Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Geology and Geography

Committee Chair

Trevor M Harris

Committee Co-Chair

Greg Elmes

Committee Member

Jeremia Njeru


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have the ability to map, model, and analyze real world data and phenomena, and yet visibility and lighting conditions are rarely considered or researched in Geographic Information Science (GISci). Lighting technologies have been created and implemented to overcome the darkness of night and other issues of visibility, and in no place is that more evident than urban areas. Though not researched heavily in GIS, it is now possible to model and analyze lighting of the built environment using GIS, 3D modeling and rendering software. This thesis explores the night time urban lightscape, its spatial aspects and contribution to place as well as its incorporation into GIS and GISci. To capture lighting and its multi-dimensional properties, a 3D model was created of the built environment of Morgantown, WV, USA, including the West Virginia University (WVU) campuses and their exterior lighting. The model was completed through the coupling of ESRI's CityEngine and E-on software's LumenRT4 Geodesign plug-in. Lighting data was obtained through the WVU Department of Construction and Design in the form of a CAD map. After geo-referencing CAD-based exterior lighting data, a raster lighting analysis of WVU's Evansdale Campus was produced to identify under-lit areas. These areas were then redesigned using a lighting design tool and incorporated 3D modeling, GIS, and procedural rule-based modeling. An original workflow was designed consisting of ArcGIS, SketchUp, CityEngine, and LumenRT 4 Geodesign. Lighting scenarios were subsequently viewed and experienced through immersive technologies.