March 10th, 2010 | Published in Google SketchUp
Cities and local governments around the world are beginning to realize that it takes more than a traditional website to get discovered. Millions of people around the world are touring the planet or searching for businesses through free geospatial tools like Google Earth and Google Maps. Imagery, terrain, and 3D models all help these virtual visitors to formulate a picture in their mind.
The City of Fredericton uses Google Earth for city planning and other official uses. They had access to 3D building data so when they learned about Google's Cities in 3D Program they offered to contribute their data to Google in the hope that it might appear in Google Earth. In addition to Google Earth, 3D data contributed to Google is used to display 3D buildings in Google Maps, which will benefit anyone trying to find a specific location in the City. If you're a city or local government, have access to 3D data, and would like to "get on the virtual map", we encourage you to learn more by visiting our Cities in 3D Program website.
The City of Fredericton is the riverfront Capital of the province of New Brunswick, which is one of four provinces that make up Atlantic Canada. The population of New Brunswick is around 750,000 with urban and suburban areas extending into rural. The population of the city is 50,535; with a total of 85,688 people living in Greater Fredericton. Fredericton was named the Capital in 1785.
Today, Greater Fredericton is home to more than 70% of New Brunswick´s Information Technology industries. The city is the New Brunswick centre for information technology, engineering and environmental technology industries. Fredericton is also home to two universities (St. Thomas University and the University of New Brunswick) and a variety of training colleges and institutes.
Fredericton offers a balanced lifestyle to its residents, with abundant recreational and cultural amenities. The City is an ISO 9001:2008 certified organization delivering more than 150 programs and services to residents and visitors alike.
Fredericton was added to the Smart 7 Communities List for 2009 by the Intelligent Community Forums - for the second year in a row. Environmental awareness is top of mind for the City of Fredericton. In 2009, the City was named a national leader in the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Fredericton is only one of four Canadian cities to achieve the highest level of program requirements for greenhouse gas measurement and reduction in municipal operations in Canada.
Other awards and recognitions that the city has won include:
- "Cultural Capital of Canada" 2009 (Government of Canada)
- "Top Five Renovator-Friendly Cities in Canada" 2009 (Canadian Contractor Magazine)
- "Fourth Best City for Families in Canada" 2009 (Who's Your City - Richard Florida)
- "One of Canada's Best Places to Live" 2009, 2008 & 2007 (MoneySense)
- "City of Fredericton National Leader in the Partners for Climate Protection Program” 2009 FCM
Fredericton & Cities in 3D Program
Rob Lunn, GIS Coordinator for the City, told us that he discovered the Google Earth 3D building models and SketchUp utility at the GeoWeb Conference in 2008. City employees were already using Google Earth for work or personal purposes.
Rob Lunn said, "I knew there was a program to upload data to Google and getting data to Google was a big initiative for us. We wanted to find avenues to release available data and information to be public at large and the Cities in 3D Program seemed like a perfect solution."
"We decided to go through the Cities in 3D Program because of time and having Google folks involved helped speed it up. We want our city to be discoverable through Google as well as through our local website. But if there are people going straight to Google, we want them to discover it there too."
History of Sharing
The City of Fredericton has a partnership with the local Military in New Brunswick, Canadian Forces Base Gagetown. The CFB Gagetown is one of the largest military bases in Canada. "We provided data for creating models (building footprints with heights, DEM, aerial photography, oblique angle aerial photography collected by a firm with an ultra light plane and street level photography) and they built up the data sets. The group is the Army Learning Support Center for Tactics School and one of the largest bases in Canada," says Rob Lunn. This high-tech military group took this model and integrated it into a first person tactics game. They wanted a real life model for training purposes.
"We also meet PSAB (Public Sector Accounting Board) legislation for tracking assets. From a city perspective, we have to know the tree cover, quantity of trees, park benches, how many meters of sidewalks, how many meters of sewer pipes, etc. We truly have to know what we have because they have to be accounted for. There's an expense and you have to replace the sidewalk, etc. We have to have a good understanding of what we own."
Fredericton in Google Earth
"Of course, we're interested in promoting Fredericton and have people discover the 3D models, that's wonderful for us. For staff it is important to be able to see the impact that buildings or other structures (e.g signage) have on the streetscape. Right now, we're using the models more for tourism and economic development, but plan to expand into more areas. What motivated us to contribute our data was the opportunity to make the information available to a wider audience through a tool (Google Earth) that they are already using.
Over 100 photo-textured 3D buildings in Fredericton were added to Google Earth in January 2010. The buildings included government offices, commercial buildings and parking structures. To visit Fredericton, download Google Earth and search for "Fredericton, Canada" and make sure the "3D Buildings" layer is checked.