Thursday, 30 September 2021 / Published in Blog

What Tech Companies Can Bring to the Table for Reconciliation Efforts

A protester marches among 10,000 demanding justice for the 215 children found in unmarked graves at the form Kamloops Residential School in B.C. in June, 2021. (Photo credit: michael_swan/ Flickr)

If you’re wondering why your social media feeds are looking more orange, that’s because Sept. 30 marks National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. This year is the first instance of the statutory holiday that asks residents to reflect on the mistreatment of Indigenous people by harmful government policies, like the residential school system, and the intergenerational trauma felt today within communities.

Canadian residents can show their support by wearing orange clothing to mourn residential school children and support survivors, participate in local, grassroot commemorative events, and by reading up on the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commision report and its calls to action.

For technology companies supporting Indigenous communities often means providing technical solutions that make the reconciliation process more efficient and effective.


Canadians recoiled in horror earlier this summer as Indigenous communities found hundreds of unmarked graves on the property of former residential schools. The grim discoveries across British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba confirmed what survivors have long known, but it also thrust the ground-penetrating radar (GPR) technology into the news cycle.

“It is important to note that remote sensing, such as GPR, is not necessary to know that children went missing in the Indian residential school context,” said Sarah Beaulieu, an archaeologist with the University of Fraser Valley, at a July press conference.

“This fact has been recognized by Indigenous communities for generations… Remote sensing such as GPR merely provides some spatial specificity to this truth.”

GPR works by sending energy waves into the ground via a transmitter. When these waves hit a buried object, they reflect, refract and bounce back, sending back information to a receiver. GPR system software then translates that info into an image.

Ending boil-water advisories in Indigenous communities: 

Safe and clean drinking water remains unreachable for 32 communities in Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, as of September 2021. There are 45 long-term drinking water advisories spread among the three provinces, meaning affected residents have been without a functioning water system for over a year.

Infrastructure plays a major role in fixing this problem so it shouldn’t be a surprise that Ottawa shifted its focus to operations and maintenance in May as part of its long-term plan to prevent drinking-water advisories. As of March of 2021, the federal government has doled out $2.05 billion of targeted funds to support water and wastewater-related infrastructure projects, representing a ripe opportunity for 3D visualization companies to help plan, execute and contribute to ending a long-standing issue.

“Our commitment to improving access to clean water on reserves does not come with a deadline, nor is it limited to our work to lift all long-term drinking water advisories. First Nations communities have now received the first installment of increased operations and maintenance funding,” said Marc Miller, minister of Indigenous services in a release. “These improvements will provide First Nations a predictable funding stream, which will assist them in making strategic plans for their communities.”

Keeping languages alive: 

Among the harmful practices of the residential school system was punishing for students speaking their native language, leading to the loss of generational knowledge to be passed down. Statistics Canada shows a decline in the Indigenous population able to speak a native language. Just over 22 per cent of the demographic could speak an Aboriginal language in 2006. A decade later, that figure had dropped to 16 per cent. That said, the overall number of people able to speak an Aboriginal language, either as a second language or their mother tongue, went up from 1996 to 2016 by about 8 per cent.

Partnerships with Indigenous communities and app developers are working to perverse and revitalize languages. KOBE Learn, for example, is an app developed in conjunction with the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Board of Education in Northern Ontario along with language teachers, elders and community members. The app features 500 words and phrases in Oji-Cree, Cree, and Ojibwe, broken down by various categories such as food and beverages, animals, clothing, and survival phrases. The app pairs the words with pictures, along with audio and syllabic breakdowns.


“We’re losing our language at a fast pace. Even myself, since I moved away from the communities in 2008, I’ve noticed a decline in how much I speak,” said Robert Kakegamic, education coordinator for Keewaytinook Okimaknak Secondary School Service in January. “If I’m losing it at that pace, then our kids coming out of the communities for high school for four to five years, they’re going to lose it as well.”

What initiatives to support indigenous communities come to mind, within your industry? How do you think technology can play a bigger part in the reconciliation process? Let us know in the comments.

If you are an Indian Residential School survivor, or have been affected by the residential school system and need help, you can contact the 24-hour Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419

Friday, 16 July 2021 / Published in Blog

Webinar: Transfomring Your Industry With Interactive 3d Environments

In case you missed it, here’s a full recording of our webinar!

Thank you to all those who attended. So many great questions were asked, and we enjoyed answering all of them.

If you’re looking for a short and sweet introduction to everything about interactive 3D environments, digital twins, data, use cases in real estate sales & marketing, urban planning, property development, economic development, tourism, training & education, asset management, smart buildings & cities, and some of the technology used by the 3D CityScapes team, this is the webinar for you!

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us or simply leave a like and comment below.

00:13 – Introduction by Leili Sinaei
00:35 – webinar agenda
01:00 – about 3D CityScapes Inc.
01:57 – Interactive 3D environments w/ Nader Qawasmi
03:15 – intro to digital twins
05:12 – how we build our environments
06:22 – use cases
06:45 – real estate sales & marketing
09:05 – development & urban planning
11:25 – economic development & tourism
13:40 – training & education
15:00 – asset management
16:30 – smart buildings & cities
19:35 – 3D CityScapes value proposition
22:35 – Q&A

Wednesday, 03 March 2021 / Published in Blog

Xplor Prototype Preview

XPLOR is 3D CityScapes‘ (3DCS) first integrated platform that allows its users to access a variety of interactive applications currently in development at 3DCS.

Clients will be able to load and stream their designated licensed applications using unique login credentials–from anywhere in the world with internet connection.

XPLOR is a versatile tool for data  visualization, VR exploration, and digital marketing–designed for land developers, architects, urban planners, and sales teams–reducing sale cycles, approval times, project costs, and environmental footprint.

Contact us to claim your presence in the digital realm.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021 / Published in Blog

App Footage: Toronto Downtown

Take a sneak peek into the incredible 3D interactive environment in our visualization application.

This is the latest version of our Downtown Toronto 3D environment. We’ve taken the liberty of adding Oxford Properties Group’ The HUB and Ivanhoé Cambridge’s CIBC Square phase 2 tower to the skyline.

The best part? You can fully interact with the environment and showcase data for uses that include sales, leasing, urban planning, economic development, tourism, and construction.

Tuesday, 26 January 2021 / Published in Press

Seeing Is Believing

New cloud-based platform will allow buyers to virtually view homes before they are built


A person uses the 3D CityScapes app on a tablet.

Nowadays, it seems, all new homes and condos are bought pre-construction —based on information taken from brochures, floor plans and price lists.

If you are lucky, you may get to tour a model home or suite, but that is not always an option, and that’s the problem.

“To really understand the build environment, you have to visualize it,” says Raza Jafri, founder and CEO of 3D CityScapes, which is developing what it calls the “very first cloud based streaming platform” in the world to help builders and developers showcase their pre-construction homes in the most “photo-realistic and impactful way possible.”

Visualization takes it even further in that designers now are not only able to offer floor plans and model renderings, but show an entire house virtually and to factor in all the subtle parts of the home buying decision.

For example, it can show how a layout effects sunlight throughout the day, and what the views will look like from a 20th floor condo balcony night or day.

Visualization can also allow buyers to experience a variety of options or upgrades — to change out the materials of the property they are viewing (flooring, cabinets, counter top finishes, appliances, furniture) and to preview those changes in real-time.

This not only helps tremendously from a sales aspect, it leads to a more informed buying decision, says Jafri.

It also goes without saying that the pandemic has changed everything — it’s accelerated the development of visualization software lessening the need for buyers to visit a sales office in the first place.

Instead, this platform will allow “for hundreds and even thousands of viewers to interact with the applications they create,” it will be available 24/7 and allow property developers a chance to showcase their future property developer around the clock.

Already, the software is getting endorsements from several builders and developers who during a pandemic and subsequent shut downs have closed sales centres and made in-person visits more difficult.

“We found 3D CityScapes to have the highest-quality digital interactive environment applications available in the world, and are very excited to partner with them,” says Michael De Gasperis, president and CEO, Arista Homes and vice-president of the TACC Group of Companies. “Take it from somebody with decades of experience. This is the direction the industry is going.”

“It’s been a fantastic experience working with the team at 3D Cityscapes. From the moment I sat down with them I knew instantly that they had something incredibly unique and inventive that my team couldn’t pass up…a snapshot into the future of what’s to come in the world of real estate” says Pamela Ventresca, COO Pace Developments Inc .

Aside from being an unlimited sales and marketing tool, it plays a key role in the early stages of planning and design, says Ventresca. “Having access to our own projects on this level and in this magnitude allows us to plan, change, improve and basically clearly see what it is we’re building. It gives us the opportunity to make it better before it even exists, what’s better than that.”

Future versions of the software will build on its “cloud-based streaming” features — Jafri wants to make it easily accessible to anybody with a computer and a good Internet connection.

Among the firm’s more ambitious goals is to complete a 1-to-1 scale virtual 4K environment of Toronto, which would assist urban planners with design and help governments speed up the approval process.

“We are building a digital twin of the entire world,” says Jafri. “The implication is that we will provide an entirely new way of exploring and visualizing data.”

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Monday, 30 November 2020 / Published in Podcast

How Oculus Devices Collect Spatial Data To Create Slam Maps Localization and Mapping (SLAM) is the computational problem of constructing or updating a map of an unknown environment while simultaneously keeping track of an agent’s location within it.The Robert Scoble Podcast – w/Arthur Rasmusson – CTO, 3D CityScapesFull Episode:

Monday, 23 November 2020 / Published in Blog

3D CityScapes application preview

Take a sneak peek at some of the interactive elements within our application.

Tuesday, 27 October 2020 / Published in Podcast

How Facebook uses localized transcripts to serve you ads Zuckerberg might say to the senate committee that Facebook is not listening in on your conversations, but there are other ways to collect your data for advertising. The Robert Scoble Podcast – w/Arthur Rasmusson – CTO, 3D CityScapesFull Episode:

Monday, 26 October 2020 / Published in Blog

Digital twins of cities set to transform urban experiences

                On a typical workday, the team of programmers at  3D CityScapes is constructing hyper-realistic interactive digital twins of cities.

Attention to detail is at the centre of the team’s method, whether it is to add accurate textures, input building designs, or to create interior and street-level exploration modules equipped with virtual avatars. 

                The company’s vision is to build interactive city environments in the cloud to answer the demand for building smarter, sustainable, design-focused cities around the world.

Their current focus is to revitalize urban planning processes, and optimize real estate sales strategies. 

                “If Canada wants to be on the global stage, we need to design smart cities where people can have healthy, balanced lifestyles. So much of that has to do with having an infrastructure that makes sense,” says Raza Jafri, President, and Chief Executive Officer of 3D CityScapes. “Our technology is in the centre of that process.”

                According to Jafri, he always knew the key to constructing great cities, buildings, and making smart infrastructure improvements is in accurately communicating, and previewing these ideas through interactive 3D visualization. 

When the 3D CityScapes team went to showcase their technology at Toronto City Hall to compete for the pre-seed funding, his belief in the technology was affirmed in a significant way.

                “The crowd erupted,” says Jafri, describing the moment the audience saw the technology for the first time on screen. Toronto Mayor John Tory was among the many present, who came up to him personally to express excitement and offer words of encouragement. “We were chosen to receive the pre-seed funding out of ten start-ups who pitched their ideas centre stage at Toronto City Hall. It was becoming more and more of a shared vision to integrate sustainability and digital transformation, and it meant a lot to me.”  


James Borst (left), Raza Jafri (Centre), Toronto Mayor John Tory discuss 3D CityScapes’ visualization technology.

                James Borst, co-founder, and chief operating officer of 3D CityScapes, says the software’s application in real estate and urban planning is only the beginning of a whole new wave of possibilities.  

                “What we’re creating here will effectively transform the way people live,” says Borst. “For starters, imagine not only being able to walk around and check out the interior of your condo unit, in a building that hasn’t been built yet – with VR goggles – but also being able to see and learn about the neighbourhood, experience how the sun will rise and set from your future balcony. Now apply that thought to retail, tourism, construction, academia, conferences, transit …”

                With the COVID-19 pandemic, Borst says the demand for this type of software has only grown, as they hired several new members to their growing team in the midst of the crisis.

                “The global pandemic showed us that the digital future we are helping build is not just for the sake of convenience, but it is a necessary progression in the way we, as human beings, evolve with technology,” says Borst.

                Coming up on the horizon, Borst has his eyes set on building an internal neural net platform.

                “Our goal is to teach the neural network the processes that go into building a virtual interactive environment framework,” says Borst. “The more information we feed the AI, the more automated and accurate the models will be, and it will save us up to 60% of our time.”

“What we’re creating here will effectively transform the way people live”

Raza Jafri (right), President/CEO, speaks to investors Michael Degasperis (left), Geoffrey Belsher (centre) Raza Jafri (right), President/CEO of 3D CityScapes, speaks to investors Michael Degasperis (left), Geoffrey Belsher (centre)

                The journey to creating a better world began when Borst and Jafri met for the first time at a technology conference in New York City, in November 2018. In less than an hour of meeting each other, Jafri knew there was an alignment in both of their visions that had the potential to materialize in a big way.

                “Something clicked immediately … we talked about how we could build entire cities using this technology we primarily used for building interior renderings,” says Raza. “It sounded crazy at the time, talking about wanting to have space where you can see all the future projects of that city.”

                Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Jafri grew up witnessing North America’s crumbling infrastructure. This early experience eventually became a potent catalyst for his vision and a foundation for his drive to help build better cities. Now, his goal is to transform cities into an environment that fosters a healthy, balanced, fulfilling lifestyle for its citizens.

                “From seeing the De la Concorde overpass collapse, spending countless hours commuting through gridlocks, zoning that didn’t make sense, to losing a friend in a construction accident, I saw a big demand for efficiency and innovation in the construction and urban planning processes,” says Jafri. “The more I looked into it, I realized this wasn’t an issue confined to North America, but one that needs to be resolved on a global scale. ” 

                Borst, who grew up in Coulee City, Washington, a small town of 550, says his passion for innovation stems from his involvement in charity work of 18 years. 

                “In business and in life, everything we do has to have a positive effect so that it reflects the intention behind the formation of this company,” says James.   

                 With an unprecedented number of global construction proposals awaiting their turn to be reviewed, Borst muses about the potential impact the company’s product will have across various industries. 

                “Imagine if you could actually walk the stakeholders through the proposed project in a 3D interactive environment,” says Borst. “Showing them a vision of what the world is going to look like in 10 years, as opposed to just trying to talk to people and showing 2D drawings on paper … the difference is huge.”

Tuesday, 20 October 2020 / Published in Podcast

james borst on blumex podcast

james borst

James Borst brings with him over 20 years of experience in marketing, software development and sales, graphic design, website development, and management.

He grew up in a small city in Washington State and from an early age was fascinated and intrigued by computers and software. At the age of 12 years old he began programming and continued developing his software and computer skills all the way through college.

Today he is the co-founder and COO of 3D City Scapes, which creates cutting edge 3D interactive software for showcasing new property developments and whole cities. James is also a music composer and musician and has been part of a charitable organization since 2002 which he is very active in.

people are more visual than they are data driven. 75% of the people are NOT spatial and find it difficult to visualize a 2d plan of a condo/home.