Announcement:  3D Atlas of Ann Arbor, 2nd Edition*

Sandra Lach Arlinghaus  Ph.D. 
Adjunct Professor of Mathematical Geography and Population-Environment Dynamics
School 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

Figure 1..  Animated sequence of screen shots taken from three linked virtual reality models, above.  To get the full experience, enter the scene and drive around!

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® .

Go directly to the recently published 3D Atlas of Ann Arbor, 2nd Edition via this link
Go to the eBooks section of the Institute of Mathematical Geography webpage




Figure 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 link.

Solstice:  An Electronic Journal of Geography and Mathematics, Volume XVII, Number 2
Institute of Mathematical Geography (IMaGe).
All rights reserved worldwide, by IMaGe and by the authors.
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