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Visual Communication in Urban Planning and Urban Design
8. Virtual Urban Environments on the World Wide Web
Austin by Planet 9 Studios illustrates the use of VRML to represent urban form. Planet 9 is the biggest producer of 'virtual cities' on the WWW and all their models follow the same form. Simple VRML is used to create the urban layout and basic textures add detail. The use of textures, although enhancing the visualisation of urban form significantly increases the overall file size of the model.
Boston by Planet 9 Studios - details as above.
Bath produced by CASA at Bath University, funded by a grant J. Sainsbury plc to construct a three- dimensional computer model of Bath. The project was supported by Bath City Council and since its completion the model has been used by the city planners to test the visual impact of a number of proposed developments on the city. This is good example of the use of VRML to produce virtual models of cities.
Helsinki Helsinki Telephone Company project has developed the Helsinki Arena 2000- consortium project in collaboration with the City of Helsinki. The project aims to develop a Virtual Helsinki into the Cyberspace and the project has received a widespread support of business and public organisations. The project will culminate in the year 2000, a festive year for the City of Helsinki. The Current VRML model (662k) makes good use of viewpoints to create a virtual tour.
Las Vegas by Planet 9 Studios, is heavily texture dependent as is characteristic of models by Plannet 9.
New York by Planet 9 Studios, as above the model is heavily texture dependent, but the end result is a detailed representation.
New York by Sony Corporation, not as detailed as the Planet 9 model, but using Sony's Community Place Browser it allows the use of avatars. The use of avatars dramatically increases the depth of the representation by introducing social interaction.
Ottawa by Wizard Solutions The VRML model includes good use of viewpoints and embedded URL links to WWW pages. The VRML 2.0 version also features a 3D sound source and tour based viewpoints. Although no social aspect is included in the model, the use of embedded information and moving tour viewpoints illustrates a good representation of a basic virtual city.
Siena by Construct makes good use of textures to create the atmosphere of an Italian City. Construct have made imaginative use of hyperlinks and level of detail to create one of the few representations of urban form which creates a true sense of place.
Tubingen the primary result of the The Virtual Tübingen Project- Applying virtual reality technology to psychophysics at the Max Planck Institut. The model uses VRML based on basic input data consist of architectural drawings provided by the city administration. The project is developing techniques to simulate the urban form in VRML.
Toronto by Wizard Solutions, similar in development to the Ottawa model by Wizard solutions, good use of Viewpoints and embedded URL links to homepages.
Warsaw by M. Jacek Szamrej University of Warsaw, one of the first representations of urban form on the WWW. The model is basic, but is a good illustration of how streets can be modelled using VRML.
Graphics Multimedia Virtual Environments Visualisation Contents