From the 23rd of May ViziCities and I will be moving to our new home at UrbanSim. I will be joining as Co-Founder and Senior Sofware Engineer with the ViziCities technology moving under the UrbanSim umbrella. This will undoubtedly change a few things, which I hope to address in this post. However, the short version is that this move allows ViziCities to reach its full potential while balancing an open approach to software development and use. I’m very much looking forward to working with my new colleagues at UrbanSim to further ViziCities and realise their vision to help people shape the future of their communities.
The past year
Just over a year ago I wrote about how far ViziCities has come from its roots as a hobby project back in early 2013, all the way to becoming a fully fledged company at the end of 2014. It’s been an exciting time for ViziCities since then. In the past year alone I’ve had the pleasure to work with large companies spanning a variety of industries, using ViziCities to improve the way they interact with and understand their data. What this has made absolutely clear is that ViziCities is the perfect tool for companies and city authorities to quickly and intuitively understand their geospatial data and make relevant decisions far quicker than they were able to previously.
Alongside working within industry, the ViziCities technology itself has been significantly improved over the past year. The latest version (0.3) is a complete rewrite of the previous codebase and introduces a huge number of improvements, laying the groundwork for much-needed future functionality. The latest version is far simpler to use as a developer, it’s faster, more stable, it looks better and it has full support for standardised data formats like GeoJSON out of the box. Overall, it’s a much more sophisticated platform that kicks the door wide open for ViziCities’ full potential.
A little while ago I was approached by UrbanSim, a company who I first encountered a few years ago and who I’ve been keeping an eye on ever since. It was quickly clear to us both that we shared many common goals and so it was natural for us to find a way to work together. One of those options was for me to join UrbanSim full-time and continue working on ViziCities alongside their amazing team. This ticked all the boxes for me, both professionally and personally, so it was a no-brainer really.
Fast-forward to the present day and I’m pleased to announce that I will be joining UrbanSim as Co-Founder and Senior Sofware Engineer from the 23rd of May. ViziCities will be coming with me and will be taken under the UrbanSim umbrella. An important aspect of the negotiation was to ensure that ViziCities remains open-source, after all this is one of the major features of ViziCities that sets it apart from the competition. Fortunately UrbanSim are proponents of open-source, so this decision was easy.
We will be merging two projects together as a part of this move. The UrbanSim team has developed UrbanCanvas, a desktop 3D application with some amazing features like CGA (Computer Generated Architecture) shape grammars and nice editing and painting features. Our plan is to consolidate ViziCities and UrbanCanvas into a single, open-source and Web-based platform that will use the name UrbanCanvas.
We’re still in the process of deciding how best to handle the other areas of ViziCities such as the website and its various channels of communication. We hope to have made a decision on this over the coming weeks, though it’s safe to say that future communication will be made through UrbanSim channels.
I asked Paul Waddell, Founder and President of UrbanSim for a few words about joining forces with ViziCities:
UrbanSim Inc. has developed pathbreaking urban simulation and 3D editing and visualization capabilities in its UrbanCanvas platform, now being used in cities such as Denver, Paris, and San Francisco, among many others, to support the development of local and regional land use and transportation plans and to evaluate their effectiveness and impacts.
With a new push to move this functionality to the web, and after looking at all the available web mapping frameworks available, we found the work Robin Hawkes has been developing in ViziCities to align beautifully with our own vision and approach, and we quickly realized that we were pulling in the same direction.
As a result, we have jointly decided to merge our efforts, and merge UrbanCanvas and ViziCities, and accelerate the development of our shared vision for bringing urban simulation and 3D data visualization to a broad audience.
We are very pleased that Robin Hawkes has agreed to join us on May 23, 2016.
How to keep up to date with ViziCites and UrbanSim
You can keep up-to-date with future progress on ViziCities and the work I will be doing with UrbanSim by keeping an eye on the UrbanSim website. I also recommend checking out the website to learn more about what we do and how it may apply to you.
A see you soon, not a goodbye
While it may sound like ViziCities and I are running away never to be seen again, that is most definitely not the case. This is very much a see you soon rather than a goodbye – you’ll soon enough see the results of my joining forces with UrbanSim.
I’m very much looking forward to what the future holds and can’t wait to share it with you.
See you soon!
Robin – ViziCities Founder