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This Prezi provides an overview of the 3D Geo-DBLE

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The  Opportunities and Challenges of Digitalisation across the Natural and Built Environment

The report by Simon Carter: CROSSING THE THRESHOLD - a primer for sustainable digitalisation in real estate and cities - provides a straightforward and incisive overview of the opportunities and challenges that we face as new technologies converge to change every aspect of our lives.

It reinforces the findings of our 3D Qld Road Map Report Part A which identified $billions of benefits, but also existential risks arising from the use of emerging technologies within the built environment


The impacts are not simply within the 'property sector' but across society in general as the human species shifts from living in a purely physical world to one that seamlessly encompasses both the physical and the virtual.

World 1.0 was physical, analogue and

   powered by the light of the sun.

Over the last century we have been moving to

World 2.0, a seamless combination of:

  • Physical and Virtual

  • Analogue and Digital

  • Powered by Light and Electricity

VR Headset
From Torrens Title System to the Digital Built Environment:
Realising the Opportunities and Responding to the Challenges

Australia brought the Torrens Title System to the world, and now stands poised to create the first Digital Built Environment incorporating property titles (and other legal and contractual boundaries) as the legal spatial context for decision-making across all sectors of the economy.


VANZI has brought together a National Workgroup of 80+ people to develop the Governance Framework for the Digital Built Environment.  Its purpose is to promote privacy, security and trust in the Digital World.  Current Draft is here

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What is the Digital Built Environment (DBE)?

An authorised, federated, secure, certified 3D Data Set, that enables users to model the Natural and Built Environment - using any software, hardware and portal of their choice.


'Federated' simply means the DBE is made up of separate data sets each under the control of different owners and government agencies that can be securely integrated to form a complete 3D computer model of all of the modelled objects in their spatial context.


Ultimately, it will encompass models of every relevant object at all scales required for decision-making (both inside and outside, above and below ground), from Wide-area Topography, to Cityscape, Building, Plant Room, Piece of Equipment, to an individual Part

It will also include all geo-references to precisely locate each virtual object in its real-world context, as well as all 'rights boundaries' that link to all statutory, common law and contractual entitlements, together with all administrative and statistical boundaries.


Importantly, every model will need to be sectioned so that each part (and the data associated with it) can be accessed according to the rights boundaries that are embedded in it.

A new Governance Framework is being drafted that would provide new rights in the DBE, without detracting from any existing rights.

Guiding Principle

Under the proposed Governance Framework, as far as possible, the legal entitlements in each 'authorised' virtual property in the DBE will mirror those that apply to the real property that it represents.

While there will be countless virtual models, the objective is that DBE be the specific data set, 'authorised in law', for all property-related activities. At some point, Federal Legislation will likely be required to ensure common terms across all States and Territories.

In the meantime, we are working to develop a set of guidelines that can be adopted voluntarily on the basis of the benefits and protections afforded by the Governance Framework.

It will enable us to zoom from 'outer space', to a city, through its streets to a specific building and, if authorised, to enter it and see, not only all its internal spaces, but all its hidden features inside the walls and underground - as if x-rayed.


Importantly, it will also give access to all legal entitlements relating to the property...


All without searching through different organization's paper and electronic files.


Enabling better, faster planning, design & construction, (on some evidence up to 80% quicker) - so we do it once right in the Real World - providing potentially $billions in productivity savings.


With life-time operating and maintenance costs often double the construction cost, the total benefits are expected to be $billions more - generated through the on-going use of the model for facility management of every building, and to support emergency services, finance, insurance, real estate and other property-related services.

A key benefit is the ability to embed designer's copyright, manufacturer's warranty and authority certification, as well as fitment and operating videos within each virtual object - all just a mouse click away.


In time, 3D models will enable large building modules to be manufactured off-site, with 'augmented reality' laser guided assembly on-site.  As well, 3D models will guide machines now being developed to 'print' structures on-site using sand and new binding agents.  As techniques improve, greater flexibility will enhance designs to be more beautiful, functional and sustainable, while delivering huge time, cost and quality benefits.


With Dynamic 3D models we will be able to move to 'performance' based certification for resilience against earthquakes, fire and wind, as well as water penetration and thermal properties, light and sound, etc... allowing designers to confirm compliance on the fly.


Benefits will also include the use of DBE data as context for serious games, to simulate transport, energy and water flows, as well as the movement of people through our cities, to enhance productivity, livability and sustainability.


It is expected that the public data within the DBE (ie exterior views) should be made available without liability to third parties for 'value-add' location-based purposes - providing everyone with the same highest quality data.


Importantly, with everyone using the same base data, it means all users can help to continuously improve it, by feeding back discrepancies - regardless of which modelling software or access portal they use.


As 3D models become prevalent, internal location services for shopping centres, offices, factories and public buildings will add even more value.


Beyond its commercial and government benefits, DBE will enable every home owner to see their virtual house in its full spatial context, as well as the location of services, making it easier and cheaper to renovate.


In time, each owner will be able to use their own 3D model to test lighting and paint colours and then have painters quote off the model without having to visit your home, as well as to set out landscaping and see how it grows over the years in just a few minutes, and to trial decorations and furniture using 3D models from on-line retailers.


​​Ultimately, the DBE will include 3D models of all utilities and infrastructure, as well as government and commercial buildings and, in time, most private homes - with all spaces, services, structural elements, and fixtures and fittings at engineering scale.

Like the Real World, it will be built progressively - but much much faster.

In time, it is expected that 3D models will be required for all planning and approval purposes, at which point the approved model data would form part of the DBE.

Its development and operation will, in the main, be funded commercially.

Collectively, we now have the spatial and building modelling software, as well as the data collection, storage and communication technologies to deliver this vision.

In fact, some cities have already developed photo-realistic 3D 'surface' models down to 5cm scale, with more and more buildings also being designed at engineering scale using fully detailed 3D modelling software.

Individuals can even upload 2D photos of their home to a Cloud provider which will return a 3D model within hours ... for free.

With price performance improving at an exponential rate, all these technologies will only get better, cheaper and faster.

More and more properties are also being modeled in 3D for the purposes of sale, and asset and facility management.

It is realistic to expect that over the next 5-10 years, most government and commercial buildings will have their own 3D model.​​​



  1. How to securely store and integrate an ever growing number of differing data sets over the long term?

    Ulitmately, these will number in the  hundreds of millions, under the control of millions of different people: owners, lessees, property professionals and government personnel, etc. using many different software and hardware products and data formats.

    A critical requirement is that the data must be maintained over the lifetime of each structure that the data models, as well as historical data, scenarios and plans - as the property changes, as interests in it change, and as software and hardware and data formats change and/or cease to be supported.

  2. How to identify the data set to which the law applies for all property-related activities?

  3. How to authenticate and authorise users, having regard to their statutory and contractual rights of access in the Real World?

  4. How to 'lock' a specific 3D model against unauthorised change?

  5. How provide certainity that a specific 'locked' 3D model is representative of a specific object within specific parameters​?

  6. How to certify the design, manufacture and approval terms within the 'locked' models?

  7. How to provide simple mobile feedback systems under the control of owners and other authorised users - to ensure the DBE data is continually improved, as and when discrepancies are discovered in the field?

  8. How to ensure all DBE data remains subject only to sovereign (Australian) law?

  9. How to negotiate the minefield of freedom of information, privacy, copyright, licensing and liability issues to simplify access to and use of DBE Data across all jurisdictions?



VANZI is the 'not-for-profit' broker of the DBE, with all technical expertise provided by our collaborators.

VANZI has been working with stakeholders across the ‘property’ sector (including government and industry; the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professions; finance and insurance; asset and facility management, through to sale and decommission, as well as technology providers), to understand and communicate:-

  • the capabilities of the new technologies to deliver the DBE vision

  • the benefits of doing so

  • the risks inherent in ad hoc integration of 3D models and sensors connected to our power, water, transport and telecoms grids...

To develop a way forward.


VANZI has run numerous workshops, and held its inaugural conference in Sydney on 13-14 May, 2013.  The conference attracted some 135 speakers, delegates and sponsors from across the property sector, including:- owners, financiers and insurers; the AEC professions, research & academia, and all levels of government, as well as key technology providers who see value in taking a ‘national’ approach.


A similar conference was held on 15-16 September, 2014 with wide support from hundreds of participants.


In 2016, our CEO, Michael Haines, put together a team of domain experts, including ACIL Allen Consulting, that won the tender to write the Road Map for 3D Queensland (3DQld) based on wide consultation with stakeholders.

Michael was lead author of both the Part A Report (released by the 3D Qld Taskforce in April 2017), and the Part B Report (released in October 2018).  Part A identified $billions of benefits to the Queensland economy and Part B set out the Road Map to develop 3D Qld.


DBE is not 'Proprietary'

The DBE also has nothing to do with 'harmonizing existing laws. It is simply a shorthand description for a new piece of 'infrastructure' (like our telecoms networks):


 “the Authorised Federated Fully-integrated Secure 3D computer model of the natural and built environment (including inside and out of every structure and utility, above and below ground) on all scales required for decision making:(‘m’ for remote, ‘cm’ for cityscapes, ‘mm’ for buildings and ‘sub-0.1 mm’ for plant and equipment), together with 3D Cadastral and other legal and contractual boundaries that connect to all laws, regulations and contract terms relating to each property – with access based on the principle ‘rights in the virtual = rights in the physical’ ”.


It includes the requirement for every address, and administrative boundary of all Laws and Regulations (eg. water rights, planning and building codes, health and safety regulations, and environmental laws, etc) to be geo-refernced - enabling anyone to access the Rights, Responsibilities and Restrictions that pertain to any property (via the DBE), without the need to search.

Digital Built Environment Conference 201


This is being developed in consultation with a wide cross-section of stakeholders to help address the challenges faced in making DBE a reality.


It is the result of a growing collaboration across a new National Workgroup


It comprises ten Pillars:

  1. 3D Cadastral Model tied to Title that provides Identification and Authentication, with links to all Legal Entitlements relating to each and every property

  2. Ten Fundamental 'Spatial' Data Sets provided through Government

  3. 3D Manufacturers' Models of every building component, ultimately including dynamic attributes such a fire resistence, resistence to earthquake, thermal & sonic properties, etc., 'locked' against unauthorised change

  4. Processes to embed copyright, warranty and approving authorities certifications regarding design, manunfacture and approval within the 'locked' model that is itself certified to represent a specific object within specific parameters.

  5. 3D Building Information Modelling to detail every building & the processes to construct and manage it

  6. 3D Spatial Modelling of the natural and built environment, as the overall context for planning, design and location purposes

  7. A highly secure Data Bank network that holds all 'Authorised' Model data 'in perpetuity' on behalf of the community

  8. The Legal Framework that underpins the Data Bank network and provides certainty in Law regarding the Rights, Responsibilities and Restrictions applicable to the data held by the Data Banks

  9. Software and dynamic algorithms to mimic behaviour of vehicles, equipment and people, as well as power, communications, gas, water and other fluids, and air/weather, etc.

  10. Underpinning hardware, communications and mobile technologies, as well as satellite, aircarft, drone and vehicle remote sensing, such as: LIDAR and Ground Penetrating RADAR, as well as equipment sensors connected to our water, energy and transport grids for real-time monitoring

The Framework separates Data Storage and Access, from Data Generation and Data Modelling, with all elements operating on a 'commercial' basis.

It includes a network of Government and Commercial 'Data Banks' charged with holding DBE Data 'in perpetuity', regardless of changes in property ownership or technology. These would be networked into a secure web service that ties access to 'ownership' based on title in the property that the model represents - subject to the statutory and contractual rights of all other parties.


The Data Banks would be required to hold all data subject to a new uniform governance framework, ideally overseen by a single National Regulator (potentially in each country). Data could not be held offshore as that would put it at risk of being held subject to other nations laws.


Think of it like the traditional banking system, but instead of depositing and transacting data that represents your 'money', you will be able to deposit and transact data that represents your 'property'.


A key will be clearly defined and limited liability to third parties, with the focus on data correction systems across the network


Ultimately, we see the DBE interfacing with ePlanning and eConveyancing to provide a seamless workflow from start to end... so when you sell you property, you sell your rights of access to its DBE model too.

A Statement of Intention for the Governance Framework is here

Graphics covering the Key Elements and data flows are here

See this column for latest news



+61 418 121 561

The National Workgroup now comprises 90+ people.


​​A Governance Subgroup of 9 members was formed in September, 2018 to develop a draft of the Intent and Key Requirements of the Governance Framework and a Graphic of its main elements for consideration by the National Workgroup



If you would like to get involved please contact Michael Haines, CEO VANZI:

The National Workgroup was formed following a meeting on 26 Feb 2018, of 50 senior executives from across Australia (representing planning, surveying, engineering, architecture, costing, fabrication, construction, asset and facility management, real estate sales and marketing, and local government, together with a number of local and global technology providers).  They met in Melbourne for a day to begin development of the Governance Framework for the Digital Built Environment (DBE).  

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In 2016, a joint industry-government Taskforce issued a brief to write the Road Map for 3D Queensland (3D Qld), based in part on the VANZI/DBE vision.

Michael Haines (CEO VANZI) assembled the team of subject matter experts who were awarded the contract to write the Road Map.

The project involved interviewing a wide range of parties from across the property and infrastructure sectors, including utilities and local and state government. From the analysis of the data gathered, the economic benefit to be derived from a 3D Digital Cadastre and integrated Property Models was assessed by ACIL Allen Consulting to be in the order of billions of dollars to the Queensland economy alone. The study also exposed the existential cyber-risks arising from the integration of digital models, if no action is taken to address the risks.


The 3D Qld Part A report was released in April, 2017

During the 3D Qld project, several Federal and State Government representatives suggested that the development of the DBE framework would benefit from wide industry support. This observation became the catalyst for the meeting on 26 February 2018.

3D Qld Road Map Phase B Development was released in October, 2018.

Digital Built Environment (DBE) 2014 Conference


15-16 September, 2014 at Australian Technology Park, Sydney

Keynotes included:

Parliamentary Secretary of the Dept. of Communications

Chair of the UK Government Building Information Modelling Implementation Group and,

Deputy Director of the Singapore Land Authority speaking on
Singapore’s 3D City Model, and many others.

This followed a similar conference in 2013.

See Past Events

Areas of Interest

Use Cases and User Benefits


  • Legal Framework

  • Governance

  • Data Management

  • Interoperability

  • ​Security

  • Privacy

  • Liability

  • Supporting Technologies

Founding Members

Related Initiatives

Approved Videos

- Location & City Planning

- Realistic Simulations

- Visualizing Project Stages


If you have a video that demonstrates a key capability and would like to offer it for inclusion please email:


These Organizations see value in the DBE Framework and have expressed support for the process being undertaken to evaluate it as a way of meeting the many challenges faced in making DBE a reality:



- Dial Before You Dig


- RDA, Sydney





- Simulation Australia

- City of Melbourne

- Business and Innovation

- Arup


- Consult Australia


- CRC for Low Carbon Living

- FMClarity

- City West Water

- Planning Institute Australia

- Engineers Australia

- Australian Institute of Building

- Consulting Surveyors National


- Aurecon

- Bentley Systems

- Arcadis


- Westpac


- Aerometrex

- Minter Ellison

- Nextspace

- AAMGroup

- Hassell

- Global Visioneering

- Land Information NZ

- buildingSMART

- Fender Katsalidis

- Lovegrove Lawyers

- City of Brisbane

- Zuuse


- Everledger


- Next Address

- City of Port Phillip

- Ridley/Willow

- Spookfish

- Pointerra

- Trimble

- Investa

- Lendlease

- Stockland

- University of Melbourne

- Jacobs

- A G Coombes

- Aconex

- Work Healthy Australia

- ACIL Allen Consulting

- Minter Ellison

- v2i


Refer also:

Further Acknowledgements


In the course of the 3DQld study, it became clear that we needed to adopt a national approach to enable access, use and trade in the models to take place seamlessly across State borders.

A new National Workgroup has since been established. It comprises 80 people from every sector from planning through design, engineering, costing, finance, construction, asset & facility management, and insurance to sale and decommissioning, and including technology providers.

A draft Governance Framework is now in development which will establish a new set of rights in the Digital Built Environment (DBE).  These rights will not detract from any other rights.

Key to achieving this is a requirement for any DBE model to include all relevant boundaries in 3D. Not only the Cadastre, but all statutory, administrative, common law and contractual boundaries, including for example, leases.

Participation in the DBE will be voluntary, based on the benefits and protections it provides.

The Governance Framework is intended to protect privacy, maintain security, enhance trust, respect rights, simplify transactions and reduce time and cost to gather and share data.

Implementing it will likely require development of a Distributed Digital Rights Management Ledger.


150 years ago we began building new rail lines with different gauges and different regulators in each State, forestalling even today, the productivity gains that a fully integrated system could deliver. ​20 years ago, 2D Computer Aided Design (CAD) was also expected to deliver huge productivity gains within the design and construction sector... but did not, for the same reason: lack of formal integration across all stakeholders.

While work is continuing to rationalise multiple rail regulators and to integrate legacy CAD systems, it is a monumental task.  The same that we face in trying to integrate our 2D Spatial and Land Information data sets and systems.

We are now on the cusp of a new revolution: 3D modelling.

In terms of 'systems development' we are at the 'time before rail', or the 'time before CAD'.  As yet, there are few 3D legacy systems within government and few 3D data sets to worry about... and no laws or regulations directly governing the 'virtual world' - because there isn't one. 

But the situation is changing fast.

As 3D becomes 'the norm', new laws and regulations will need to be written to recognise that 'photo-realistic' 3D models integrated with each other and our power, water and transport networks (via sensors) create a whole new set of challenges for privacy, security and liability.  Few people can 'read' 2D plans... but viewing a 3D model is natural making it easier to use.


If we are to gain all the advantages of 3D while minimising the risks, we need to make sure now, that the legal framework to support it and the processes and protocols that give access to it are uniform across juridictions.

This is a task for government and industry.


Trying to integrate legacy systems and rationalise existing laws across jurisdictions is like continually improving the petrol engine - a worthwhile objective in the medium term.



3D offers the opportunity to start fresh - like designing an electric car... much easier than trying to mold old systems to new uses.  But it does require a willingness to act quickly - before 3D becomes embedded in the culture of each jurisdiction and organization, each in their own way.



While the DBE Framework is a key enabler,  the Land and Property Information, Spatial and Building modelling sectors each have their own challenges that require specific action. It is expected that the DBE will act as a focal point to integrate the separate initiatives - to create a functioning 3D world.


FrontierSI, buildingSMART Australasia, the Spatial Industries Business Association, Melbourne Uni 3D LPI and Queensland University of Technology, (all VANZI Collaborators) are among the leading organizations who are focussed on addressing their sector's unique challenges within a common Framework.

These include:

- data models for legal entitlements

- spatial and building modelling skill gaps

- new form of collaborative contracts

- new approach to risk management

- resistence to change

- lack of data standards

- lack of specific processes and protocols

- integration with legacy systems and data

- positioning, and

- feature extraction, etc.

We welcome other collaborators to address these and other challenges.

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