CommunityViz 4.0


“CommunityViz is advanced yet easy-to-use GIS software designed to help people visualize, analyze, and communicate about important community planning decisions.”

Tool Description

CommunityViz is a 3-D analysis and scenario planning extension for ArcGIS, created by the Orton Family Foundation and administered by Placeways LLC.  The software “shows” you the implications of various planning decisions and scenarios and offers a range of tools for community design and planning, including development of realistic 3-D models, buildout analysis, and scene export capability for GoogleEarth. CommunityViz has been used extensively in conjunction with chip games and electronic meeting tools and as a facilitation tool to help groups understand and make better planning decisions.
Features include:

  • Display windows that can be customized to show a GIS view, charts, models, and/or tables simultaneously.  Updating one variable will update all the displays.
  • Attributes, indicators, and equations that allow users to examine how different factors and data variables interact with one another.
  • Wizards to allow for quick Buildout Scenarios,
  • Weighted factors that can be changed to show how different values and priorities impact the final analysis.
  • SiteBuilder 3D component, which allows users to build complex, interactive, photorealistic 3D scenes from two dimensional data, which can be explored with ArcGIS flythrough technology or GoogleEarth.
  • ModelBuilder3D component, which allows users to generate realistic models of objects such as buildings and trees.

Summary of Costs

Associated Costs
  • Acquisition
  • Consulting
  • Technical Assistance
  • Training


  • 3-D visualization and modeling can be incredibly powerful in showing people how a potential planning decision would look and feel
  • Assumptions and values can be changed on the fly and immediately used to update the analysis, which is helpful for group discussions and presentations
  • CommunityViz integrates seamlessly with ArcGIS and works with other tools like Google Earth and SketchUp
  • CommunityViz is one of the more affordable 3-D visualization and modeling platforms available


  • CommunityViz relies on GIS, so communities without robust GIS programs and skilled practitioners may be unable to use it
  • Models and analyses are only as good as the data that goes into them
  • Some training and time is required even for advanced GIS users to learn CommunityViz
Submitted By: admin
Last Updated: January 16, 2015, 9:43 am