The ability to easily create 3D urban scenes based on existing GIS data is one of the key strengths of CityEngine. The software allows you to create high-quality 3D content using nothing more than a combination of 2D data, attributes, and procedurally defined rules. This means that any GIS organization will be able to create visually stunning 3D urban environments using the data they already have.
CityEngine relies on three key topics: feature geometry, feature attributes, and procedurally defined rules. The more detail provided in each of these elements, the greater the complexity and real-world accuracy that will be included in the generated 3D content.
Another key strength of CityEngine is the ability to design in 3D. Because the 3D city model is rule driven, iterating through a number of design scenarios is as easy as changing rule parameters.
Integrated reporting of important building parameters such as Floor Area Ratio (density) lot coverage is available while designing.
The ability to visualize urban planning and zoning rules in 3D is also important in the design process.
Zoning regulations are text-based descriptions (per city) of allowed building volumes, usage, and density. They are the main tool defining the image of a city and/or growth/development investment money. In most cases, however, they are hard to understand by the public and other stakeholders. CityEngine 2012 allows you to specify/visualize/analyze and store/maintain zoning regulations in 3D.
For more information, visit the Esri CityEngine website.