Cube Cities Blog

The Cube Cities Blog

22 December 2012

Information Transfer: Cube Formed Manhattan

The Cube Cities platform greatly increases the information transmission of the standard 3D buildings in Google Earth. But with Cube Cities we can go further by replacing those photo-textured 3D buildings with our own building models which we call Cube Forms. Below are two views of Midtown Manhattan's Bryant Park taken from exactly the same angle, the first showing Cube Cities data overtop of Google's 3D buildings and the second with those 3D buildings removed. It's like taking an X-ray of the skyline and revealing every buildings' floor area and structural core. At a glance, our capacity to communicate building information is increased with Cube Forms, but we must be careful not to become too amorphic. See the video below to experience an acoustic flight through a Cube Formed Manhattan.
Google Earth 3D buildings + Cube Cities data
Using Cube Cities data only, a city of Cube Forms
The video below shows a flight through a Manhattan made up entirely of Cube Forms, containing multicoloured windows that reflect light as the sun crawls accross the horizon. Turn up the volume.

Fullscreen link here.

14 December 2012

Cube Cities + Expedia = Visual Hotel Search

Guess how many hotel rooms in Manhattan look directly into Manhattan, literally?

Where there are hotel rooms available, Cube Cities has the best way of finding one that doesn't have a Five Star view of brick. Soon you'll be able to search major hotel sites (Expedia, on Cube Cities and see vacancy results blasted all over the 3D buildings in Google Earth. Why hasn't this been done before? Because Cube Cities is the first company to offer a vertical coding platform to dramatically improve consumer knowledge of hotel bookings.

Product screenshots:
The Millenium Hotel in Lower Manhattan's World Financial Center, Hotels by Cube Cities

New York's Park Central Hotel, Hotels by Cube Cities
Traditionally mapped hotel search results:

9 December 2012

New! Altus InSite Market Videos for December

Below are our new office market videos for Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. Produced by Altus InSite and Cube Cities, these videos showcase new office and retail developments that are under construction or pre-leasing. Current office and retail space availabilities are shown with blues indicating available space that is directly available from the landlord and greens indicating sublease availability.

High resolution, full screen, Toronto office market link

High resolution, full screen, Vancouver office market link

High resolution, full screen, Calgary office market link

3 December 2012

Cube Forms: Fully Interactive Building Information Models

It's wonderful to work with all the great 3D building models in Google Earth, but sometimes there are no 3D buildings for an area or we're working with future buildings that are currently pre-leasing or under construction. To solve this problem we created Cube Forms. Built from the same patent-pending, data processing techniques we use to visualize information on photorealistic models, Cube Forms are fully interactive building models, generated entirely from the Cube Cities spatial database.

Cube Forms illustrate marketing activity in future buildings
Complete with floors, setbacks, structural columns and a transparent glass effect, these colourful structures are perfect as immersive infographics on the window, floor or building level. It's the fastest and most effective way to orient floor plans and communicate marketing activity for new buildings. View the video below to see a demonstration of a Cube Forms building in Philadelphia.

Fullscreen and HD

29 November 2012

Retrofit Chicago's Commercial Buildings Initiative

This past June, Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the "Retrofit Chicago" program, a private effort to make 14 office and hotel buildings downtown Chicago more energy-efficient. The voluntary program is projected to cut the energy costs of all structures by $5 million a year and reduce energy consumption by 20%. The following buildings are participating:

  • The Wrigley Building, 400-410 North Michigan Avenue 
  • 515 North State Street, 515 North State Street
  • Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, 301 East North Water Street
  • NBC Tower, 454 North Columbus Drive
  • InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, 505 North Michigan Avenue
  • The Marquette Building, 140 South Dearborn Street
  • Hyatt Center, 71 South Wacker Drive
  • One Financial Place, 440 South LaSalle Street
  • Fifth Third Center, 222 South Riverside Plaza
  • The AT&T Building, 225 West Randolph Street
  • CNA Headquarters, 333 South Wabash Avenue
  • Santa Fe Building, 224 South Michigan Avenue
  • 333 North Michigan Avenue, 333 North Michigan Avenue
  • Franklin Center, 227 West Monroe Street & 222 West Adams Street

Click here to see a high resolution flight of the buildings.

More information on the program here.

25 November 2012

Cube Cities Direct Link: "View it in Cube Cities"

Use our new "View it in Cube Cities" button to link to buildings and available space on Cube Cities. Click the icon to open the Empire State Building.

Use this button to link to buildings and listings

To find the link for any listing, click here to locate the listing in Cube Cities, and then copy the URL after the listing has been selected. Below is an example of an office listing in Vancouver and the arrow indicates the URL that points to it. Cube Cities embeds the precise camera view for the listing in the URL so brokers and property managers can be sure their listings are viewed exactly as planned.

Jones Lang LaSalle (Josh Owen's) listing in Vancouver, viewed in Cube Cities

21 November 2012

The Coming Changes To Real Estate With Google Earth 7

Earlier this month Google released Google Earth 7 (beta) which also updated the latest version of the Google Earth web plugin. Two significant changes for how real estate is showcased in Google Earth have been revealed. The first is a change to how colours are displayed, due to a new 3D software rendering method that Google has introduced with version 7. The result is a gradient effect on polygon surfaces that adds a new brightness, especially to our visualizations at Cube Cities. See the differences in the screenshots of Chicago's skyline below.

New Colouring in Google Earth 7
Old Colouring in Google Earth 6
Secondly, Google has introduced their auto-generated, 3D city models to the desktop with Google Earth 7. This means that users will see entirely new cities of 3D building imagery when updating to the latest version, and will see the same 3D building content that is visible on Google Earth for iPad for cities with this new coverage. Currently the largest cities with this coverage are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Denver, but the list is growing. The video clip below shows transitions between the legacy building layer (consisting mainly of the 3D buildings from Google's 3D Warehouse that was recently sold to Trimble) and Google's new 3D imagery. The direction of travel through San Francisco is Northwest along the Market Street corridor toward the Ferry Building.

Transitions between Google Earth's legacy building layer and new 3D imagery

Access to both the legacy and new 3D buildings remains available through the Google Earth web plugin in cities that have coverage from both sources. However, beginning with Google Earth 7 on the desktop, users will by default be shown the new 3D imagery in cities where there is coverage. Google has emphasized that their new 3D imagery technology will improve and the coverage will continue to expand.

Click here to download Google Earth 7.

19 November 2012

Direct Links To Listings

Use this widget to show direct links to space in 3D on your webpage. 

Direct URL links to office and retail space listings are now available on Cube Cities. When clicking on a listing in the search results, the Address Field in the browser will automatically change to a direct URL for the listing. This makes it easier for users to share listings (especially on Twitter) and creates a new, unique page for every available space. See the example below and click here to see this new functionality in action.

8 November 2012

Available Space in Chicago's Landmark London Guarantee Building

Here's a great example of how Cube Cities visualizes available office space using the London Guarantee Building. This famous landmark built in 1923 and managed by MB Real Estate in Chicago's East Loop currently has 18 different available suites. Explore it's current availabilities on the Cube Cities website by searching Chicago here.

London Guarantee Building from the Chicago river

Available space as seen in Cube Cities

Click the eyeball icon on the tools menu to see the floor view from any available space. The London Guarantee Building has amazing views up the Magnificent Mile of the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower and the InterContinental Hotel.

View from the 17th floor of the London Guarantee Building

1 November 2012

Donald Trump's Office Windows

See Donald Trump's office on the 26th Floor of Trump Tower with this link to a Shared Grid. With Shared Grids, you can highlight any floor or window in any building, and then add comments and a URL to the selection. Begin by going to the Grids page and searching for a building. Once selected from the search list the building will load covered with square grids that you can turn on or off by clicking them. Make sure to sign in so you can save the work and exchange it privately or share it with the Cube Cities community.

To explore all the Grids that are shared on Cube Cities, click the city icons on the Grids page. You will find Shared Grids scattered throughout cities, marking them up with building, floor and window-specific information.

Central Park View from Donald Trump's Office Windows
Donald Trump's Office Windows Marked Up in Cube Cities Grids

29 October 2012

Portfolio Flights: U.S. Equities Realty

Once all the available space from a commercial property portfolio has been added to Cube Cities, it's easy to create a Flight. Showcase each building in the portfolio, showing off exactly where available space is located on each floor. Below is an example of a group of buildings in Chicago, including the Willis Tower, that are owned and operated by U.S. Equities Realty.

HD Video Link: U.S. Equities Realty: Six Chicago Buildings

24 October 2012

Add CRE Listings To Google Earth with the Cube Cities Excel Template

Download our new Microsoft Excel template and return it by email to have large numbers of listings automatically added to your user account on Cube Cities. This is the best way to add large numbers of listings very quickly.

Required fields necessary to automatically load listings:
-Building Name and Address
-Suite Name
-Listing Security (Public/Private)
-Floor Number
-Floor Type (Full or Partial)
-Square Feet
-Suite Usage (Office or Retail)
-Lease Type (Headlease or Sublease)
-Possession Date

After listings are loaded, users can set the correct camera position for each listing as well as set the correct location of the available space on the building floor. Users can also include a URL link to a PDF brochure.

Please include floorplan image files with the Excel file and have those also added automatically. Once loaded, listings will be available for inclusion in a Flight and other Cube Cities space marketing products.

26 September 2012

Altus InSite and Cube Cities: Commercial Real Estate Information Made Beautiful

Cube Cities has partnered with Altus Insite to produce high quality data visualizations of the major Canadian office markets. Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver can be seen in these Cube Views that show leasing information in existing buildings as well as leasing activity in buildings that are pre-leasing and under construction. Other Canadian cities will follow. To get access to more detailed 3D visualizations and for more information about this exciting new initiative, click here.

Note: Make sure to play these videos fullscreen and in 1080p HD to see finer detail.




Altus InSite & Cube Cities Information Page

20 September 2012

The Evolving Inventory of Virtual Commercial Real Estate (on iPad)

Google and Apple have now released their latest 3D map offerings for the iOS market. Both Google Earth and Apple Maps now provide competing auto-generated imagery for a number of major US cities. Apple's new Maps introduces a fresh user interface for navigating a 3D city and from a commercial real estate perspective, Apple provides higher quality building imagery than what is currently available with Google's auto-generated, mesh-based, 3D buildings. 

Below are examples of the difference in building imagery quality between Google Earth and Apple Maps on the new iPad. Note that Google's 3D buildings appear the same on the Android version of Google Earth as they do on iOS.

One America Plaza, San Diego:
Google Earth 
Apple Maps
One and Two International Place, Boston:
Google Earth
Apple Maps

Washington Mutual Tower, Seattle:
Google Earth
Apple Maps
Apple's Maps do not currently allow users to load any external data. This means that only content provided by Apple can be viewed on the map. Currently this is limited to location information provided by Yelp and vehicle traffic data. The latest version of Google Earth for iPad does allow users to load external data, enabling use with a platform like Cube Cities. Below is an example of how Cube Cities can visualize building data for an office property downtown San Diego, on iPad. 

Cube Cities + Google Earth
As Google and Apple add 3D city coverage to their mobile maps the fidelity of both services will likely improve. At present, Google Earth for iPad (using external data from Cube Cities) is a more effective tool for analyzing commercial real estate, however Apple's building imagery is generally higher quality and available in more cities. New York and Chicago are noticeably missing on Google Earth for iPad but are available in 3D with Apple Maps.

18 September 2012

The Skylines of Cube Cities

The Cube Cities technology platform allows for the rapid generation of city visualizations. This capability allows us to create amazing views of cities to illustrate urban density and building usage. In our cities with data coverage, we track existing structures, construction projects and proposed developments. All of these can be explored on our website with our Skylines page.
Lower Manhattan
Chicago's Loop
Downtown Toronto
Click here to visit our Skylines page to see these city views. Selecting any building will open a menu that links to the building's Grids page, showing where any available leases are located and allowing users to share building information.

12 September 2012

Creating and Sharing Flights with Cube Cities

Users who add available space to Cube Cities can create automatic tours of their space options called Flights. With Flights, users add their available spaces to a Flight, provide it with a name and description, set the correct play order and play the flight.

When played, the Flight will automatically fly to the city view, the market view and then the building view for every space option. The Flight will pause at every available space and display the floorplan and other images associated with the space.

Flights are created as unique URL links that users can share with anyone for free. Cube Cities also makes it easy for users to email and Tweet their Flights. To create a Flight and share space optons today, simply create a Cube Cities account and add any available office or retail space.

5 September 2012

Markup Building Windows in Google Earth with Grids + See the View from Any Grid

Cube Cities provides a free service called Grids. Grids allows anyone to select a building and mark it up with a red pattern to identify areas of interest on a building. Simply click the city icon on the Grids page and then select a building to markup.

If you're signed in you can save the Grids you select, add a note and share this information with anyone via email or Twitter. The special link created by the Grids page also stores the same view of the building, so you can highlight building areas at street level or choose to showcase an area that might be hidden from the first view of the building.

Users can even see the window view from any selected Grid, just select the eyeball icon and the view will automatically move to the exact view from that building location. 

31 August 2012

Answering the First Questions of Space Marketing

Where is the available space in the building? What area of the floor is it on? What direction does it look out? What is the vacancy of nearby buildings? These are the obvious questions when looking to lease commercial real estate. Cube Cities is providing answers with our website that allows tenants, brokers and landlords to manage and market office and retail space in three dimensions.

We've built an easy way for users to add traditional space marketing to our information platform. We created a secure website where users can manage all the normal information associated with space marketing such as floor plans, important dates and rates, custom descriptions, etc. Users can even set available space options as public or private, giving them control over who sees what.

What's unique with Cube Cities is how we give users the ability to point out exactly where space is located on a floor. To do this we leverage our database of over 10,000 buildings to match the geo-coordinates of available space with the building floors in Google Earth. Not only does this linkage give us the capability to visualize information entered by our users, it allows us to provide innovative features such as showing the view from the exact spot on the building!

It's fast and easy to add space availabilities to Cube Cities and see them instantly in 3D. Visit our homepage and sign up today. Interested in adding hundreds of available spaces throughout many buildings? We can do that too, just send us an email.