ArcGIS CityEngine

ArcGIS 360 VR now available on ArcGIS Online

Virtual Reality (VR) offers unprecedented possibilities for reviewing, analyzing, and comparing projects in planning, AEC (Architecture, Engineering & Construction) and GIS. In the past, the high cost of VR devices and rendering hardware, and the non-trivial setup and usage of VR equipment has kept wide-spread adoption of VR at moderate levels. Current low-cost devices such as the Oculus Quest lift these limitations: the devices run stand-alone and are ergonomically easy to use. Applications can be deployed using web technology, making them accessible to large groups of users.


An all-in-one solution for planners, architects and GIS professionals

ArcGIS 360 VR is Esri’s lightweight, all-in-one solution for creating and viewing 360-degree panoramic VR experiences. It allows urban planners, architects, and GIS professionals using CityEngine to author VR experiences consisting of computer-generated panoramic images, multiple viewpoints, and design scenarios. The experiences are shared to users on ArcGIS Online, and can be run in a web browser across a wide range of platforms.


Production-ready with CityEngine 2021.0

With the release of CityEngine 2021.0, ArcGIS 360 VR is now production-ready and available as a web application, based on the latest WebXR technology. Using the web application, users can view 360 VR experiences on all major VR devices, desktop and mobile platforms using the built-in browser. Other improvements of the 2021.0 update include higher panorama resolution and local preview of experiences in CityEngine to speed up the authoring workflow.

ArcGIS 360 VR runs on all major VR headsets, on mobile devices, and on desktop platforms.


Give it a whirl!

To try it out, head over to, where we provide three featured experiences which can be found on top of the gallery: the updated Redlands redevelopment plan, a new Pasadena redevelopment project, and a detailed architectural project with a number of outdoor / indoor viewpoints. Previously created 360 VR experiences will work in the web application without any changes required.

About the authors

Dr Stefan Arisona is a computer scientist and artist with interests in computer graphics, visualization, urban planning, architecture, game design and digital art. He is leads the XR team at the Esri R&D Center Zurich. Stefan graduated in electrical engineering at ETH Zurich, received his PhD from the University of Zurich, and was Swiss NSF fellow at UC Santa Barbara. As a founding principal investigator of ETH Zurich's Future Cities Laboratory, he resided in Singapore from 2010 - 2014.

Taisha holds degrees in Geomatic Engineering and Arts from the University of Melbourne, as well as an MBA from RWTH Aachen/University of St. Gallen focusing on technology and innovation. Taisha works as a Product Manager and 3D Technology Evangelist in the ESRI R&D Center in Zürich and is interested in all things related to technology, sustainability, art and the entertainment industry.


Next Article

The perfect layer effect for differentially-private data: Blur

Read this article