3D Digital City

A very realistic 3D Digital City that enables a faster, more cost-effective, and more transparent execution of spatial projects.



The Municipality of Groningen, by far the largest municipality of the northern Netherlands, has 21 centers, of which the city of Groningen is the most important. The city of Groningen is bursting with creativity and therefore has numerous cultural hotspots and prominent places, such as the “Groninger Museum” and the “Forum”.

Over ten years ago, the Municipality of Groningen was already at the forefront in the development of a 3D city model. Large development projects gave rise to the development of this 3D model, with the goal of supporting both design and realization, communication, and policy issues. However, the 3D model was only used on project basis, and therefore not maintained as a base model. For their day-to-day operations, the Municipality of Groningen continued to work primarily in 2D.



Within today’s modern society, digitalization has become the central focus, as it allows a smarter city management. Moreover, working in 3D is becoming increasingly standard in the Netherlands.In order to continue to guarantee the exchangeability and transferability of data with the rest of the Netherlands, the Municipality of Groningen needs to change its way of working from 2D to 3D.


In addition, the Municipality of Groningen is facing a major challenge in the area of spatial
development. Construction projects are, for example, becoming increasingly complex and both the underground and upperground are getting fuller. Traffic is also increasing and construction causes nuisance in public spaces. On top of that, the growing number of external parties involved in project design, realization, and management increases both the risks and failure costs of spatial development projects.


Also, citizen participation is becoming increasingly important in both communication and decision-making processes. Involving both citizens and administrators at an early stage accelerates and helps the decision-making process, as we often see that, later on, fewer design changes and/or updates are required.





As a follow-up step for optimizing the entire construction chain, it was therefore decided to develop a digital 3D model of Groningen, both above and below ground. This 3D Digital City is, as it were, a digital twin of the Municipality of Groningen, which can be used as a digital testing ground when solving spatial issues. Not only can it accommodate spatial designs in their current context, but it can also be used for spatial and data analysis.

To realize this, Avineon has built CityGML models of the buildings, bridges, and city walls within the Municipality of Groningen. In the center of Groningen, Avineon modeled the buildings at LoD (Level of Detail) 2.3. In the remaining neighborhoods, the modeling was performed at LoD2.0. This means that, for all districts within the Municipality of Groningen, both Outer Ceiling Surfaces (OCS) and Outer Floor Surfaces (OFS / roof terraces) were modeled. For the “City Center”, dormers, gutters / roof overhangs, facade stairs, bridges, and city walls were also modeled.

To increase the level of reality, Avineon also applied a texture to the 3D model, in addition to paying special attention to the modeling of so-called “Landmark Buildings” and traditional Dutch mills.



The result is a very realistic 3D Digital City that ensures that spatial projects can be carried out faster, more cost-effectively, and more transparent. Moreover, the 3D Digital City can be used in the context of a number of major spatial themes, such as energy transition, sustainability, climate change, traffic, and commuting.


The combination of various data layers in one model also ensures that everyone is looking at the same uniform data. This process of one-time acquisition and multiple use decreases process costs for the Municipality of Groningen.


By implementing the 3D Digital City, the Municipality of Groningen has also created a connection to the innovation market. The Municipality of Groningen is therefore convinced of the added value, offered through the 3D Digital City, in terms of optimizing services, speeding up work processes, and reducing (failure) costs. In concrete terms, the 3D Digital City contributes to:


  • A better communication with residents, citizen participation; 
  • A faster and better substantiated decision-making;
  • More insight into the design phase of building processes;
  • More insight, and thus less failure costs, in the realization phase of the building process;
  • Meeting the expectations of both internal and external parties;
  • Insight in, and visualization of, soil structures and underground objects in relation to the surface;
  • A better connection to the "Environmental Act" ("Omgevingswet");
  • A better connection to digitalization and innovation. 


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