Links are provided to the complete set of virtual reality files created (about 3 gigabytes); due to server issues with the thousands of files involved, it may be that not all links will function all the time.  Please contact the first author if VR files are desired that do not come up; at the very least, files will be rotated in and out of server space in response to reader demand (initially, the most recent VR files are placed on the server).  All images, many derived from VR files, should appear all the time.

On June 7, 2004, the Downtown Residential Taskforce presented recommendations for increasing residential land use in the downtown to the City Council of the City of Ann Arbor.  Some of the policy statements in that document derived support from earlier three-dimensional analysis, using virtual reality models and derivative animations.  This article displays the complete chronological unfolding of the models behind a part of this document.  Broadly stated, it synthesizes theory and practice:  from the academic realm of model creation and the mathematical geography behind that activity, to the real-world arena of policy and decision makers.  The maps and models we make can influence the decisions that are made; conversely, the decisions we make can shape the maps and models that are built.  This interactive process between maps and decisions was in full force in this study.  Follow the links on the left, in the "Archive" section, to watch the historical elements of this process unfold.

SCREEN CAPTURE OF A VIRTUAL REALITY MODEL OF EXISTING DOWNTOWN ANN ARBOR.  BUILDING SHAPES ARE SIMPLY EXTRUDED FROM FOOTPRINTS DIGITIZED FROM AN AERIAL.

The authors wish to thank all members of the Downtown Residential Taskforce:  in addition to the two members noted above, Susan Pollay (Executive Director, Downtown Development Authority), Karen Hart (Planning Director, City of Ann Arbor), Jean Carlberg (City Council), Wendy Woods (City Council), Steve Thorp (Chair, Planning Commission), Frances Todoro (Mayor's Office), Robert Gillett, and William D. Kinley. Their thoughtful comments have helped, in various ways, to shape selected images (and are so noted when that influence was direct).  Brian Barrick and Peter Pollack, both of Pollack Designs, followed our work with interest, as did Ray Detter, DDA Citizens Advisory Committee (we thank Ray for his eagle eye on building inclusion/exclusion issues).  They also thank Merle Johnson of the City of Ann Arbor ITS Department and Chandra Hurd of the City of Ann Arbor Planning Department:  the former for his generosity in sharing aerials and maps from City of Ann Arbor files and the latter for sharing her expertise in analyzing city data and in checking selected files present on this site. Donald T. Uchman, Coordinator of Space Graphics, Space Information and Planning, Plant Extension--AEC, The University of Michigan, generously shared official University map files on locations and sizes of buildings. Finally, they thank an anonymous referee for his/her constructive comment.  Remaining errors are ours alone.

The first author wishes to thank, in addition, the ongoing advice and support associated with various projects related to this one from the 3D Laboratory of the Media Union of The University of Michigan, Prof. Peter Beier, Ph.D., Director.

Bibliography

Bibliography (from a "working" bibliography used in conjunction with grant application material generated for a proposal through TCAUP, UM)


Solstice:  An Electronic Journal of Geography and Mathematics, Institute of Mathematical Geography, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Volume XV, Number 1.
http://www.InstituteOfMathematicalGeography.org/