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CAE Simulates Complex Dense Urban Environments with Cesium

CAE is one of the world’s most prominent modeling & simulation companies. Their latest initiative, created by the Synthetic Environments and Immersive Technologies team, is a new capability for creating complex, city-scale simulations. The project integrates data about energy infrastructure, lines of communication, the population, emergency services, and cyber and networks, as well as the physical environment. And that smart city is made accessible through the Cesium platform. 

A digital twin streamed with 3D Tiles

Building a city-scale digital twin requires enormous datasets. In the case of the London demonstration, CAE turned to Bluesky International, the UK’s leading aerial survey company and their MetroVista product London city model, which comprises more than 1 TB of detailed photogrammetry. The best way to access such a large dataset is with 3D Tiles, the OGC community standard developed by the Cesium team. While most users are able to tile their datasets in the cloud using the 3D Tiling pipelines available on Cesium ion, CAE’s dataset was so large that they built a custom on-prem, cloud hosted solution. To tile the dataset, CAE put together a 3D content processing pipeline, built on Microsoft Azure, that included Cesium’s on-premises 3D tiling pipeline to tile the photogrammetry data as 3D Tiles.

With the dataset ready for streaming, CAE used Cesium ion on-prem to stream the 3D Tiles into a CesiumJS viewer.

London at 5 cm resolution with photogrammetry data from Bluesky. This interactive model is shown in CesiumJS and can be accessed through a browser on any device. Smart cities like this stream smoothly thanks to the 3D Tiles open standard. 

The resulting model shows the buildings of London in high photorealistic detail. When connected to live data feeds, such as traffic, utility, and emergency services updates, the model can provide real-time insights into the activity taking place in the city. 

Large scale simulations in CesiumJS

CAE’s capability goes beyond providing an up-to-date digital view of a city. The real strength of their model is in the simulations they’ve integrated. In their London demonstration, that includes the simulation of 100,000 pedestrians, the electrical power network, and other data feeds from the region.

These integrations allow the simulation of, for example, a power failure stemming from a cyber attack, showing which regions of the city and which aspects of critical infrastructure would be affected. 

Simulating a power outage in London. The simulation is visualized in CesiumJS. 

Modeling the entire city, CAE was also able to create pattern of life simulations using 100,000 simulated pedestrians traveling throughout the city. They could then simulate crowds of variable sizes gathering for demonstrations at various locations to review potential impacts.

Here each green dot represents a pedestrian. The simulation is visualized in CesiumJS. 

First person simulations in Cesium for Unreal

Having created a complete digital twin of London, CAE didn’t limit their users to a single interface. Besides streaming into CesiumJS for visualization, CAE also serves the same 3D Tiles datasets from Cesium ion into Cesium for Unreal

Pedestrian simulations in Cesium for Unreal.

In Unreal Engine, CAE further enhanced some of the photogrammetry dataset with custom 3D models to improve the first person view. For example, the Trafalgar Square area has custom models for Nelson’s column, traffic bollards, and subway entrances.

The Cesium for Unreal experience, available as a desktop application, provides a first-person perspective into the same data and simulation capabilities. Users can see the crowd simulation at street level, including vehicles simulated in Unreal Engine. With a more photorealistic experience and street-level view, these types of simulations are especially useful for training scenarios. The Cesium for Unreal application opens up a range of interactive experiences, including AR and VR.

Simulations for the metaverse built on Cesium

By giving developers the tools to work with huge 3D geospatial datasets, Cesium supports the modsim community with tools for multi-domain operations (MDO), joint all domain command and control (JADC2), humanitarian aid and disaster response (HADR) and urban operations. Supporting that level of integration is just one way we’re committed to building the metaverse. 

CAE was able to simulate a complex dense urban environment by taking advantage of the complete Cesium platform:

  • Urban simulations visualized in CesiumJS 
  • Hosting, tiling, streaming, and analyzing 3D geospatial data with Cesium ion
  • First person visualizations in Cesium for Unreal 

To visualize your complex city system interactions and simulations, contact CAE. To begin building with the Cesium platform, sign up for a Cesium ion account.