top of page

Espoo's 3D City Model Hackathon

From 9th till 11th October 2015 the Energizing Urban Ecosystems[1] organized at the “Stage” in Aalto Design Factory, the first 3D City Model Hackathon of the city of Espoo focusing on how 3D City Models can serve as an innovation platform for Smart Cities.

Short video presentation of the whole event by


9th - 11th October 2015, Espoo, Finland

Live comments on the screen: Facebook: 3D City Model Hackathon

The goal of the 3D City Model Hackathon was to create applications related to city planning, urban digitalization, living, traffic & transportation, energy and environment that utilizes the 3D City Model of Espoo and open data provided by the organizers. The open questions were:

How can the 3D City Model Serve as an Open Innovation Platform for Smart Cities?

How to Combine a 3D City Model with Real-time Energy, Traffic, or Mobile Phone Data?

How can 3D Gaming Technologies Utilize 3D City Models and Data from the Databases of the City?

How a 3D city model and Open Data are utilized to support University Campus and Otaniemi area restaurants, cafés, events, and facility management?

How can the Internet of Things Benefit from 3D City Model?

How to utilize Open Data and Open Interfaces In 3D City Models?

Fig. 1 The main stage of the event. Photo by Aibéo

The Hackathon offered a series of presentations from several companies, Institutions and Individuals who also mentored the participants during the three days. In-between, there was time for discussions, team building and to work. The participants had to apply for the hackathon via an online form and preference was given to software developers, designers and urban innovators with a desire to provide new services and applications to improve the living in the so strongly branded Smart Cities.

A series of APIs, software and 3D models were offered to the participants to hack upon. At the end, a total of 9 teams from over 70 participants came out with different proposals. These were offered several prizes for their work according to different categories.

The event was moderated by Pedro Aibéo who also belonged to the organizing team composed of himself, Jussi Lehtinen from Espoo City and Oskari Liukkonen from the company Sito.

The event was a collaboration between the Espoo City, Aalto University, Sito, Elisa, IBM, Slush, Futurice, Colossal Order, Unity, Tietoa, Fira, Virtual City Systems, AEC Hackathon Helsinki, Helsinki City, Gispo, Architectural Democracy, VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) and Kone

Fig. 2 The participant's tags. Photo by Viitanen Maria

Event's schedule

Friday, October 9th 16:00 Registration, snacks and coffee and Kick off 16:30 Welcoming Speeches 16:30 Tuula Antola, Director of Economic and Business Development, Espoo 16:40 Jarmo Suomisto, 3D City Model Project Manager, Helsinki 16:50 Satu Kankaala, Aalto University Campus & Real Estate 17:00 Speed networking and grouping 17:30 Company presentations 17:30 Futurice 17:40 Elisa 17:50 Fira 18:00 IBM 18:10 Kone 18:30 Grouping continues (if needed) 20:00 Dinner

Saturday, October 10th 09:00 Kick off with breakfast 09:30 Company presentations 09:30 Tietoa 09:40 Virtual City Systems 09:50 Pekka Sarkola, Gispo 10:00 Janne Porkka, VTT 12:00 Lunch 13:00 Company presentations 13:00 Sito – 3D City Models & Unity 13:10 Pedro Aibéo – Architectural Democracy 17:00 Snack 20:00 Dinner

Sunday, October 11th 09:00 Kick off with breakfast 12:00 Lunch 14:00 Presentations 16:00 Discussion & Awards 17:00 THE END


The organizing team’s criteria for the invited speakers was to have both back-end and user interface experts coming from private companies, research institutions and governance.

1st Speaker:

Tuula Antola

Director of Economic and Business Development

City of Espoo.

Fig. 3 Tuula Antola at the Hackatthon : Snapshot from the video streaming

”Please help provide us with some good ideas. If they will be good, maybe we will implement them. But if they will be something superb, definitely we will implement them”

2nd Speaker:

Jarmo Suomisto

3D City Model Project Manager

City of Helsinki

„People who are making 3D city models, 3D semantic models in Finland it’s such a small group, it’s like a family it’s like a thing we had in the 90s when we were doing GIS work or CAD (...) We have few people here in Finland so if we do it separately the same things it doesn’t work at all.”

3rd Speaker:

Satu Kankaala

Aalto University Campus & Real Estate


"The goal is for Otaniemi is to be energy self-sufficient"

4th Speaker:

Paul Houghton

Director, Wizardry and Development


„What we are talking about for openness is that businesses and the city and users can put their data together so that you have very low friction among them for adding a new service"

Fig. 4 Paul Houghton's presentation. Photo by Aibéo

5th Speaker:

Aimo Maanavilja & Jyri Kosonen


"About our Elisa Hackathon challenge for you: How to engage citizens to participate in city development?"

6th Speaker:

Mikael Långström


A construction company building in Jatkäsäri in August 2016. Mikael offers a set of data that might inspire some of the „Hackers“: „We have temperature data of all the individual apartments in that data model, that’s about it. We hope you can use this information somehow and let’s see what you guys come up with.“

7th Speaker:

Arto Ahde


Against the usual believe that big companies move slowly, IBM is putting up digital platforms such as the Bluemix: „What I am presenting today is the IBM Bluemix, which is the platform as a service which is the offering that we have, and it is more than that, it is more like a digital innovation platform.“

8th Speaker:

Jaakko Hauro


„How 3D city models, how they’ve been before and become open and usable for general public.“

9th Speaker:

Lucas van Walstijn

Virtual City Systems

"We create high performance web visualization of city models"

10th Speaker:

Pekka Sarkola


„You don’t want to limit your possibilities or your ways or ideas to go into the proprietary closed up source data, API’s Standards or whatever“

Fig. 5 Pekka Sarkola at the main stage. Photo by Viitanen Maria

11th Speaker:

Janne Porkka


"Less time for introduction, more discussion!"

12th Speaker:

Andrzej Skibiński


3D City Models & Unity

"Our user cases are, costum solutions, avatars, spatial engines"

13th Speaker:

Pedro Aibéo Architectural democracy

"Complexity, City, 3D Model, if we are to empower citizens to add information to it, we have to give away for them to understand it in a fast and easy way and to empower, to edit it, if they don’t understand it, they will never do it"

Fig. 6 Pedro Aibéo on the main stage. Snapshot of the live straming


Over 70 participants took part on the Hackathon. At the end we had 9 presentations of their joint work. These were given different prizes according to its scope.

Group 1

Group 1:


Fig. 7: Group 1. Photo by Viitanen Maria

Team members:

Taha Kachwala Full-stack developer

Thuy Nguyen UX, Front-end developer

Cillian Warfield Architectural concept

Janne Salo Architectural concept

Kiki Christaki Graphics designer

Maria Gaci Graphics designer

Summary: Estia group developed a data-driven adaptive lighting and way finding system that promotes space sharing for energy saving and also allows the building to communicate with people through lighting and multiple devices.

They started this Hackathon by thinking about how buildings communicate with people. How can all the data of buildings such as heating, electricity usage, water usage, and occupancy be effectively communicated to the people who are using the building.

The whole concept was to avoid buildings wh