UNSW researchers create Sydney CBD in 3D

Computer replica developed as prototype for urban planning and security

A screenshot from the 3D model of Sydney showing the Queen Victoria Building, Town Hall and other landmarks. Photo supplied by UNSW.

A screenshot from the 3D model of Sydney showing the Queen Victoria Building, Town Hall and other landmarks. Photo supplied by UNSW.

A 3D interactive replica of Sydney’s central business district (CBD) has been created by researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) for the purposes of emergency response planning.

The computer interface was developed by UNSW college of fine arts professor Richard Goodwin and faculty of built environment senior lecturer Russell Lowe. The 3D model combines gaming technology from Crysis with architectural modelling.

According to Goodwin, the technology will provide an “invaluable” central database for the mapping of Sydney. The researchers aim to make the interface open access with privacy settings that can be switched on and off by the user.

“Patterns of use, mobility, and security have changed rapidly since 9/11 and this has been recognised by civic authorities, dependent industries and academics, globally,” he said in a statement.

“Our research pulls together what has been a disparate soup of databases and software into one cohesive program that developers, planners and architects can access easily and inexpensively – this technology had the potential to act as the brain of the city.”

Goodwin added that by modelling the city in the virtual world, simulations of explosions, floods, emergencies and weather patterns can be modelled and analysed.

Sensor controlled avatars act as residents reacting to emergencies. Their responses are monitored, advancing the capability to map, test and analyse pedestrian movement in Sydney and other cities around the world.

According to Lowe, the software offers more comprehensive data than existing tracking devices such as CCTV or GPS.

“It’s no longer enough to look at graphs and spread sheets and count pedestrians,” he said. “Future approaches to planning and security are about being immersed in different points of view.”

The interface of Sydney’s CBD will be exhibited at Beijing Design Week in China during September 2013.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick Follow Techworld Australia on Twitter: @Techworld_AU

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