Developing a 3D data model in Singapore

GovTech asked Ordnance Survey International for expert advice about creating data specifications, and a product flowline and process to generate CityGML-compliant data.

The Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech), works with public agencies to develop and deliver secure digital services and applied technology to individuals and businesses in Singapore.

It wished to better understand and assess CityGML as a 3D information model to represent the different city themes. The Open Geospatial Consortium’s CityGML standard was chosen as the model’s foundation.

Ordnance Survey has more than 15 years of experience in 3D geospatial research, and leads on the development of both the Open Geospatial Consortium’s CityGML standard and the CityGML data quality interoperability experiment.

What were the challenges?

GovTech was interested in understanding the processes and workflows in generating CityGML compliant data. It realised that a detailed data specification was needed to generate and maintain the data to a high and consistent standard across Singapore. The brief for Ordnance Survey International was to:

  • Create a specification that defines data capture requirements based on the CityGML 2.0 standard.
  • Identify and create an efficient data capture process.
  • Capture data to this specification in a defined test area according to the following themes defined in the standard:
    • Building (where existing data permits);
    • Vegetation;
    • Relief;
    • City Furniture; and
    • Transportation.
  • Test captured data against the specification and provide a test report.
  • Provide a final report summarising shared learning and documenting the data capture specification.

The main challenge of this project was to create a tight yet pragmatic specification, and prove that data could be captured against this specification by creating a sample of CityGML datasets.

What was the solution?

3D digital model of Singapore

Ordnance Survey is a Open Geospatial Consortium strategic member and was the first based outside the USA. This ensured that best practice data capture requirements were implemented, based on CityGML 2.0. A test suite was created to check that the data complied with this specification.

The team identified suitable data capture tools and created a multi-staged process to capture and process data to a very high standard for the test area. This is a dense, mid-rise urban area with complex building shapes as well as a significant amount of transport infrastructure. The capture work resulted in a collection of CityGML 2.0 files that could be imported into the open source cityDB database.

What are the benefits?

The specifications developed through this exercise helped to serve as input for the five key data themes, together with the reference data. This helped to pave the way for the creation of a comprehensive, standards-based 3D data model for geospatial 3D data in Singapore.

How can we help you?

Ordnance Survey International provides consultancy services in a wide range of areas including data modelling, strategy and vision, geomaturity assessments, geospatial information system roadmaps, and providing support for major national events.

To find out more, please contact: or call +44 (0)3456 050505.