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What is CommunityViz®?

To read about the history of CommunityViz, click here.

If you are a planner, chances are you already know a little about CommunityViz, the popular GIS software for land-use planning. On this site you'll find all the latest information on features, upgrades, purchasing, and more. Please feel free to look around, and email or call us if you are not finding what you need.

If you are new to planning or to CommunityViz, read on for a brief introduction to this powerful software tool.

Why

All over the world, cities, towns and regions face complex yet important decisions about their future. As population increases, communities need to choose where and how to shape themselves. There are thousands of questions like these:

  • Where will or should houses, apartments and commercial buildings go?
  • What roads, schools, water and infrastructure will be needed in future?
  • Will tax revenue be enough to pay for services?
  • What will traffic be like, and can it be reduced?
  • What will happen to the natural environment?
  • What will become of the local way of life – the heart and soul of the community?
  • What can be done to improve the quality of life?

Fundamentally, communities need to decide how hundreds of economic, environmental and social considerations can be addressed and woven together to create vibrant places to live now and in the years to come.

While these decisions are important, they are also complex. Myriad factors are in play. Making wise, informed decisions requires combining science, data, and points of view from many fields at once – a task for which CommunityViz is designed.

Who

The people and organizations that use CommunityViz are diverse. They work in countries all over the world and they include:

  • State and local governments of all sizes
  • Regional planning and transportation agencies
  • Federal agencies
  • Professional firms and consultants
  • Universities and academic institutions
  • Non-profit organizations

Some of these people use CommunityViz hands-on every day; others simply see and interact with the rich set of multimedia outputs, reports, and visuals that CommunityViz users can create; still others are somewhere in between. CommunityViz is a flexible, customizable platform that can serve a wide variety of purposes.

How

CommunityViz is based on geographic information systems (GIS) software – computerized maps that can contain rich information about the physical world. In particular, CommunityViz plugs into ArcGIS-brand desktop software from Esri, the world's leading GIS platform and the place where most planning organizations store information about the places they work.

CommunityViz adds a large suite of extra functions that combine with ArcGIS to make a more specialized, powerful decision-making platform – tools for setting up alternative futures (scenarios) and analyzing their effects; tools for making interactive three-dimensional (3D) models of real places as they are now and as they could be in future; tools for explaining and communicating across the many groups of people who become involved in making decisions about the future of a place.

Some ways of using CommunityViz are very easy and anyone can do them; others are more sophisticated and require knowledge of GIS. Some people use CommunityViz themselves, and others hire certified CommunityViz professional consultants to help them apply it in particular settings.

Still Curious?

If you can, try viewing some of the video demos on this site to get a better idea of how CommunityViz works, or read some of the case studies. If you have specific questions, please feel free to email or call; we are always happy to talk about CommunityViz and how it may be useful to you or a place you know.