, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 537–567 | Cite as

An assisting, constrained 3D navigation technique for multiscale virtual 3D city models



Virtual 3D city models serve as integration platforms for complex geospatial and georeferenced information and as medium for effective communication of spatial information. In order to explore these information spaces, navigation techniques for controlling the virtual camera are required to facilitate wayfinding and movement. However, navigation is not a trivial task and many available navigation techniques do not support users effectively and efficiently with their respective skills and tasks. In this article, we present an assisting, constrained navigation technique for multiscale virtual 3D city models that is based on three basic principles: users point to navigate, users are lead by suggestions, and the exploitation of semantic, multiscale, hierarchical structurings of city models. The technique particularly supports users with low navigation and virtual camera control skills but is also valuable for experienced users. It supports exploration, search, inspection, and presentation tasks, is easy to learn and use, supports orientation, is efficient, and yields effective view properties. In particular, the technique is suitable for interactive kiosks and mobile devices with a touch display and low computing resources and for use in mobile situations where users only have restricted resources for operating the application. We demonstrate the validity of the proposed navigation technique by presenting an implementation and evaluation results. The implementation is based on service-oriented architectures, standards, and image-based representations and allows exploring massive virtual 3D city models particularly on mobile devices with limited computing resources. Results of a user study comparing the proposed navigation technique with standard techniques suggest that the proposed technique provides the targeted properties, and that it is more advantageous to novice than to expert users.


Virtual 3D city model Multiscale modeling View navigation Virtual camera control Mobile device Distributed 3D geovisualization 



The authors thank Jürgen Döllner for support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hasso-Plattner-Institut at University of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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