Interactive Procedural Street Modeling

ACM Transaction on Graphics (Proceedings of  SIGGRAPH 2008)

Guoning Chen1, Gregory Esch1, Peter Wonka2, Pascal Mueller3 and Eugene Zhang1

1 Oregon State University

2 Arizona State University

3 Procedural Inc. / ETH Zurich

     This figure shows the three steps of our pipeline. The input water map is based on a stretch of the Benue River in Nigeria. Left: Starting from topographical water and park maps, the user designs a tensor field. Middle: The tensor field and further editing operations are used to generate a road network. Right: Three-dimensional geometry is created.


    This paper addresses the problem of interactively modeling large street networks. We introduce an intuitive and flexible modeling framework in which a user can create a street network from scratch or modify an existing street network. This is achieved through designing an underlying tensor field and editing the graph representing the street network. The framework is intuitive because it uses tensor fields to guide the generation of a street network. The framework is flexible because it allows the user to combine various global and local modeling operations such as brush strokes, smoothing, constraints, noise and rotation fields. Our results will show street networks and three-dimensional urban geometry of high visual quality.


Acrobat [pdf (5MB)]



    author    =  {Guoning Chen and Gregory Esch and Peter Wonka and Pascal Mueller and Eugene Zhang},
    title         =  {Interactive Procedural Street Modeling},
    journal    =  {ACM Trans. Graph.},
    year        =  {2008},
    volume   =  {27},
    number  =  {3},

    pages  =  {Article 103: 1-10},


  Divx (5 mins, ~49MB)


    Here are some street networks generated using our system.

    In our experiments, a city with reasonable complexity can be modeled within five minutes, but required an additional thirty to sixty minutes to fine tune the details and to experiment with different designs.


Downtown Portland, OR, USA               Downtown Taipei                    & nbsp;   Manhattan of NY, USA

Siggraph Presentation

Slides in pptx format

Slides in pdf format

Source code

The source code (and a short manual) of this project is available [here]. It was written using C++ and compiled under Visual Studio 2005 and later. The code has been as it was since the publication of the paper. I would be happy to help if you want to re-implement this work.


  • People

        Andreas Ulmer for generating the 3D geometry of the city scene

        William Brendel for valuable discussion

        Madhusudhanan Srinivasan for video production

        Patrick Neill for video production

  • Funding