K. Wickenhauser ,  M. Greiner ,  C. TraxlerG. Hesina (2022)

Virtual Exploration of Urban Spatial Changes due to Regional Tramway Line Construction

communication medium

International Conference on Urban Planning and Regional Development in the Information Society (REALCORP) 2022


For most large infrastructure projects, it is mandatory to assess their impact on the urban and rural environment before they are started. Many shareholders want to involve the public or even are obliged to do so due to legal provisions. For interactive exploration, a 3D viewer is needed that supports very complex scenes. They should be realistically rendered for sufficient credibility. Applied research on this topic (in close cooperation with industrial partners) resulted in GEARViewer, a geospatial rendering framework. It supports huge geospatial scenes consisting of large-scale terrain models, buildings, roads, tramways, railways, tunnels, vegetation and a skylight model. Everything is georeferenced. It can import GIS data and turn this into 3D objects. In the future, it will also support Building Information Modeling (BIM) standards. Furthermore, it also simulates traffic in a simplified way including cars, trams, trains and pedestrians. It was used for many planned projects in Austria and Germany. In this paper, we describe one of the projects for the city centre of Innsbruck, created with the GEARViewer. It supported several stages of the segment wise planning and realization of a new regional tramway line over multiple years. Depending on progress, the project visualization incorporated varying levels of details into the existing city model, from graphic planning concepts during route optimization to detailed depictions of stops and road design shortly before constructional implementation. In this way, shareholders and citizens can experience the geospatial transformation and changes of the street network and traffic flow in the affected regions of the city. The system allows the regular creation of videos, screenshots, interactive online panorama tours and live demonstrations for publications and citizen information events. In order to fit the current state of planning, the system and model were constantly extended and updated. It supported the project progress and associated votes and discussions by supplying the display of variants, flexible viewpoints and realistic visualization.

research topic

research groups



tramway, 3D city models, Spatial transformation, High performance visualization, interactive exploration