Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is it?

The Portland City Model is a model of the Portland, OR metropolitan area built from hundreds of individually-crafted 3D models of buildings and bridges produced by NC3D and contributed by others over 25 years. The model also includes tens of thousands of simple building masses derived from Metro GIS data on terrain data and aerial imagery provided by Metro, the State of Oregon and the USGS.

How was it made?

The models originate from CAD and 3D design, photo survey, and GIS (geographic information system) data and are developed using 3D modeling software (3D Studio Max) and published an interactive model using game engine software (Unreal Engine).

How is it maintained?

The model is updated as needed for specific projects and views, as building models are contributed and as new GIS data becomes available.

How can we use the model?

  • interactive access to the online model with custom views and options tailored to your project
  • stand-alone (Windows) versions of the game
  • video animation
  • high-resolution still images
  • online access to the game editor (Unreal Engine) to do it yourself

How can we add/upgrade our buildings?

Send us your 3D models (any 3D file format) and we will gladly make sure that your project looks its best in the City Model. To make a typical CAD building model a permanent part of the City Model takes about 4 hours of labor to simplify and bake the building skin into an optimized form.

A typical design proposal project will include importing building and landscape design options from CAD, developing materials palettes, adding street level entourage, updating neighboring buildings, adding cameras for specific views and rendering high-resolution stills and animations. With client reviews, the first presentation package for a typical project takes 16-24 hours of labor and additional design updates (re-imports) take 2-4 hours apiece.

How much does it cost?

  • For design proposals and other services, the NC3D shop rate is $125 per hour.
  • We are developing pricing for subscription access to custom streaming versions of the model.
  • A typical building design presentation with interactive access, stills, and video animations will cost about $2,000.
  • For custom building additions and upgrades to the model, a suggested donation is $400 per building.

How accurate is it?

The model is generally accurate to within a few feet. The building footprints and heights are rendered from Metro and City of Portland GIS data. The terrain model is sampled on a 10′ grid and is manually smoothed and re-graded in many places. In the central city, street trees are located by GIS. Tree species models and sizes need and placement inside parks and properties need to be developed. The City of Portland streets, curbs and striping are based on City GIS data. Some of the building models are based on CAD, and photogrammetry, but many are simple extruded footprints (massing) with photo-textures.