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The Virtual City

Project description

Digital libraries and technology-enhanced learning
The V-City system integrates computer vision, 3D-modelling and virtual reality research for rapid and cost-effective reconstruction, visualisation and exploitation of interactive urban environments.

The three-year project researched, developed and validated an innovative system integrating the latest advances in Computer Vision, 3D Modelling and Virtual Reality for the rapid and cost-effective reconstruction, 3D visualisation and exploitation of complete, large-scale and interactive urban environments.

The V-City system, consisting of V-City Builder, V-City Server, V-City Explorer and V-City Table, is a powerful tool for the Cultural Heritage sector, architects, historians, land planners, and other professionals interested in the creation of interactive 3D mock-ups of their large urban environment with unprecedented quality.

The research work of the project has resulted in the following major achievements:

  • An important outcome of the project is the V-City Builder, a procedural urban modelling tool developed by Procedural Inc, in collaboration with Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Procedural was selected as a Winner of the Red Herring's Global 100 award, honoring the year’s most promising private technology ventures from around the world, for its work on procedural modelling.
  • Disney/Pixar studios have used the CityEngine tool that integrates V-City technology in their latest movie 'CARS 2' to create the 3D version of London. The showplace sets are the cities with the main race tracks (more than 120 original sets).
    This year, V-City project has been presented at the prestigious SIGGRAPH 2011 conference, where the exclusive insights about the V-City project and Pixar's procedural modelling approach in Cars 2 have been given in a course entitled 'Modelling 3D Urban Spaces Using Procedural and Simulation-Based Techniques'.
  • The V-City technology was selected for the next French GeoPortail: V-City coordinator DIGINEXT's VirtualGeo3 system, which integrates the V-City Explorer technology, was selected to be the 3D browser of the next generation French GeoPortail, the geographic portal of the French government whose aim is to publicise georeferenced data about the whole French territory. This service, developed by two public agencies (the IGN and the BRGM), was officially inaugurated on June 23, 2006. The new GeoPortail V3 will be carried out by a consortium of companies led by Atos Wordline with the ambition to release it mid-2012.
  • Finally, the VCity Map table, developed by Immersion, provides for the first time a multitouch, multiuser surface displaying a stereoscopic view of the environment adapted to each user. The V-City map table is intended as a multitouch, multiuser, stereoscopic interface to allow both the visualization and interaction with the massive urban data that are displayed by the V-City Explorer. It had to cope with specific constraints such as the real-time display of 3D data, the intuitive and efficient manipulation and edition of the content, as well as to provide collaborative visualization capabilities. Two technologies have been identified, which are the immersive 3D visualization equipment and multitouch tactile input. They have been brought together into the V-City map table.

The project team was invited to present its results in conferences such as SIGGRAPH 2010, where V-City was selected in the Emerging Technology panel and SIGGRAPH 2011 for the course sessions, the ACM conference on 3D Web technology and Eurographics, as well as scientific journals such as Computer Graphics Forum, and the EURASIP journal on Image and Video Processing. International press also acknowledged the significant progresses made by the V-City project with articles and interviews in Euronews, the New Scientist, or La Tribune, among others.

3D geoinformatics has entered the digital age, hesitantly in some areas, and rampantly in others. Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth are household names. Although limited to landscapes and few buildings envelopes, their massive digital geographic libraries are today the playground of millions of people and the generator of new forms of content and applications with tremendous impact perspectives. However, these pale in comparison to those that will be made possible as soon as urban digital libraries will be fully available and exploitable.
The focus of the project on urban environments is not only made possible by the latest technological advances of the consortium, but also highly justified. Urban environments represent one of the most important and valuable cultural heritage as acknowledged by the UNESCO.
Therefore, the V-City project aims to research, develop and validate an innovative system integrating the latest advances in Computer Vision, 3D Modelling and Virtual Reality for the rapid and cost-effective reconstruction, visualisation and exploitation of complete, large-scale and interactive urban environments. This system will enable historians, architects or archaeologists to reconstruct from existing data, study, understand, preserve or document urban environments using an innovative interactive 3D user interface.
This project will represent an amazing progress beyond the current state-of-the-art in the field of large scale geospatial libraries built from multi-source and multi-format architectural and cultural information.
It will also be an answer to concrete needs for a wide range of users as demonstrated by the commitment and the diversity of the end-user organisations involved in the V-City User Group. These will contribute to both the definition of the system and its validation on real-scale scenarios.

Call for proposal

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Coordinator Contact

Jérôme DUCHON Mr.


370 rue rene descartes les hauts de la duranne immeubles a et b
13857 Aix en provence

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Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Jérôme DUCHON (Mr.)
EU contribution
No data

Participants (7)