Urban Data Visualisation - BENV7501

We are currently teaching Urban Data Visualisation course.


It has been said that a picture (or a map) is worth a thousand words. Visual statements can play a critical role in turning data into insights and then shaping opinion, guiding planning, and influencing policy and decision-making in cities. Contemporary cities have grown extraordinarily complex and can be described and analysed through an increasing variety of social, economic and environmental data. New tools have been created to cope with the large availability of urban data, make sense of it and report it to varied audiences in a meaningful and appealing way. Innovative interactive and digital maps are changing city planning and therefore building capacity on how to critique and design them is an asset for anybody working in the field of urban planning and management. Data visualisation is an essential communication tool for representing data, models and simulations of the built environment, and this course will arm students with the skills and technique to harness the power of data visualisation.


This course is designed to provide students with:

  • a critical overview of current theory and technologies for 3D urban visualisation
  • technical understanding to develop visualisation products for specific purposes.

Course learning outcomes

By the end of this course, the student should be able to:

  • critically assess the process and role of urban data visualisation
  • demonstrate a theoretical and practical knowledge of a range of urban data visualisation applications and their capabilities
  • synthesise visualisation, observational and analytical processes by applying critical judgements appropriate to the visualisation aims for specific projects and scenarios


The students will produce an online portfolio along the semester, based on three assignments:

  • 3D modelling and visualisation: a critical precedent analysis of existing desktop 3D visualisations (assessment 1)
  • Web-based visualisation: a series of simple web-based visualisations based on different learned technologies (assessment 2)
  • Game engine project: a final 3D visualisation project (assessment 3)