Faster permits for architects thanks to geographical information

Xander den Duijn

FME Certified Professional

Thanks to the advent of digital geographical information, architects can now put their designs into context and test buildings in different environments faster than ever. (And local residents also benefit because of the “digital testing” that architects are able to do.) In the past, to accentuate the beauty of a design, architects sometimes spent days making beautiful artistic renderings of their designs. That was primarily manual work performed by using Photoshop and Google Earth. The result? A flat, static representation of reality.

3D GeoViewer The 3D GeoViewer is a powerful tool for architects that gives context to the buildings they design. For example, you can look at the building from every possible perspective and perform shadow analyses for any time of the day. An additional advantage is that the 3D GeoViewer automatically incorporates data from the BGT and BAG, so that you can immediately see whether your BIM model fits into the environment. Start today and load your SketchUp, IFC or FBX file in the 3D GeoViewer.


A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a smart representation of a lot of data on the map. You can choose which data you do or do not want to display. At Tensing, we see that a growing number of architects are discovering the opportunities of GIS for their designs, but they do not yet have one tool with a simple interface to get started.

Our market research has revealed that many architects work with multiple (geo) graphic programs for their visualizations of their building and the environment — with or without a few plug-ins. This allows you to create a reasonably accurate picture of reality, but you do not see, for example, when a building crosses a cadastral boundary. Precisely because of that inaccuracy, the 3D GeoViewer was designed and is now a perfect solution because it uses the data from, for example, the BAG, the BGT and the Land Registry.


Thanks to the 3D GeoViewer, you can enhance the beauty of the building you designed, because you can place it in the actual context, such as surrounding buildings and vegetation. You can create a realistic image yourself, without having to work on it for days with Photoshop and other programs. An additional advantage of visualization in 3D is that you already have insight into the parts of the design that require attention or need improvement in the design phase. This means you need fewer applications and you also get a better result.

In mid-2019, the 3D GeoViewer was improved based on user feedback. The most important points for improvement:

  • View of the spatial environment from view of flat roofs to view with the difference between different roof types and parts of buildings (Lod2);
  • Very reliable shadow analysis;
  • Better match between the BIM model and the GIS environment.

Recently the 3D GeoViewer is even enriched with a 'Slicing Layer' functionality. With this function it is possible to look inside and even under a building model. This way, your example simply analyzes how sunlight enters the building.

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All stakeholders can easily view the designed building from any angle, so they see the influence on the environment from every perspective. The shadow analyses can show local residents that the shadow of the designed building does not create shade in their back garden, so you can easily remove objections. And because the municipality can also see with a few clicks the effects on streets in the area, the licensing process will be considerably faster.


Ease of use was the most important factor in the development of the 3D GeoViewer, so we started working with a User Interface Designer to ensure that users have a straightforward experience. Behind the scenes, we process the data so that it is correctly displayed on the 3D map. An important condition is that the reference coordinates of the zero point are known in the 3D model. If this does not go well, it is best to contact us. Soon I will write a blog post about the best way to solve this.


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