Read the report: 3D urban subsurface modelling and visualisation - a review of good practices and techniques to ensure optimal use of geological information in urban planning TU1206 WG2.3-004

This report is the result of COST Action TU1206 Working Group 2, Work package 2.3, and focusses on 3D urban subsurface modelling and visualisation. The major aims of this report are: 1) evaluating current techniques and identify good practices / best efforts in 3D geological modelling and visualisation of the urban subsurface, based on case studies, and 2) co-developing (subsurface specialists & model users) requirements for optimal use of 3D geological modelling information in specific planning and policy contexts.

Three major topics have been considered:

·         Constructing and maintaining 3D urban geological models

·         Modelling man-made ground

·         Visualising 3D urban subsurface model results

To improve the use of subsurface modelling in urban planning in the future, the following challenges have been identified:

·         The complexity of the urban subsurface, including man-made ground, combined with the level of detail of information asked for in many urban planning issues demand that geologists look beyond their traditional data sources.

·         Combined 3D property modelling of the small-scale heterogeneity of man-made deposits and natural deposits requires new modelling approaches.

·         Management of the shallow urban subsurface requires model tools that can be frequently updated to reflect the frequently changing properties and functions of the urban subsurface.

·         There is a need for dynamic (4D) urban subsurface models that can be used for real-time monitoring and incorporation of time-series data on subsurface properties.

·         It would be cost-effective to have an actively maintained, scalable geological framework model of a city available that forms a common basis for the various kinds of dedicated models of parts of the city.

·         To give subsurface information a firm position in urban planning and management, geological information will have to be presented in the right format, and at the right time. It is absolutely necessary to include the subsurface infrastructure and to combine the model with above-ground information.


Jeroen Schokker


Geological Survey of the Netherlands (TNO-GSN)