State unveils complete 3D map of Estonia

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A view of Tallinn from the Land Board's new 3D map application. Source: Maa-Amet 3D

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Land Board have unveiled an application that has overlaid three-dimensional building renders over the map of Estonia, allowing people to visualize most buildings in Estonia.

Artu Ellmann, Deputy Director General of the Land Board, said the Geo3D strategic program will be supplemented with further 3D data and additional services. The recently published three-dimensional map is the first of the services.

"We hope this finds use in the analysis and planning of both natural and human-made environments," he said.

The economic affairs ministry has already put the 3D options to use, allowing for a view of future developments in Estonia in their "3D kaksik" The new digital tools allow a look at what a building would look like in the existing environment, what restrictions should be considered when designing the building and how shadows will affect the building. The 3D tool is mainly meant for decision-making when it comes to environmental decisions.

The 3D building renders have been created with the help of an automatic data processing program that uses data from Lidar pictures taken from the air. The application allows for data to be entered into regular context, displaying it along with other map layers from the Land Boards databases.

In addition to buildings, the map application also shows a height map of Estonia, to go with aerial laserscanning point clouds and modeled vegetation in some areas. There is also an option to apply for information from different registries about buildings.

While the Land Board's 3D application shows the external walls and detailed roof shapes of the objects, the economic affairs ministry's 3D application allows for construction registry objects to be overlaid to the existing layer of buildings. The data will provide important information to the construction and real estate sectors.

Jaan Saar, head of the economic affairs ministry's digital construction department, said that the 3D kaksik can offer up occasional surprises. "Some buildings in the construction registry still lack height data or it is not completely correct. That is why the application might show skyscrapers that you actually do not see in Estonia," he said.

Both the Land Board's 3D application and the economic affairs ministry's 3D applications are still in their demo stages. There will be more options and data layers added in the future, helping to make better choices in spatial planning.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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