Agency9: Dynamic urban planning thanks to imagery, geographical information, and 3D modelling
Agency9 AB is a Swedish SME specialised in 3D web-based solutions and founded in 2003. Agency9 holds patents for several new technologies it has developed. Its products were originally designed for the gaming industry. The company evolved towards urban planning solutions in 2009, when it started integrating GIS and spatial support to its 3D components, to develop its main product, CityPlanner.
In 2018, Agency9 was acquired by Bentley to realise digital twins for cities.
Agency9 identified a market opportunity in adapting the internet based 3D modeling technologies they had used for the gaming sector to the needs of land planners and Local and Regional Authorities.
First, 3D spatial information is usually difficult for users to share and manipulate because of the technical limitations of computers and the need for specific software. Moreover, urban planning projects are complex, with many land uses (such as transports, constructions or roads) and stakeholders to consider, for whom communication is key in the success of the planning process. The target clients (planners, Local and Regional Authorities) were also likely to need to reduce the time and effort necessary for the red tape associated with planning and building permits.
Agency9 was in a good position to leverage their gaming industry experience and develop a solution that was user-friendly and technically innovative.
CityPlanner is a web-based application hosted on the cloud that combines traditional geographic information, satellite and/or aerial imagery to generate and display 3D city models of astounding visual accuracy. The 3D models, that rely on the gaming expertise of Agency9, were traditionally only seen in high-end video games. Planners can in CityPlanner easily create, share and publish projects and spatial information from their regular web browser, not needing to install any additional software.
Not only does CityPlanner help urban planners communicate better by benefiting from a very interactive tool, but it also allows them to engage citizens, get them interested in the planning process, and prepare them to the changes to come. Citizens can pin their comments and proposals directly on the map just by logging into their personal account. CityPlanner can also be used for a variety of planning needs, such as flooding forecasts for coastal cities, or studies on energy consumption of buildings for reuse of CO2 emissions.
Since the creation of CityPlanner, the number of clients of the agency has rapidly grown. Agency9 now works with around 20 municipalities in Europe, mostly in the Nordic Region but also international cities such as Hamburg, Berlin or Vienna. The agency also has resellers in Asia and Europe.
“In city development, internet based 3D visualisation is an important component to reach out to team members, stakeholder and citizens. Agency9 is committed to provide easy-to-use tools to support internal work and dialogue with the public”
Håkan Engman, CEO Agency9
Håkan Engman, CEO Agency9