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Visualising Wellington’s future with 3D digital tools

Feb 5th, 2013 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

BIO-DOMES, e-bikes and algae farming are just some potential solutions to future urban problems and are on display at the ‘Big Data’ exhibit at the newly renovated National Library in Wellington.

Data visualisations and 3D digital models of Wellington city are also being showcased and Wellington City Council says it is using them to plan the city’s future.

One visualisation in the exhibit shows ‘fly-throughs’ of the past, present and future of Wellington.

Zhi Jian (David) Wong, an architectural student who worked on the visualisation of Wellington’s future, envisions organic bio-domes  that protect the city, regulate and create a micro-climate to store and grow food (see below).

“This is a possible solution to future problems due to climate change and food shortages arising from a globally urbanising population,” he says.

Phillipa Bowron, Head of Innovation at the council, says these visualisations are already proving invaluable to the council’s planners and geospatial team and hopes the public will make use of them.

She says the team can quickly and easily add a proposed new building into a model to see how it affects the environment or visualise how climate change might affect the CBD.

A solar radiation map created from LiDAR and 3D building models has been developed by the geospatial team so Wellingtonians can see how much sun their property receives.

“We are hoping this can encourage people to investigate solar panels or water heating as the information allows them to position any solar equipment to optimise the benefit from it,” says Ms Bowron.

She says that, during the next one to two years, the team plans to release a series of tools that let planners, property developers and residents access information easily.

“Our aim is to eventually make all this available to the public so they can use the same tools when planning a building or alteration in Wellington.”

LiDAR is a remote sensing technology that creates 3D models of an environment by emitting pulses of light and timing their reflections from a target.

This then creates a set of 3D coordinates and can be used to plan where to install solar panels, plant trees, construct new buildings and make thermal calculations for buildings.

Ms Bowron says the ability to create ‘fly-throughs’ of Wellington can help the council engage with people on city issues.

“I’m not a planner, but, if I were, I would be blown away by the opportunity to create a whole load of scenarios for a city and test them out in what is essentially a ‘gamified’ duplicate of our actual city.”

A video (see below) using LiDAR, shows a ‘fly-through’ of Thorndon.

The ‘Big Data’ exhibit runs till 30 April .

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