Geodesign for Hong Kong Public Housing Estates Using 3D GIS

In Hong Kong, land is a limited resource and property price is extremely high, so there is a great demand of public housing for those who cannot afford private residence. As the largest developer in Hong Kong, with around 30% of the population living in its public housing flats, the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) is introducing the technology of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Geodesign concept into its operation, in order to facilitate the planning process for the supply of affordable housing to low-income families in need.

Integrating GIS and BIM in the ArcGIS 3D platform.

Integrating GIS and BIM in the ArcGIS 3D platform.

Particularly, a web-based enterprise GIS platform featuring the latest GIS technology and 3D analysis capabilities has been established in HA. A wide range of geospatial information and map data is shared through the platform across the department to facilitate operations, collaboration and communications of various disciplines of professionals. Geodesign integrating with GIS provides a design framework and supporting technology for professionals to collaborate and leverage geographic information, resulting in designs that more closely follow sustainable development. The 3D GIS also integrates with the data from Building Information Modeling (BIM) system to support planning, design and compliance processes in the development of new public housing estates.

Conduct ridgeline analysis for the proposed buildings.

Conduct ridgeline analysis for the proposed buildings.

In fact, the enterprise GIS platform serves as a central information hub for HA. Apart from HA’s own geospatial information covering around 210 existing HA estates; future projects under planning, design and construction, geospatial information from other Government departments has also been integrated in the same platform. The comprehensive web GIS platform provides a Common Operation Picture (COP) with essential geospatial information for the professionals and senior managements in HA to make decisions on the new public housing developments.

Comparing 2 schemes of site formation design by integrating GIS with CAD and BIM.

Comparing 2 schemes of site formation design by integrating GIS with CAD and BIM.

The process starts with importing the building frame models designed in BIM environment by architects into 3D GIS environment. The placement, orientation and height of the building frame models will be adjusted within the proposed site in order to optimize the use of the area of the site and ensure the compliance with town planning regulations. The decision making on the various building parameters will be supported by the result of a series of 3D spatial analysis functions including ridgeline visualization, sightline analysis, view shed analysis, solar and shadow study, daylight study, height comparison, visual impact study, open space estimate, plot ratio and total floor area calculation, etc. What-if scenarios analysis is also supported in the 3D GIS environment to evaluate the feasibility and suitability of different options based on different sets of building parameters. Once the final design of the building parameters is confirmed, the optimized and refined building frame models can be exported to BIM environment again for subsequent detailed architectural design.

Outdoor viewing of selected housing unit.

Outdoor viewing of selected housing unit.

The success of this project has further proved that GIS together with Geodesign concept is an effective and indispensable platform for facilitating communications and collaboration between different groups of professionals within HA to reach an optimized design for new public housing development. It also provides essential geospatial information and analysis functions to support decision making for the senior management. HA has also taken a pioneer role in integrating GIS with BIM in the Geodesign process.

Conduct shadow analysis for the proposed buildings.

Conduct shadow analysis for the proposed buildings.

In this project, ArcGIS for Server 10.1 software has been used for powering the enterprise web GIS platform whilst ArcGIS for Desktop 10.1 with ArcGIS 3D Analyst extension software are adopted for 3D GIS environment and geospatial analysis.

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