Last week, the Permanent European Conference on the Study of the Rural Landscape PECSRL conference 2016 took place in Innsbruck and Seefeld (Austria). It was my first time at PECSRL and I was impressed how well organised it was. It was also a very productive time because it had merged with the autumn meeting of a COST Action network I´m in. And last not least, I liked the basic PECSRL idea to host the first two days in an urban environment, then go on a field trip, and host the last two days out in the countryside.
The presentations stood out through their great variety but most topics were not directly related to the theme of this blog. Except the presentation by Salak, Boris & Brandenburg, Christiane: Mixed method design as a supportive tool for evaluation of interactive 3D approaches to enhance objectification in wind energy planning processes in Session 5: Renewable energies in mountain landscapes: conflicts and synergies.
As part of the Windnet project, the authors and their colleagues organised expert workshops, survey and interviews with 27 wind energy relevant organisations. One part of the project addressed the use of visualizations in the workshops and the research question was: Is there a difference between the following three different visualisation techniques?
Slideshow (low immersion)
Interactive 3D model in game engine using a PS3 controller
Virtual Reality w/ stereo images, running on a mobile phone
70 participants completed the visualization parcour and in summary gave the following feedback:
Very positive feedback regarding the visualizations across all groups
participants trust in the information 3D
participants navigate very oriented in digital spaces
participants visit emotional landscapes first in 3d
Peter has also made a short presentation at a recent estuarine and coastal modelling conference last week and you can watch a narrated version here: https://vimeo.com/171324965
Now, the University has created a position for someone to participate in and continue the work Peter has begun. This position is a fully funded assistantship focused on visualization (PhD). Rhode Island University are actively recruiting applicants.
Crytek, a company famous for its first person computer games with vast landscape areas in cutting edge visual quality, has launched the VR First Initiative. Objective of the initiative is to support universities around the globe in launching Virtual Reality (VR) labs, where the next generation of computer programmers and designers can practice.
I’ve been involved in a couple of visualisation labs at European and Canadian universities and it was always the biggest challenge to manage and update the hardware over time. When the first Oculus Rift came out, I already wondered whether we could replace resource intense facilities such as visualisation domes (360º projection domes) with rather affordable and easy to update VR glasses. It looks as if Crytek is implementing this approach on an interconnected global scale now and with their knowledge in visualisation, this will be a most interesting initiative to watch.
I am excited to present the following research paper in Landscape and Urban Planning because it summarizes the work my colleagues and I put into my favorite research project, the Kimberley Climate Adaptation Project KCAP. It was very rewarding working closely with the local community, visualizing different development scenarios and their interactions with climate change impacts. Great to see that about 70 recommendations from the original visioning process were adopted in various policy documents and a dozen actually implemented. The paper looks in more detail at one of the implemented mitigation measures, a flood retention area along the river that leads through Kimberley.
Olaf Schroth, Ellen Pond, Stephen R.J. Sheppard, Evaluating presentation formats of local climate change in community planning with regard to process and outcomes, Landscape and Urban Planning, Available online 1 May 2015, ISSN 0169-2046, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.03.011.
This study synthesizes two evaluations of a local climate change planning process in a rural town in British Columbia (Canada), which was supported through landscape visualizations. First, the impact of the visualizations, based on scientific environmental modeling and presented in three different presentation formats, verbal/visual presentation, posters and a virtual globe, was evaluated with regard to immediate impacts during the process. Second, the long-term impacts on decision-making and actual outcomes were evaluated in a retrospective evaluation 22 months after the end of the initial planning process. Two results are highlighted: according to the quantitative pre-/post-questionnaires, the visualizations contributed to increased awareness and understanding. Most importantly, the retrospective evaluation indicated that the process informed policy, operational and built changes in Kimberley, in which the landscape visualizations played a role. The post interviews with key decision-makers showed that they remembered most of the visualizations and some decision-makers were further using them, particularly the posters. The virtual globe seemed to be not a “sustainable” display format suitable for formal decision-making processes such as council meetings though. That may change with the further mainstreaming of visualization technologies or mobile devices. Until then, we recommend using display formats that can be re-used following a specific planning event such as an Open House, to ensure on-going support for effective decision-making over the longer-term.
• Visualizations in a climate change planning process were assessed as very helpful by local stakeholders and residents.
• Visualizations presented in a virtual globe facilitated understanding and increased awareness during an open house.
• 22 months later most decision-makers still remembered or used the visualizations.
• Visualizations embedded into process informed policy, operational and built changes.
• Although the virtual globe presentation format was effective during the process it was less so in the long term.
Very informative video by the Victorian eResearch Strategic Initiative (VeRSI) on their combination of ArcGIS with their scenario plugin and the 3D game engine SIEVE for visualization; all linked to a touchtable user interface.
The afternoon was dedicated to urban modeling, starting with a review of the latest literature by Peter Wonka (Arizona State University) and Daniel Aliaga (Purdue University). During the second part of the session, Pascal Mueller from Procedural/ESRI (CityEngine) presented issues encountered in practice and their new Urban Vision project together with the urban planning department of San Francisco and Urban Sim (Paul Waddell). The session closed with a visually very engaging case study by Michael Frederickson from Pixar, using CityEngine for virtual London in Cars 2.
The following YouTube video shows Redwood forests in California and asks questions on how climate change may impact their future habitats. The Save the Redwoods League calls viewers for participating in mapping Redwood stands and thereby, contributing to the research about climate change impact on this species.