3D Capabilities With BFUSA, Phase 2

Building Footprints and 3D


In part 1 of our series ( we demonstrated a number of ways that building footprint data, combined with 3D analysis, can provide insightful and actionable pictures.  In part 2, we’ll show you a number of additional methods for using our data with 3D tools. 3D visualization and analysis tools have existed for years; the challenge has been in data availability.  BuildingFootprintUSA now supports your 3D analysis at scale with millions of buildings enabled for your Z analysis.


Elevation data


Do you need to accurately see building and ground elevation data? BuildingFootprintUSA’s data solutions provide this insight. Not only are you able to see the height of each building, but the data details the ground elevation at each vertex of every building. Whether you are creating a new building on the hills of San Francisco, or developing in a flood-prone area, this data combined with our 3D capabilities ensures that you have the most accurate data at your fingertips. 

There’s no need to go into the field to capture these measurements. We create our data from the highest quality LIDAR data which ensures the most accurate read of elevation and building height.   

Line of Sight Analysis


Perhaps you are only interested in a singular perspective, “How much of the park will I be able to see from this apartment?” “Is point B visible from point A?” Our 3D capabilities can help with that analysis. In part 1 of our article we demonstrated calculating viewsheds using our data.  Related to viewsheds is line of sight analysis. Line of sight analysis confirms what you are able to see in a specific path, and what you are not. In this example, visible lines of sight are colored with a green line; red lines of sight represent what is not visible from your origin point. 

Brooklyn, NY


Trivariate analysis


Sometimes your solution is bigger than an “if, and” query. There are multiple perspectives that must be taken into account when making a decision, big or small. Perhaps you are looking for areas of a higher income and younger population. A query can show you the areas with the highest income and the youngest population, but it can’t show you what those areas look like or any other important variables. Are they high rise buildings or smaller apartment complexes? How close are they to the nearest park?


With 3D you can see all of this and more. Let’s say you are looking for the ideal location for your next restaurant. In this first image we’re able to see where the highest amount of young individuals with the highest income in Brooklyn, NY are living. The darker blue area represents the higher number of individuals age 25-29 are living. Each building is then colored by the average income. From this we are able to see that the ideal area will be in the north-west area. Let’s zoom in and take this analysis to the next level. 

Depict each building with an accurate height while remaining color coded by average income. We’ve now added restaurant data with our blue circles that range in size by how many are within that area. You’re able to see where is the ideal location for your next restaurant using our accurate location analysis.

Scene Viewer


Height- and elevation-enabled building footprint data can be used in any application that supports 3D analysis . This video shows BuildingFootprintUSA’s data in Esri’s Scene Viewer, and gives a full view of the range of buildings that line the bustling streets of Manhattan, NY. We then change the angle of the sun, so that you can see exactly what those buildings will look like on a specific date and time. Our data doesn’t only focus on large cities, so we then take you to the small town of Jasper in western NY. Combining our data with Esri applications allows for better visuals, analysis, and workflows.


Video is in 3D (click here to check it out)


Take the Next (3D) Step


In our 2 part article we have demonstrated a number of ways that building footprint data drives 3D analysis.  Have an idea that we haven’t covered? Interested in taking our data for a test drive? Send us a note to and we can talk about the art of what is possible.

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