Thursday, August 12, 2010

Shady business (Venice 3D)

After the recent release of the Google Sketchup 3D buildings for the entire city of Venice, all kinds of possibilities are opening up for us at the Venice Project Center.  We could map our numerous GIS layers onto the 3D city, as Kyle has done with our fountains dataset, but we can also start to attach information to each building as the fascicolo del fabbricato has never been able to really do.
More interestingly (albeit possibly less usefully), we can perhaps exploit the underlying 3D models to produce three-dimensional applications that we could only dream of before.  Steve and I toyed around with the idea of visualizing building data by projecting infographics onto the physical 3D model of Boston and even went as far as proposing a 3D, head-tracking, single-person viewer of a virtual 3D model of Boston.  I wonder if these are now feasible in Venice.  It may be great fodder for a fall IQP.  I'll have Ben check into the actual programmatic possibilities.
During the recent heat wave in Venice, I found myself walking around the city while purposely hugging walls and traipsing only where there was a cooling shade.  Some campi, like S. Maria Formosa and S.Zanipolo are mostly shadeless, and difficult to bypass without stepping out into the scorching sun, but I somehow managed to weave myself a variety of paths - variable depending on the time of day and the corresponding sun angle.  It made me think that a mobile app to steer one on the shadiest route would be "really cool" (pun intended).  Since in Venice we call a glass of wine an ombra, this app could appropriately steer wary travelers and locals alike from shade to shade by mixing the 3D projection algorithms of ambient pixel and redfish and the Google 3D buildings, while providing the location of "watering holes" both for water fountains (a la Kyle) or for wine and cicheti at the local bacaro.  It would be an interesting and marginally useful novelty that may steer tourists off the beaten path and into some of the more authentic parts of Venice...
Maybe we can combine it all with a Venitude app that might also buzz and divert the traveler when near places of interest, like public art or a visitable church or museum, as we have proposed in our Divertimi project with the EU, which we are still waiting to hear about.
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