Three Dimensional Collaborative Geographic Information Systems (3DC/GIS) are in their infancy, Google Earth opened up the concept of three dimensions to the mainstream but issues with data copyright, the inability to effectively tag data to buildings and the asynchronous nature of the platform have limited developments.
Second Life however provides a synchronous platform with the ability to tie information, actions and rules to objects opening the possibility of a true multi-user geographical information system. It has been notoriously difficult to import 3D data into the Second Life but at CASA we have managed to import our Virtual London model of 3 million plus buildings into a scrolling map. The map is built from prims that ‘res’ our of a central point to build accurate models based on Ordnance Survey MasterMap with height data supplied by InfoTerra.
The movie embedded below illustrates a section of Canary Wharf, London building in real-time, note the movie represents work in progress:
Music by The Tartan Rascals
Each object can be tagged with data, coloured or replaced at will within the collaborative environment that is Second Life. In additional to this rule sets can be assigned to sub-objects allowing agent based models to be integrated into the system.
Our next step is to import a live GPS feed of a tagged member of CASA onto a scaled avatar on the map, the 3D buildings will in theory scroll and build as the person walks around London in real life.
We are also working on tagging information and textures to the facades, allowing perhaps for the first time a public 3DC/GIS to be feasible.
If you have Second Life installed you can visit us by clicking here – you will get a red arrow pointing skywards, simply fly up to our section of Second Nature island in association with the Nature Network.
You can download Second Life from here.
Thanks go to Joel at CASA for writing the code.