Here shows big data come alive in 3D

AUTHOR: Inavate

Mapping company Here has shown off its abilities to integrate big data with 3D visuals in a project dealing with smart cities. Using a 3D model of San Francisco, projectors make the city come alive with information that comes from maps, sensor information, historical data and cloud computer power. The German company explained that the 3D model was the easiest way of showing how it combines, manages and communicates this information.

The CNC-milled city model was built using our LiDAR-based maps, where vehicles similar to Google’s Street View cars drive through city streets and accurately map the geography using lasers. A single projector positioned above the model maps the visualisations onto the model. On Here’s blog, founding partner, Linda Stannieder, explained: “In the beginning we thought we could laser print it or have it digitally reproduced, but the data we got from Here was so good and detailed, that it was actually too much for the computers to handle. We had to radically simplify the data to create a model that worked for this purpose.”

Spatial branding agency Graft Brandlab was a partner in the project. The company’s client service director, Sebastian Sährig, said: “One of the challenges was that the buildings naturally have different heights, which affects the sharpness of the image. So we had to be extra careful about the placement of important information in the animation. The trickiest part though, was keeping distortion close to the edges low. For this purpose we developed a custom grid that was used as a basis for the animation.”

While the first installation was primarily developed for trade shows the company says they are working on a second model, potentially hinting at a future where 3D modelling might find its way into control room applications.