Gavin Duffy
Director, RealSim
Tuesday 23 May, 2017

Geospatial Game Engines – A game changer for the way we see the world? The games industry has driven many significant advances in digital media over the years. One of these has been the ‘Game Engine’. It facilitates the exploration of ‘other worlds’, to engage, challenge and entertain us. Such environments are normally populated with multiple scenario outcomes depending on our decisions. This could also describe a platform for planning the world we live in.  Feeding engineering and architectural inputs in to a geospatial game engine significantly increases our insight on the impact of proposed changes to the built environment. In addition, the simplicity of the user experience removes the technical barrier traditionally associated with CAD and GIS, allowing non-technical stakeholders and decisions makers make more informed decisions on how we shape the world around us.

Prior to stumbling upon the real world simulation potential of game engine technology, Gavin was geophysicist who’s concept of 3D mapping was very much of the GIS variety, i.e. ortho-photography draped over a digital terrain surface, devoid of 3-dimensional buildings and vegetation. The realisation that gaming technology handled raster and vector data in a far more efficient manor than traditional Windows based geospatial software, led him to exploring the application of such technology for planning and development.  Establishing a product for an industry that suffered a catastrophic collapse in Ireland was less than ideal, but taught Gavin that innovation is a must to satisfy the demands of ‘more for less’ in any downturn.

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