After seven years of development, the Lands Department recently launched the 3D Spatial Data of Hong Kong that contains 3D model data representing the shape, appearance, and position of more than 300,000 major ground features -- including all buildings, infrastructure, and terrain surfaces.

The Survey and Mapping Office of the department kicked off the 3D Spatial Data Processing System project in 2006, with the goal of showing all ground features in a photo-realistic 3D format. In July 2012, the department launched the trial version of 3D Spatial Data.

"We've made sure that the 3D Spatial Data produced is up-to-date, accurate and convenient for use in most off-the-shelf application software packages," said Bernadette Linn, Director of Lands. "The launch of 3D Spatial Data ties in with one of the visions of 2014 Digital 21 Strategy - "Smarter Hong Kong, Smarter Living" which is on "Transforming and Integrating Public Services".

3D Spatial Data is useful for 3D modeling applications that supports a wide range of analyses related to visual impact, noise impact, air flow, current flow, sun-shadow effect, surface run-off, floods, route planning, earth-work estimation, landscape design, urban design, heritage conservation, Linn said.

The data also helps property valuation, by providing a computer simulation of the views from different floors and different units of the property to be built, she added.

In addition, 3D Spatial Data can be used in emergency and rescue, land use planning, slope maintenance, civil works, estate design, facilities and property management, virtual tours, game development, Linn noted.

Available for online purchase, the 3D Spatial Data -- with the product code of 3D-BIT00 -- comes in the 3ds (Autodesk 3D Studio), 3D MAX (Autodesk 3D Max) and VRML (Virtual Reality Markup Language) formats, according to the department.

New app interface to help mobile app development

In a separate development, the department will soon provide a map application interface platform to facilitate mobile app development by other government departments and the private sector, Linn revealed. "With this, developers can use their smartphones to create location-based applications," she added.