Friday, August 6, 2010

Virtual Brisbane for neighborhood planning and other applications

Let's say that you're a builder and that you're going before your local city council to propose a new building. The city council members are obviously going to be concerned about what the building will look like in relation to other buildings in the area.

So you haul out a big picture, done in the finest colored pencils, showing what the building will look like.

Councilman Jones speaks up. "So what will it look like at night?"

Councilwoman Smith interjects. "Could we put some trees on the southeast corner?"

Now if you, Councilman Jones, and Councilwoman Smith happened to live in Brisbane, Australia, the council questions could be answered by use of a new tool.

AnyGeo has shared information about an effort launched by the Brisbane (Australia) City Council called Virtual Brisbane.

Virtual Brisbane is an interactive, computer-generated model of Brisbane’s CBD and inner-five kilometres. It is a spatially-accurate model and has been built from aerial laser scans and imagery to give a high-definition photo finish.

The 3D model will expand to cover the rest of the city.

The Virtual Brisbane model will help Brisbane City Council analyse proposed developments, improving the assessment process.

This video shows some examples of Virtual Brisbane in use, including ways to examine buildings by day or by night, or to modify the landscaping, or to make other changes.

Now the video doesn't show how easy, or how hard, it is to make the various changes. Hopefully day and night are pre-programmed, but how much effort does it take to add a few trees, or to remove a floor (do Australians say "storey"?) from a building.

But it does not that this will help planning decisions to be better communicated to citizens, so that after the council has gone over the plan, it can then show the virtualization to the citizens.

And the video briefly alludes to potential future applications:

Longer term, the model has potential uses for industry, educational institutions and government.

Another obvious use is tourism. Perhaps they could create a multi-player RPG in which people wander around Brisbane and get points for giving vegemite sandwiches to deserving people that they encounter. (Just don't play the flute while you do it.)

P.S. to Ffundercats fans - I found no evidence that Houston, Texas is doing anything similar to what Brisbane, Australia is doing, but Houston does have a facility (Peek a Baby) that not only offers 3-D ultrasounds of your baby-to-be, but also advertises 4-D ultrasounds. They offer several packages, including "The Ultimate Peek":

One 20-30+ min. 2D/3D/4D Ultrasound Session
One DVD of entire session set to music
4 Black & While photos
8 Color 3D photos
15-30 Images on CD with 2-3 video segments
Video files can be viewed on computer and sent to family via the Internet
Ultrasound Report
Gender Determination(if desired)

$225 ( Look on Home Page for Coupon )

However, I don't believe that Peek a Baby offers the ability to change the appearance of your baby. Thankfully.
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