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Evaluation of landscape architecture 3D modeling tools and practices in Finland

January 15, 2021
In Finland clients are increasingly demanding 3D models that are to be used in “combination models” during construction of infrastructure projects, which has led to a need for landscape architecture offices to acquire 3D modeling software. Especially older landscape architects do not have personal experience in doing 3D modeling, which is why the 3D modeling process, including the benefits and limitations, is not fully understood.
Some research has already been done of the benefits and limitations of landscape architecture, but more research is needed on how these benefits and deficits apply to different 3D modeling software. This information can be useful for landscape architects and offices, who are beginning to include 3D modeling in their work process, and are wondering which software would best suit their needs.
The goal of this Master’s thesis is to investigate how 3D modeling is done in Finland and how 3D modeling could better be used to benefit the needs of landscape architecture. In order to develop 3D modeling, the deficits of 3D modeling must first be found. After this it can be considered how to improve these deficits. The benefits of 3D modeling are also studied, because another way to develop 3D modeling is to increase the benefits.
In order to find the currently known benefits and deficits, a literature review is conducted. The literature review outlines the knowledge gap, which helps to narrow down the research questions. Answers to the research questions are researched with a survey conducted with Finnish landscape architects and comparing 5 commonly used 3D modeling software in Finland in practice.
In the conclusions, the differences between these 5 softwares are outlined, and it is determined that the differences between 3D modeling software are largely explained by the target audience for that software. The development of 3D modeling requires software developers to acknowledge landscape architecture as one of the target audiences, for which plug-ins are one possible short-term solution. In the long term, productivity would be increased by a BIM software developed for landscape architecture that could produce construction drawings and make better use of initial data.
As the only university to teach landscape architecture in Finland, Aalto University has a high influence on which software future landscape architects use, so the university should check periodically if 3D modeling software that are best suited for landscape architecture are installed and included in teaching. Newly graduated landscape architects take their skills with them to offices and can suggest new software and work methods.

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Elina Haapaluoma

Thesis Supervisor

Pia Fricker

Thesis Advisor(s)

Pia Fricker

Year of Publication



landscape architecture, 3D modelling, software, tools, features, comparison, survey, literature