Portsmouth 3D Model Phase I & II

Portsmouth, NH | Client: City of Portsmouth


Commissioned by the Portsmouth Historical Society, the Portsmouth 3D Model was an ambitious project that involved developing a supportive design platform used by architects and developers to access a variety of 3D files (Sketchup, OBJ, DWG, and 3DS Max). In doing so, it creates more precise before and after studies that illustrate how building projects can change Portsmouth.

At the conception of Phase I, it was our extensive experience working on numerous projects in and around the city of Portsmouth that helped to secure this 360-degree, interactive viewing option for the city’s planning department website. We exceeded all expectations by finishing the project early, well before the deadline—just three months for an 800-building model, plus a dedicated website. In addition, we designed a 360° interactive viewing option for the website allowing users to explore the model city in great depth and panoramic detail, with views from any angle. Phase I divided the portions of the city into eight districts that can be viewed individually through the interactive portal. Once a district is selected, pages relating to area buildings can be viewed and downloaded by architects and planners.

When financing was being granted for Phase II over four years later, we were contacted because of the great work that was produced in Phase I. We had also maintained and developed a close connection with the City of Portsmouth. Phase II involved a similar scope, but involved almost 900 buildings being photographed, modeled, and textured. These building included some of what was covered in Phase I, but also added nine more regions for a total of 17 regions throughout the city. All the files included in Phase I were updated to reflect the new buildings in neighboring regions. In addition, the dedicated website received design changes and updates to account for the added content.

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3D Visualization

This large-scale, comprehensive 3D model of Portsmouth has over 800 structures, including 400 fully textured buildings, and an integrated website enabling users to access detailed 3D images (modeling the buildings in 3D offers superior viewing quality). In order to photomap the texture of the buildings, photographers shot images of each building’s facades. These photos were edited to create unobstructed building views. For a more-realistic 3D model, the ground plan was also textured based on aerial images; 3D trees were even placed in the aerial renderings for additional realism.

Web Design

Highly interactive 3D models and websites are increasingly in demand for colleges, large institutions, and whole cities. To produce just Phase I of this interactive model of Portsmouth, we took over 6000 photos of the city, massed 800 buildings, and fully textured 400. In Phase II we took over 8,000 photos of the city, massed 900 buildings, and fully textured about 450. In order to texture the buildings, every facade of each building was photographed (4-6 pictures per building). The photos were then paired with each respective building so that textures could then be applied to the 3D models. Once the city was modeled and textured, the 360° Interactive Viewing Portal (IVP) was added. Additionally, the finished site features a fully interactive 3D map of the city that is easy to download and modify.

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