consisted in the calculation of the passive energy a certain building receives. That is to say, the solar incidence or radiation that each of the faces of a building receives for a particular period of time. That may result especially useful in terms of energy efficiency, since such processing may help buildings professionals to enhance energy reduction on new edifications.
The second one was based on the calculation of the buildings visibility for a given area. At this point we are able to predict not only if a building may be observed from a certain point or not (as traditional solutions does), but also how much percent of such building is observed. This processing is very useful for environmental impact studies in the manner the professionals can estimate the way an area is going to be affected by a particular building, bridge, power plant or in a more generic way any kind of installation or facility.
These implementations are what Prodevelop showed in the first WebGL Camp Europe that took place the 2nd and 3rd of July in Basel, Switzerland. This event has notably helped to check the State of The Art in the matter, as well as to have a more precise overview with regard to the forthcoming releases in the GIS field. From now on begins a promising range of Web-based implementations for geo-visualization and geo-analysis as we have never seen before.