3D Atlas of Ann Arbor, 2nd Edition*
Professor of Mathematical
Geography and Population-Environment
of Natural Resources and Environment, The University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor
Please set screen to highest
resolution and use a high speed internet connection.
Please download the most recent free version of Google Earth®. Make sure the "Terrain"
box in Google Earth® is checked.
The animated scene in Figure 1 offered city officials and others an
oppotunity to see where contours of the landscape are in relation to
existing buildings in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan. Those who
were ambitious could download either Cosmo® or Cortona® virtual reality
players and then drive around inside the
scene to consider how water might fill the contours the Allen Creek
drainage basin in an emergency situation. This scene was first
published in Solstice, 2005. It is composed of a sequence of
three linked virtual reality files. The first one, of a peaceful
downtown set to a backdrop of music from Beethoven's (Sixth) Pastorale
symphony, shows quite a bit of detail; subsequent linked files of the
emergency do not. What none of these shows, however, is
- the full
extent of the drainage basin and the relation of these waters to the
- the relation
of these buildings to others in Ann Arbor
- the relation
of buildings, streets, waters, or anything else in the scene to the
surface of the Earth.
of screen shots taken from three linked virtual reality models,
To get the full experience, enter the scene and
Google Earth® software offers a
straighforward manner for incorporating the full floodplain, for
viewing all digitized buildings in relation to aerials of the entire
city, and for placing everything on the surface of the Earth. As
one moves around, the pointer offers a read-out not only of position,
in terms of latitude and longitude but also of elevation (in units
chosen by the reader). The concepts learned* in the creation of
the files of Figure 1 (using a combination of ArcView® GIS software from ESRI® together with 3D
Studio Max® from AutoDesk® coupled with simple
editing of .vrml files in a text editor) aided greatly in the leap to
their direct placement in Google Earth® .
DOWNLOAD THE FILES BELOW--DRIVE AROUND IN THEM...
DOWNLOAD THE SAME FILES FROM THE GOOGLE®
COVER ART SCREENSHOT APPEARS IN FIGURE 2, BELOW
2. Overview of buildings positioned against aerials on the
surface of the Earth. The "balloon" markers offer reference
points to a coordinate system so the driver through the virtual scene
does not get lost.
*The author wishes to thank Professor
Klaus-Peter Beier, the staff of the 3D Laboratory at Duderstadt Center
of The University of Michigan, and selected students in Engineering
477, for their continuing support of the 3D Atlas of Ann Arbor
project. For full details, please follow this
An Electronic Journal of Geography and Mathematics
, Volume XVII,
Institute of Mathematical Geography (IMaGe).
All rights reserved worldwide, by IMaGe and by the authors.
Please contact an appropriate party concerning citation of this