Ken Snyder is Executive Director of PlaceMatters
Here is a neat example of how visualization tools are helping improve the planning process for communities. It's an example we came across while researching tools for a chapter we are writing for the APA.
The City of Vail, Colorado offers an example of 3D visualization tools being used to improve the design review process. The city requires developers to submit a 3D model preferably a virtual model for design review. The virtual model is then placed in a 3D model, created by Winston Associates (www.winstonassociates.com), of the mountains, roads and ground plain to make it possible to explore the impacts of new buildings in the context of their surroundings. This technique was beneficial in getting an initially wary community behind a recent affordable housing project. Winston Associates worked with the developers to generate a 3-D model in 3ds max (formerly known as 3D Studio Max) and then placed the housing model into the site model. Using the model they demonstrated how the housing development would look from different vantage points such as the highway. In addition, the model proved to concerned neighbors that the development could not been seen from their homes. The project is currently under construction.
Wednesday, September 8, 2004 - 2:32pm PDT
So we've all seen those spray-painted marks on the street -- usually they have a line, arrow and say "USA". As a planner, I've always had this nagging sense that I should know what they are.
Some brilliant editor at Wired apparently decided that it was time to figure it all out. A one-page feature, Urban Markup Language
, (Brilliant play on words) in the September, 2004 issue of Wired Magazine offers nine images of the most common forms of the graffiti, along with descriptions of what they mean.
Wednesday, September 1, 2004 - 7:44am PDT
A report by California Performance Review Commission, recommends that state agencies "should take an inventory of software purchases and software renewals...and implement open-source alternatives where feasible." According to CNet
California joins numerous government bodies that have adopted or considered procurement policies that favor open-source software as more cost-effective and secure. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts cast its lot with open-source last year, as have government agencies in Britain, Korea and elsewhere.
Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 5:22pm PDT
Governing Magazine has a special report on "E-Governing" in their September, 2004 issue, Dealing in Data
This is certainly true,
"Governments have been trying to break down the silos of data that have been built up agency by agency, government by government."
But I wonder about this evaluation, which seems to be the foundation for most of the article:
"There is one basic prerequisite that has to be met before any data merging can take place. Government agencies have to take the information that lives on paper and convert it into digitized form. "
Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 4:31pm PDT
I have been struck lately by the progress of several projects using non-ESRI based GIS planning support systems and how often the decision to move away from ESRI has been that PC based ArcGIS cannot handle the large data sets for real-time scenario analysis.
I just saw a beta demonstration of a wildfire mitigation application developed by the University of Colorado's Planning department that uses a combination of open source GIS, SQL server, and Perl coding to help cities and counties look at alternative growth futures and how they impact fire mitigation.
Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 11:13am PDT
For those Tech Talk readers who have not yet heard about Project Gutenberg
, this is an amazing project that defines the future of the Internet.
Project Gutenberg is the first and largest single collection of free electronic books. They have published over 12,000 eBooks through the collective efforts of hundreds of volunteers. The Magna Carta
was the project's 10,000 e-book, published in October, 2003.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 7:50pm PDT
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) commissioned a study to estimate the efficiency losses resulting from inadequate interoperability among computer-aided design, engineering, and software systems in the U.S. capital facilities industry (In 2002, the nation set in place $374 billion in new construction on capital facilities (U.S. Census Bureau, 2004b)).
Now there's apparently a precise measure of the waste caused by fragmentation of IT systems.
Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 4:41pm PDT
An article in the Los Angeles Times takes a look at how local and national government agencies around the world are increasing adopting Open Source Software (OSS). (See: "Developing Nations See Linux as a Savior From Microsoft's Grip
" [Reg. reqd], Los Angeles Time, page A4, Aug 9th, 2004) . According to the article:
"Government-driven movements to shift to free or low-cost software ï¿½ fed by security, economic and ideological concerns -- threaten to dent Microsoft's ambitions. In fact, government officials the world over, from local authorities in Austria's capital to high-ranking national bureaucrats in India, are increasingly moving from proprietary software such as Microsoft's to open-source products."
Monday, August 9, 2004 - 11:03pm PDT
Washington, DC - in our nation's capital, blogging about a New York Times article about Los Angeles. Isn't technology wonderful?
The Times almost never gets LA right. They cover it like an alien planet, populated by strange, non-New Yorkers who also seem kinda hip (so what's up with that?). Usually, every NYT story about LA begins with the same implicit lead sentence that their coverage of Japan used to: "These freakin' people, you wouldn't believe what they're up to now."
And then comes this
Monday, August 9, 2004 - 9:13am PDT
The Planning and Regulatory Services Online project [PARSOL
], a local e-government initiative in the U.K. has developed a new XML schema for monitoring land use.
[The PARSOL schema] has been designed to provide a standard for planning application monitoring data (used to monitor land use against local and national plans and policies). This schema will be used for the exchange of data at a local, regional and national level...The information covers both residential (housing) and industrial (employment) information gathered from planning application, inspections and reviews.
Friday, August 6, 2004 - 8:51am PDT