My Virtual Moreland

My Virtual Moreland

Funded

Moreland City Council

Moreland City Council, Victoria

Project stage

Completed

Timeframe

Start date: 18 December 2017
End date: 16 June 2019

Project value

Australian Government funding:
$396,900
Total:
$845,129

Partners

  • The University of Melbourne
  • Lost In The Machine
  • KASA
  • AAM

Focus area

  • City and community planning
  • Innovation and economic development
  • Public administration and customer service
  • Other

Project type

  • Community engagement
  • Smart hub/precinct
  • Smart governance
  • Other

Technology type

  • Smartphone applications
  • Hardware
  • 3D modeling
  • Online portal
  • Other

Project link

Project summary

The My Virtual Moreland project is one of the first of its kind in Australia, leveraging 3D mapping, 3D modelling and the emerging technologies of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and 3D GIS. These new technologies enable more informed planning and design decisions, and make it easier for the community to get involved.

The challenge

Our urban environment is undergoing rapid change, with Moreland’s population expected to increase to 228,807 by 2036.

A key priority in the Council Plan 2017-21 is to enhance Moreland's liveability, affordability and sustainability by guiding growth and excellence in urban design and development.

To meet the demands of rapid urban environment changes, Moreland City Council plans to make use of new and emerging technologies to assist with city planning and community feedback in smarter and more efficient ways as our city grows.

Solution

The My Virtual Moreland Project will use innovative 3D visualisation, virtual reality and augmented reality technologies to solve this problem, these apps and tools include:

My Virtual Moreland App – Public:

  • Through the use of XR (augmented and virtual reality) the My Virtual Moreland app aims to bring visual transparency to planning applications within Moreland. Anyone with a compatible smart phone can retrieve a 3D model of selected planning applications and view them either in AR or VR – on location or on a tabletop. Where previously there would be concept sketches, now a user can assess potential visual impacts at scale, be they overshadowing or overlooking views into another property.
  • More info / Download: https://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/AR

My Virtual Moreland VR – Internal/Public:

  • This VR tool gives users the ability to view large proposed developments within Moreland City Council in context by placing the proposed developments inside a detailed, 1:1 scale computer generated 3D recreation of Moreland. Additional tools also allow users to take accurate measurements, view zoning information and the ability to design their own virtual spaces inside Moreland City Council such as parks and public spaces.
  • The VR app is primarily used internally, however it can also be used on request by the public via the Moreland Council Website, or at select community consultations.
    More info: https://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-us/projects/virtual-moreland/VR/

My Virtual Moreland 3D Viewer – Public:

  • An easy to use 3D web tool intended to assist the community to gather information on local planning projects and applications, use specialised 3D tools and visualise open source data which is relevant to the local community utlising a detailed 3D map of Moreland. This viewer is also used by Moreland City Council staff to make more informed design and planning decisions and integrates directly with Councils GIS system MoreMaps.
  • More info: https://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-us/projects/virtual-moreland/Viewer/

Benefits

By using the VR and AR tools created as part of the My Virtual Moreland Project, Moreland City Council's planners are able to make more informed decisions and assess applications and their potential impacts more easily and with greater accuracy by viewing proposed large scale developments in 3D using our AR and VR tools.

Council departments (such as Urban design and the Places team) are also making use of the new tools, allowing them to design and view council construction projects in VR and in context within a 3D model of Moreland which was created as part of the My Virtual Moreland project.

These same tools are then used as part of the community consultation process allowing the public to view and feedback using Virtual Reality as opposed to viewing artists impressions and concept plans which can sometimes be misleading, misinterpreted or difficult to understand.

The iPhone and Android AR app “My Virtual Moreland” allows the community to easily view proposed developments intuitively as pins on a map . This makes it much easier for the community to get a snapshot of the proposed developments in their local area which are up for advertisement/community feedback as well as find out more information about them. Prior to releasing this app the only way to find local advertised developments was through Councils website which is not optimised for mobile and difficult to use.

The “My Virtual Moreland 3D viewer” also gives the community access to an easy-to-use tool which works in any modern web browser and allows them view an accurate 3D model of Moreland. This viewer includes several tools including measurement tools, shadow analysis, line of sight tools etc. This viewer can also display custom layers and data overlaid on top of Moreland City Council to assist Council in visualising data to the community in an way that's easy to understand. 

Lessons learned

Obtaining 3D models from Architects and developers has been the most difficult task in the My Virtual Moreland project. Having applicants of large scale developments include 3D models as part of their submission process must be made mandatory as Architects/developers are reluctant to allow Council to use their models in any way outside of viewing them internally for application assessment purposes.

Outcomes

Some of the key project outcomes and benefits include:

  • Enhanced communication of proposed built-form, especially in the case of complex urban projects such as structure planning, new residential zones and infrastructure assets, both internally and during public consultation
  • Improved (faster, technically enhanced) decision making through realistic visualisation and analysis in relation to urban design, strategic planning and statutory planning
  • Improved environmental impact assessments for proposed/planned developments
  • Improved infrastructure planning and asset management (data capture)
  • Increased economic development opportunities through the promotion of business investment and tourism marketing opportunities (e.g. by enabling prospective visitors/investors to ‘see’ proposed developments and/or to travel ‘virtually’ throughout the municipal area)
  • Cost savings through the ability to produce (in-house) 3D fly-though video presentations
  • Enhanced community engagement and participation
  • Transparent decision making and improved service delivery for community and development applicants
  • Ability for the community to engage better in Council decision making process
  • Better understanding of proposed benefits and impacts of future development
  • Ability to visualise and understand major Council projects
  • Reduced angst over future development through increased awareness
  • Less challenges of our stronger built form controls
  • Better built form outcomes on the ground
  • Internal and external customer satisfaction and level of engagement at community consultations, Planning And Related Matters (PARM) meetings and Councillor Briefing sessions
  • Ability to share and extend this approach across local government and industry sectors.

Contact details

Name: Moreland City Council
Phone: 03 9240 2310
Email: Virtual_Moreland@moreland.vic.gov.au