Urban Melbourne's 3D model is evolving

Recently we've been exploring new ways to host our 3D model (or parts thereof) on the site. And today we're going live with a public beta that we'd love to hear your feedback on.

This is a significant step forward as we have previously had to rely on rendered stills to illustrate future development projections.

As an example, we have taken an in-progress portion of the Southbank model, which allows you to orbit around and freely control with clickable annotations which provide details about a few of the buildings and links back to their respective database listings. This can be seen below:

If viewing on a mobile device or tablet, use two fingers to pan around and zoom in, and one finger to orbit around the model.

Fair warning however: the models are large and if you are on a mobile device, we recommend only loading it on wifi or better yet use a laptop or desktop.

To navigate around the model:

  • Click and hold to orbit around the model.
  • Hold Shift and click and hold to pan around the model (or hold down the mouse wheel).
  • Hold Ctrl and click and hold to zoom into a particular part of the model.
STHBANK TEST by Urban Melbourne on Sketchfab

It is worth noting that there are still a few issues to sort out, not least how to host the rest of the model (the CBD, Docklands etc), loading and viewing bigger models on mobile devices properly, colour coding and material testing.

Eventually we hope to make the full model readily available to everyone, but are still working through the finer details.

While it is still very much early days, there is a lot of potential. We will continue testing 3D content with a view towards including embedded 3D models as part of our planning articles, providing readers with the ability to view and control a new development within its immediate context right here on Urban Melbourne.

So for now, have fun panning around the Southbank model and keep an eye out for more 3D content in future. Please leave any feedback in the comments.



Malcolm Maguire's picture

Really looking forward to having a look but the model won't load. Its quickly goes to a full blue bar under 'Loading 3D model' but then nothing happens. I am viewing on a desktop computer running windows 7 professional.

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Paolo Lavisci's picture

Congratulations ! Works well on Win10. What do the shades refer to ?

Paolo Lavisci

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Laurence Dragomir's picture

Malcolm - what browser are you using, out of curiosity? We find Chrome works best.

Paolo - which shades are you referring to?

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Steve Sharp's picture

Good stuff. Works on a MAC, Safari and Chrome. Did take maybe 30sec - 1min to load the model even when the 'Load 3D Model' progress bar had said it had completed. Maybe something to consider and fix in next release. Happy days.

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Adam Ford's picture

Model is too heavy for your device and can not be rendered properly on Chrome on Mac

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Gary Buck's picture

Works fine on Surface Pro 3 / Win 10 / Chrome

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Andrew's picture


Although you should have a look into unity once the project is complete, that has a webplayer and can stream data pretty well for mobile devices too.

The models while detail is good, might need optimizing for displaying on the web, Eurekas balconies could be simplified. Or maybe just a LOD (Level of detail) model for when the camera is further away, although this enters game making territory.

First up would be UC, Proposed, Built shaders for the various models, which no doubt you're working on given the static images you've been releasing for years now.

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Melb on's picture

Fantastic! Works great on Windows 10 bit64

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Laurence Dragomir's picture

@Andrew - We'll probably use sketchfab for smaller models within articles. We're playing around with Unity at the moment and ways we can use it for the full model - there's a few cool things we're testing out already.

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Development & Planning

Thursday, August 17, 2017 - 12:00
The City of Melbourne's Future (Planning) Committee this week resolved to issue conditional approval for a 10-storey building at 1071-1081 Hoddle Street in East Melbourne. The building would rise to a height of 31.54m and accommodate 26 apartments on a triangular shaped site with a total area of 311 sqm.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - 12:00
Carolyn Whitzman , University of Melbourne Liveability is an increasingly important goal of Australian planning policy. And creating cities where residents can get to most of the services they need within 20 to 30 minutes has been proposed, at both federal and state level, as a key liveability-related mechanism.

Visual Melbourne

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 12:00
Part Three follows on from the Part One: Yarra's Edge and Part Two: Victoria Harbour. The focus of today's piece will be NewQuay and Harbour Town, the northern most precincts within Docklands. NewQuay NewQuay was the first precinct to open way back in 2003 and has probably evolved the most.


Transport & Design

Thursday, August 17, 2017 - 07:15
CBRE in recent weeks has begun marketing a development site at 118 City Road in Southbank which has been branded as 'Flagship'. The 6,191sqm site is currently home to a BMW dealership and showroom, and has significant potential to add to what is set to become on of the densest city blocks in Melbourne, boasting towers of 200m through to over 300m.

Sustainability & Environment

Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 12:00
The greening of Southbank is a step closer to reality following the endorsement of the draft concept plan for Southbank Boulevard and Dodds Street by the Future Melbourne Committee on Tuesday, 18 July, 2017.