Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Reconstructing Real Cities in Google Earth

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the i-think-the-fountain-should-go-here dept.

97

An anonymous reader writes "NewScientistTech has an article up on the way 3D models of real cities are being uploaded into Google Earth to help town planners and architects envisage their designs. Researchers at the University of Arkansas have developed a method for rapidly mapping building, which they are using to reconstruct the rapidly-expanding town of Fayetteville. The researchers say tools like Google Earth and Sketchup could eventually help ordinary citizens get more involved in urban development."

cancel ×

97 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

ordinary citizens get more involved in urban dev?! (3, Interesting)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155723)

The researchers say tools like Google Earth and Sketchup could eventually help ordinary citizens get more involved in urban development.
Trained urban planners often don't get a seat at the development table; what makes you think local governments would care about what ordinary laypeople think?

Re:ordinary citizens get more involved in urban de (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155771)

This explains the total lack of right turn lanes throughout my entire city!

Re:ordinary citizens get more involved in urban de (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 8 years ago | (#16159786)

Dude, you should come to my country. I don't know if our urban designers are just completely retarded or sadistic perverts.

Re:ordinary citizens get more involved in urban de (3, Interesting)

thoughtlover (83833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155837)

"Trained urban planners often don't get a seat at the development table; what makes you think local governments would care about what ordinary laypeople think?"

Most urban planners do get their wishes through the city planners/council, wether through political favors or just plain bribes. However, in our city, I do know of one person who is using SketchUp to design a massive upgrade to a main corridor _in_ our city. He was using this feature before it has received the press it's been getting as of late. All of his models were being seriously considered and using an ArchiCad plugin, they can take the SketchUp models and estimate how much the material cost will be.

What it really takes are open minds to commit to a better future. If pre-visualization from anyone with a good idea can give that good idea to another, politics aside, people can see improvements faster than ever.

You misspelled "urban planners"... (4, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155888)

Most urban planners do get their wishes through the city planners/council, wether through political favors or just plain bribes.
You misspelled "urban planners"; I believe the correct spelling is "well-heeled developers".

Re:You misspelled "urban planners"... (2, Interesting)

lthornto (104934) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156485)

Your not far off the mark. I have spent most of the last three years doing environmental analysis on a large project in downtown Ft. Worth called the "Trinity River Vision". http://www.trinityrivervision.org/ [trinityrivervision.org]

The people of Fort Worth were some of the last to know about this. Radio Shack, Pier One and Tarrant County College (among others) all had purchased land along a proposed waterfront before the study ever began.

All the planning for this took place behind closed doors in congressional offices and board rooms. This project is being funded mainly by federal funds in the name of flood protection. In actuallity more people will be at risk to flooding after this project than now.

The projects federal interest is $500 million, I bet it will be over a billion by the time it is done.

Interestingly enough congresswoman Kay Grangers son was hired by the Tarrant Regional Water District to oversee the construction of this project.

Re:You misspelled "urban planners"... (1)

pipingguy (566974) | about 8 years ago | (#16158947)

Interestingly enough congresswoman Kay Grangers son was hired by the Tarrant Regional Water District to oversee the construction of this project.

Wealthy and powerful people's kids need jobs too, you know.

Re:You misspelled "urban planners"... (1)

virgil_disgr4ce (909068) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156872)

Mod this up insightful, not just funny :-/

You misspelled "ulcer"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16157375)

"You misspelled "urban planners"; I believe the correct spelling is "well-heeled developers"."

Apparently you spelled "chronic cynicism" correctly.

Re:ordinary citizens get more involved in urban de (1)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156357)


I beg to differ. I'm an architect, I probably sit on a DRC meeting at least once a month. Most staff level planners are required to approve proposed designs prior to commission approval. Google earth has become one of the most revalutionary tools to date. Allowing simple arial evaluations of sites without having to leave the office. Most City GIS systems include arial photography mostly used for code enforcement. But from an architects stand point this is very usefull when presenting issues such as vertical relationships, shadowing and such.

I am curious when features liek this will reach more rural towns, and how much goolgle will allow us to intigrate there layout into 3d sfotware such as Vis, or Revit.

Forget "Google Earth"; we need "Slashdot Spell" (2, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156415)

simple arial evaluations ...an architects stand point...when features liek this...how much goolgle will allow us to intigrate there layout into 3d sfotware such as...
Forget "Google Earth"; we need "Slashdot Spell" more.

Re:ordinary citizens get more involved in urban de (1)

zxnos (813588) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157732)

google earth + google sketchup pro are good things. anything done in sketchup can be exported out to 3d modeling tools and cad - and visa versa really. i dont think that you ahve to dress up sketchup for typical presentations to the local drc/arc/whatevercommittee. i have put together good models and put them into google earth. when the background is grey masses and one detailed model, it gets lots of ooh and ahhs.

we need to start an architects spelling/grammar improvement fund.

lastly i wouldnt say lack of urban planners is the problem, but zoneing regulations that encourage bland buildings.. ...color cannot be over this or that value on munsell. only this/that material etc. many designers have their brains freeze at 200+ pages of regs and just follow the lists... it is unfortunate.

Re:ordinary citizens get more involved in urban de (1)

bigpat (158134) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156638)

Trained urban planners often don't get a seat at the development table; what makes you think local governments would care about what ordinary laypeople think?

I think the correct answer is that they won't care what they think. But they might care about what they can show them in a 3D or 2 dimensional model. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a 3d picture that you can "fly" through is at least worth a thousand and one words.

I can guess what one group's reaction will be: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16155724)

Allahu Akbar!

OR THIS: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16155933)

Re:OR THIS: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16156177)

Pope Benedict XVI "should be removed from his position immediately for encouraging war and fanning hostility between various faiths" and "making insulting remarks" against Islam
...
The "Pope, and all Infidels, should know that no Muslim, under any circumstances, can tolerate an insult to the Prophet (Muhammad).... If the West does not change its stance regarding Islam, it will face severe consequences," it said.
ROTFLMFAO!

cool (3, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155731)

NewScientistTech has an article up on the way 3D models of real cities are being uploaded into Google Earth to help town planners and architects envisage their designs.

That sounds like it would be good if you wanted to, say, judge building altitude and approach angle for flying a plan^^#$@%^^^^NOCARRIER

Re:cool (2, Interesting)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155793)

You're being a smartass, but I wouldn't mind plugging this into FlightGear [flightgear.org]

Re:cool (1)

Spunk (83964) | about 8 years ago | (#16163449)

Goggles [isoma.net] is a start on that idea.

Re:cool (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 8 years ago | (#16164371)

I've tried this under Linux(Mozilla & Firefox) and Windows(Mozilla & IE), and other than the "select city" dropdown, I've yet to see it do anything. I'm interested in the idea, but I don't see this as anything but a broken website. What am I missing?

This is cool. (0, Offtopic)

joerdie (816174) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155776)

I saw this at the last Star Trek convention (In vegas) they would let anyone sit and play at their booth. it was really fun... and the booth babes where hot!

I don't get it (2, Funny)

Asylumn (598576) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155850)

I don't get it, isn't this already called SimCity?

In Arkansas? (1)

lullabud (679893) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156607)

I doubt there are any commercial simulations of the metropolitan possibilities of Fayetteville Arkansas.

Re:In Arkansas? (1)

uglomera (138796) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156832)

Wohooooooooooo! Pig Sooieeeeee! :)

Re:In Arkansas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16158147)

You can't simulate Fayetteville in Sim City an easier than in Google Earth. I live here/there; I'm a community design student @ the University and I've tried (for kicks).
CAST and the Community Design Center (CDC) in the College of Architecture are doing some cool things involving planning -- this being one of them. The Northwest Area of Arkansas is a booming mini-metropolis. Ever heard of Wal-Mart? It's HQ is here and, consequently, everyone else wants a foothold in the area.

Also, I don't think there's an "h" in the WOOOOOO PIG SOOIEEEEEEEE! But whatever. GO HOGS!

Re:I don't get it (1)

adamgolding (871654) | about 8 years ago | (#16170565)

you mean you've never played SimEarth? It's the obvious comparison to Google Earth! ;-)

Maybe I am a Cynic... (2, Insightful)

corroncho (1003609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155867)

Even with these great tools (and believe me I myself love this),I think the underlying problems willnot change.

1. Just because we can doesn't mean we will.

We have had out feet and a telephone for quite a while now but ordinary citizens rarely make it to town council meetings let a lone make a call to voice their opinion.

and, 2. Even if they did, since when to the politicians ever really listening to their constituants.

Hope this post wasn't too much of a downer. Have a great day.
___________________________
Free iPods? Its legit [wired.com] . 5 of my friends got theirs. Get yours here! [freepay.com]

Re:Maybe I am a Cynic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16155911)

Also, problem 3:

A majority of the people who end up voting for something can still force their will on everyone else, regardless of whether they even correctly understood the consequences of what they propose.

or maybe (1, Flamebait)

parseexception (516727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155910)

The researchers say tools like Google Earth and Sketchup could eventually help ordinary citizens get more involved in urban development.
It could help ordinary suicide bombers get more involved with urban demolition

Re:or maybe (1)

famebait (450028) | about 8 years ago | (#16159869)

It could help ordinary suicide bombers get more involved with urban demolition

Yup, those big landmark building with lots of people inside that make so juicy targets are reeeeeally hard to find without Goole Earth.

Time travel? (3, Interesting)

timelorde (7880) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155914)

I've been hoping for awhile that Google Earth would add a scroll-wheel doohickey that would allow the user to scroll backwards and forwards in time, and that Google would stitch in old/new image data as needed.

Kinda like watching SimCity, but with real roads and buildings...

Re:Time travel? = Already there (3, Informative)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157492)

Really.

This slashgeo.org [slashgeo.org] story:
All Points Blog links [allpointsblog.com] to a ZDNet article where we learn the time tracking tool in Google Earth Pro will now be available in Google Earth Free [zdnet.co.uk] (and GE Plus, of course!). From the article: "The feature in which a slider is used to scroll through time [...] now features a simplified interface. [...] showing how scientists, who had tracked the movements of a whale shark using GPS, had then mapped the creature's path using the application. Business uses could include fleet tracking or mapping the movements of transport infrastructure according to Google. Jones also described how the new version would enable users to track all of the geostationary satellites orbiting the earth." Ed Parsons was first [edparsons.com] to mention this news item.

And yes, it does also work with SketchUp buildings. Meaning you can scroll through time and watch buildings evoluate. Some published KML demonstrate this.

Re:Time travel? (1)

Aditi.Tuteja (1004231) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157519)

Cool imagination :d I love to use google earth but the zoom has always felt awkward and I would hope Google Earth gets it right. Google's flexibility is impressive and they will prove it as always!! Time tavel is too much to ask for :P and the urban city development in such model must be helpful for people who are real town planners.. for others it is like playing a computer game.

Re:Time travel? (1)

cxbrx (737647) | about 8 years ago | (#16158052)

Since Burning Man [burningman.com] is a city that gets built and destroyed every year, Burning Man Earth [burningman.com] is hoping to be able to use overlays to show the art from different years and allow time travel. Burning Man Earth started as Virtual Playa [virtualplaya.org] , which consists of Microsoft Flight Simulator models of objects found at Burning Man. I converted them to Flight Gear [flightgear.org] and then uploaded them to Google Earth. Andrew Johnstone [adjohnstone.com] and others then redid many of the models in sketchup and uploaded them to Burning Man Earth [burningman.com]

Sims Earth? (1)

Salzorin (985348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155944)

.... I better be able to stick people alone in a 1ft. x 1ft. shack with fireworks in this game too.

Urban Planning By Ordinary Citizens? (2, Funny)

MonkeyCookie (657433) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155958)

I think ordinary citizens are too busy playing SimCity to get involved with this. This software won't have a chance against SimCity until they implement some decent disasters (Tornado, Nuclear Meltdown, Godzilla) that the user can unleash upon the city while laughing.

Urban planning is simply too boring otherwise!

Re:Urban Planning By Ordinary Citizens? (2, Insightful)

jbourj (954426) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156214)

Just think, someday, Google Earth may be comparable to WoW reconstructions. Imagine the possibilities: people could spend countless hours a day bettering their imaginary lives in an imaginary planet called 'earth' instead of interacting with this one. That'll be the day.

Re:Urban Planning By Ordinary Citizens? (1)

Dolly_Llama (267016) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156371)

...and to think they laughed at my suggestion of putting a Microwave power plant next to Jerry Falwell's headquarters.

Re:Urban Planning By Ordinary Citizens? (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156436)

This software won't have a chance against SimCity until they implement some decent disasters (Tornado, Nuclear Meltdown, Godzilla) that the user can unleash upon the city while laughing.

Triggering disasters manually from the menu was a bit... cheap. My favourite approach was always zoning high-density commercial areas right by the end of the main runway at the airport.

Skyscraper goes up... plane goes up... CRAAASSSSHHHH!...

"No, I'm not going to rezone. Why do you ask?"

Skyscraper gets rebuilt... plane goes up... CRAAASSSSHHHH!....

That, or gratuitously shooting down the SimCopter.

Re:Urban Planning By Ordinary Citizens? (1)

devstuff (1004268) | about 8 years ago | (#16159392)

With global warming we will be able to just record these live and upload them.

Contradictory statements.... (2, Insightful)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155969)

"...to help town planners and architects envisage their designs"

"...help ordinary citizens get more involved in urban development."

So which is it? Seems like they're just playing around and making grandoise statements. I can see how this might be one tool for planners and architects (as if the don't already do this sort of thing), but give me a break -- helping ordinary citizens get involved in urban development? I sure hope not. I'd rather have intelligent people propose good designs. Move along, nothing to see here.

Re:Contradictory statements.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16156010)

THis is sorta like VisualBasic for Architects...nifty tools to allow the amateurs and the clueless to think they know whet they are doing

Re:Contradictory statements.... (1)

trewornan (608722) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156606)

Some of the stuff I've seen produced by professional town planners and architects makes me wonder if the amateurs and the clueless could do any worse.

Contradictory Indeed.... (1)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156123)

I'd rather have intelligent people propose good designs
So would I. I don't know about where you live, but in my neck of the woods that rarely happens. What is more likely to happen is this:

1. Developer proposes project
2. Developer lines pockets of local authorities
3. Local authorities approve project
4. Developer builds project
5. $$ Profit!
6. Local authorities stick it to existing taxpayers to fund infrastructure upgrades that should have been paid for by developer

So yeah, getting ordinary citizens involved in the development process might be a good thing instead of just bending over for the developers. Problem is, the oridinary citizens are already to busy watching American Idol or whatever pap is on this week to ever do it.

Re:Contradictory Indeed.... (0, Offtopic)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156740)

A reasonable point, except...

Why should the infrastructure upgrades have been paid for by the developer (which really means, as you know, by the new homeowners via a bump in the price of their new houses)?

I take it you're talking about sewage, roads, electricity, new schools, et cetera. Thing is, these are all public resources. Everyone gets their indirect and in some cases direct benefit, not just the new homeowners, and everyone has a say in how they're used.

I mean, if you want only the new homeowners to pay for their water, new streets and traffic signals, schools, et cetera, then you logically ought to also give them permanent exclusive control of those resources. They should be able to gate off any road they build and charge non-residents a toll. If the highway has to be widened, they should have exclusive access to the new lanes. They should have exclusive rights to determine who gets into the new school, and what its curriculum is. The new fire company and new police officers should answer emergency calls only in the new development, et cetera.

No one really wants that, typically. The idea is that public resources are paid for by everybody, used by everybody, and controlled by everybody through the local government, and you don't even try to make sure costs and benefits are precisely equally distributed. You don't charge only the people who use a given intersection for the cost of the stoplight there, or only the people with kids in kindergarten for a new school roof. It's generally considered antisocial and self-defeating to Balkanize a town so that resources and responsibility are assigned to many different parties.

I've heard this kind of argument before, and what often underlies it is a rather shameful "pull up the ladder behind you" kind of attitude that doesn't want new neighbors to spoil the view, drive up property values (and taxes), or load up the schools. I find it unpleasant because it gives a totally unjustified advantage to whoever is first on the scene.

Maintenance vs. Initial Cost (2)

alexhmit01 (104757) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156896)

A developer gets recreational land rezoned as residential to put in a slew of houses (this happened down the street from me, albeit before I moved in). Tax base goes up, politicians get donations, everyone is excited... except the neighbors whose house is no longer down the street from a country club with a pool and instead has more houses... After a 5 year fight, the compromise is a rezone on half, and the other half becomes a park... everyone is somewhat happy (still having recreational features, although less than before, but now free), and developers make money, just not what they would if they could have used ALL the land. The new road is a non-issue, because they did it private so it could be gated... Now I am a supporter of property rights, but when the original neighborhood was built, the recreational use was part of "the deal" via zoning, so letting someone rezone in this case devalues everyone else, so they should get compensation, which the new park essentially is.

Maintaining those resources is now the city's burden, but it has the tax base to support it from the new houses, no problem. Now the city needs to run sewage, water, and other lines there... who should pay for that? Should the city pay for that to make the land more valuable for the developers, or should the developers pay for it as part of the rezone? Of course the costs get passed on to the buyers (although, in reality not entirely, i.e. if the person would pay $500k before, they aren't going to pay $525k for the same house just because the builder's costs went up)... in many ways, these costs get eaten by the developer, because they charge the owners whatever the market will pay, not cost + profit. Now, it is possible that these costs would make some development projects unprofitable as a result (increases costs cuts the supply curve raises prices and lowers quantities, not just increases prices).

I agree that once a part of the city, the new home owners are the same as everyone else, otherwise, it is pulling up the ladder. But ultimately, the "first citizens" had to pay for the roll-out of facilities through their taxes, and whenever someone buys that person's house, you implicitly paid for it because the value of the house in part includes those resources.

The anti-capitalist bent on Slashdot is a bit silly, as is the NIMBYism hidden in the anti-developer garbage. However, it's not clear to me that running sewage, water, electricity, and roads to a new location should be the city's responsibility, taxing existing tax-payers for services that they don't use doesn't seem right. I agree that once they move in they are equal, I'm just not sure why citizens 1-100 that already paid for the resources that they use (explicitly or implicitly) to pay for citizens 101-105 to move in seems fair, versus citizens 101-105 pay their startup costs...

Remember, you claim that developers pass it along to first owners (I don't agree that it is a 100% pass-through), in which case the owners are implicitly paying for it, same as all the other home owners. In fact, these new owners get a discount, because they only pay the marginal costs... if you argued that they should pay 5% of the existing sewage system's costs, I'd say you stepped over the line.

Now, this is all BS, because capital improvements are paid via bond issues, and therefore NOT paid by current tax payers, but future tax payers, including the new ones. However, I still think that marginal costs to the city should be paid for by the developers, and therefore cut into potential profits but not have the city subsidize developers.

Alex

Re:Maintenance vs. Initial Cost (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157923)

Well, first of all, I have to say I'm pretty troubled by the whole concept of "zoning." It definitely corrupts the concept of property rights. Basically, what the citizens were saying in your examples is: we won't pay for the price of that land, but through the force of the majority (i.e. the government), we're are going to tell other people who are willing to pay the costs of ownership what they can and can't do with the land.

I think this kind of sucks. Seems to me if you really want to make sure some piece of land is recreational, or wilderness, or whatever, then you the folks concerned should damn well put up the cash to buy the land and make sure it stays that way. This has been done. Boulder County, Colorado, passed a local sales tax umpty years ago, and they've used the money for 20-30 years to buy up land around the city and keep it wilderness. (They also put bike trails and stuff in.) This prevents development sprawl from Denver and keeps the "deal," as you put it, just the way it used to be forty years ago when the land was pristine and the mountains visible from everyone's front yard.

Well, fair enough. If citizens of a town want to tax themselves to pay the costs of ownership of some piece of land, so they can determine exactly how it's used, then I think that's fine. But I'm not so cool with using the mere power of government to force conditions on the use of the land without being willing to pay for the cost of ownership. That's asking for something for nothing. Garnering reward without being willing to shoulder the risks, just because you happen to be there first. To me, this is not much different, morals wise, from logging on public land: you come cut down all the trees, because you get there first, but you don't pay for the costs of ownership -- in this case, the costs of replanting and tending all the trees.

Now in terms of who pays for infrastructure: let's be clear on what we mean. If you mean telephone wires to each house, or sewers under the new development, or roads in the development itself, or really anything that is clearly wholly used by the new development only: hey, developers already do pay for that stuff, and it is passed on to the buyers. What we're talking about that the city has to pay for is stuff that's shared by everyone in town, like increased fire and police protection, improvements to city streets and highways demanded by the increased (or merely different) traffic patterns, or a new high schools to accomodate burgeoning enrollments.

Should that stuff be paid for by the new homeowners (vice the developer)? Well, in part, of course, it is, because they will certainly be paying any new taxes to pay off the bonds you mention are usually used to build roads, schools, et cetera. But should they pay more than their "fair share" because they are in some sense responsible for the costs going up in the first place? I'm doubtful. The moral accounting here seems pretty bogus. Why is it the homebuyers who are responsible? Why not, say, the companies that offered jobs that brought people in? Why not the state government that built the extension to the highway that made the town suddenly much more accessible to jobs in the city? Why not the Federal government that paid for the water project that made it possible to build in the desert? And so forth. Where are you going to draw a line and say this person is 'responsible' for the new costs but this other is not? Without being totally arbitrary, that is?

Besides, as I said, if all these new residents are to shoulder the costs of their moving in, then they only ought to get the benefits, and there are many that are shared by everyone. More residents usually means more and better local business. A competitor to the local supermarket that brings prices down, maybe a niche natural-foods store. A bike shop, because now there are enough people riding bikes locally to support one. Increased property values all around, especially nice for people already there and who don't have a giant new mortgage.

Historical public costs are public costs for a very good reason: it has been found counter-productive to try to assign exactly who should bear their burden. That's why the government builds roads from tax money and we don't leave it up to private citizens who want to get places to organize themselves and pay for it. That's why we have public education up to 12th grade.

I don't mean to defend developers per se, because I don't especially like them, but a lot of time the hostility seems to be sort of a Wal-Mart thing, I mean it works the way people are bitterly hostile to Wal-Mart but love mom-n-pop stores that do the same thing. Here, we're railing that developers don't pay the increased costs their development costs the city. Well, is it equally bad when I with two children move into a house in which there used to be only an old couple? Gee, I've put an extra burden on the schools. Shouldn't I be assessed extra taxes? If the answer is no for me the individual 'developer', I don't see why it should be yes for the mass developer.

Is zoning right or wrong? (1)

alexhmit01 (104757) | about 8 years ago | (#16161353)

I agree with you, in theory, about zoning. On the other-hand, there is a massive externality issue involved. For example, if you prop unregulated low income housing, slum style, into a neighborhood, you will cause MAJOR negative externalizes in the surrounding communities. If I own a peace of land with a view of the ocean (theoretical house, 2 stories), and someone buys the land in front of me (currently 1 story), and puts up a 3 story building, I lose my view. This is a negative to me. Restricting the owner from doing so is a negative to them, devaluing their property rights.

Zoning is a bit of a compromise, I can buy my theoretical house, knowing that that lot is only zoned for 1 story (so the view is factored into my house). If it is zoned for three stories, then I take a risk.

I'm not anti-development, but I think that externalities need to be considered. In the case of my neighborhood, the original developer zoned it recreational with the city to get cheaper tax rates and operate a country club in the community. Country-club living (living near the club, where you play golf, tennis, and swim without the "public" being there like at a part), was very big in suburban South Florida in the 70s. It was a combination of community separation (upper middle class white people hanging out with their kind), plus how society was for young families then. Now, the trend went to private pools and public tennis courts in the 80s, and continued in the 90s. The country club society crumbled as South Florida stopped being retirees and their wealthy doctors/lawyers and into a real economy with dual incomes and stressed families.

However, the neighbors bought their house from the developer (or the previous owners, but essentially from the developer), with the understanding that the developer set up the country club as a recreation facility. Most houses in our neighborhood within 2 blocks of the old club have no pool, including massive houses that you would expect to have a pool in Florida, unless they were build 10+ years later when private pools were the rage.

Should the developer/new owner of the country club, that has received 30 years of subsidized taxes, and premium prices for pool-less homes 30 years earlier by providing a swimming pool, be allowed to say, okay, I already cashed in on that part, just build the last handful of unbuilt lots (in the 90s, and away they went to rezone it and cash in after the run-up).

In all fairness, the zoning is essentially a deed restriction. If you zone something a certain way to create more value (like they did), removing that value without compensation to the people who paid you a premium for that value (or their successors) seems just as unfair as arbitrary zoning restrictions.

Re:Is zoning right or wrong? (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | about 8 years ago | (#16162625)

My friend, it's a perfectly plausible argument, and I'm perfectly willing to agree that in this situation you are probably dead right. The problem I have is that whether you are right or not is a pretty complicated logical question. To be absolutely sure -- and we would need to be, since when we talk property values we're often talking about the bulk of a person's life's savings -- I say, to be absolutely sure you're right, we'd need to have access to all the facts of the case, and we'd need to be very just and wise in our reasoning.

Now, I might be willing to accept that you personally can do all those things in this situation. And maybe I might be willing to agree that a few other people in my acquaintance are. But am I generally willing to grant that kind of power to any random elected official? To, more or less, any member of the species who is capable of wearing a tie and knowing to defecate in private (because that's about the only minimum qualification for being elected to the town council)? The answer is emphatically no. I'm not. There is just too much potential for horrible abuse.

This is the generic problem with social engineering, of which zoning is one example. It requires a level of unselfish wisdom and objectivity in human beings that they generally don't demonstrate. It would probably work just fine with a different species, but for H. sapiens it tends not to.

That said, I do appreciate your point, and I am not saying zoning is something I would abolish were I made God Emperor tomorrow. Frankly, I just don't know. Like I said, the concept troubles me, and vide supra I generally hate the idea of allowing the majority power over the individual allegedly for the greater good, but I do recognize some degree of oversight of private transactions seems to be necessary.

I'm not a politician, so I can't say exactly what that oversight should be. I restrict my participation to being extremely skeptical of what the lawyers and legislators propose. I figure I'm a useful counter-weight to the socialist enthusiasts out there who would like to use the power of the majority to force everyone to not only work the right jobs and build the right kind of houses, but no doubt think the right kind of thoughts, too.

Thank you for the insightful and courteous exchange.

Re:Contradictory Indeed.... (1)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156996)

Why should the infrastructure upgrades have been paid for by the developer
I'll tell you why. If I own a piece of land, and it's way out in Bum F@sk Egypt with no lights or running water, I have to pay to have them put them in. It should be no different with a developer who is adding increased stress to our existing infrastructure.

If developers want to continue making obscene profits from properties sold in my town then they should be responsible (within reason) for contributing (not solely supporting) to the infrastructure upgrades necessary due to the people that they are bringing in. This is only fair. I don't expect a completely free ride and I do have the advantage (sometimes) of my property values going up because of them. But they should not get a free ride either. Often in my community, they not only get a free ride, they also get direct subsidies or tax incentives (read: even higher taxes for me). I'm just sick to death of seeing people squeezed to death by property taxes and insurance while people responsible for making the situation worse are not helping to pay at all. That was my point.

Re:Contradictory Indeed.... (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | about 8 years ago | (#16158009)

Er...well, fine. But if you've got the votes to require them to pay for infrastructure costs, then you've got the votes to prevent any such silly things as subsidies and tax incentives, don't you?

I mean, if the citizens have already voted to subsidize development, it seems a little schizophrenic for them to then turn around and complain that development is costing them money.

Also, what makes development profits "obscene," anyway? They charge all the market will bear, surely. And what's wrong with that? Do you volunteer to get paid less than the prevailing wage for your skill set? Why would you? Let's say you've owned a house in town for 8 years, and because of whatever's driving development -- surely a skyrocketing real estate market -- you're now in a position to quadruple your money. Are you going to turn all that money down, sell your house for a nice, non-obscene profit of only 20%? Why?

No one's forcing anyone to buy the houses. If the developer puts up crappy shacks that cost him $2 each to raise, and crazies come in and buy them for half a mil, why is the developer being evil? I mean, if you offer to sell your collection of Barry Manilow 45s on eBay and some oddball buys it for $5,000, is that your fault?

I appreciate the urge to stick it to someone who's changing the terms of what you thought was a life-time deal, especially someone big and faceless with a lot of pocket change. But I'd stop and wonder whether the principle of the thing is a good idea. Once you start saying it's cool for the majority to stick it to big mass developers, munging up the concept of property rights in the process, where will it stop? Think government is just going to let that power lie around unused when there's no big boys to beat up? Think again. Power once put into the hands of government is never allowed to gather dust. Then one day when you find yourself on the other side of the deal -- think Susette Kelo [ij.org] -- you could seriously regret your previous support for an erosion of the ability of the private owner to defy the will of the majority. You have to bear in mind that the law can make no distinction in principle between Joe A. Smallhomeowner and ReallyReallyBig Developers, Inc. (I'm not saying such a distinction can't exist in practise, but that's a matter for the citizens watching their elected officials like a hawk and holding them accountable every November.)

Re:Contradictory Indeed.... (1)

AshtangiMan (684031) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157066)

Ok, let's limit the infrastructure to sewer, water, and roads. If I buy a big old piece of land, then I, the owner, must pay to get sewer, water, and build my driveway. The gov't doesn't pay for these, though it requires that I have them (fire codes, building codes etc). Now a developer comes in and buys the same acreage, and plans on building 10 McMansions. Why should he be any different than me? I live in a sprawl city where bond issues have paid for infrastructure extensions in the past. I don't think public funds should be used to make land more profitable for private interests.

Re:Contradictory Indeed.... (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | about 8 years ago | (#16158064)

Uh...so far as I know, the big developer isn't treated in principle any different from you the little guy developer. If you have to pay to have the sewer extended to your front door, he does too. I've never heard of a community offering to pay for services that are only used by the development, unless the community really wants to encourage new development. And if that's what the citizens are up to, well that's their free choice. You can't logically offer to subsidize development and then complain that it's costing you money.

But anyway, I thought the costs we were talking about were costs that were not only used by the development. For example, you get a lot more traffic on a county access road that leads to the development, so the county decides it needs to widen the road and install some traffic signals. That's not usually paid for by developers, of course, but by the citizens. (Actually a lot of it is paid by the state, and there's another can of worms: why should the citizens of one part of the state -- which may be in a recession -- pay for the infrastructure in another part of the state that's booming?)

Re:Contradictory statements.... (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156489)

Town planners and architects do not wait for Google Earth to plan their cities. They already have detailed 3d maps of their creations in their workstations; and they have done so for many years now.

Good for the aerial view (3, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155988)

The aerial view will ensure that they don't put up anything that looks bad from our flying cars. Oh, wait...

Wishful thinking (3, Interesting)

Hahnsoo (976162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155998)

Now if there was only a way to import this information into my SimCity game. Or any other Sim franchise game. Hell, any game, for that matter.

Re:Wishful thinking (1)

owlman17 (871857) | about 8 years ago | (#16167749)

import this information into my SimCity game

And would also be nice to export our cities into this. Ok, maybe not any of us, but professional urban planners, architects, etc. They could grab a "chunk" from the planned site, render the terrain, climate, etc, into SimCity (or something similar), build a city, and if it prospers/lasts, "export" it back.

It's about time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16156069)

to welcome our new 3d overlords

Beer! It's not just for breakfast anymore!.

since when??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16156113)

They have universities in Arkansas?

Who woulda guessed?

Contributing to planning schemes... (4, Interesting)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156126)

I liked this bit

Williamson says free programs like these could eventually let ordinary citizens explore their city and contribute to planning schemes.

but I really don't believe it.

We just had a developer come in and build an apartment complex next to a mature neighborhood. Imagine that one day you have trees outside your house, and the next day you have a five-storey building.

We photoshopped a representation of what the apartment complex would do to the trees, and presented it to the DeKalb County (GA) commissioners, but it made no difference. I think they could see the added tax revenue to the county, and gave not a damn about the existing houses.

I wasn't personally affected - it was a number of my neighbors at the other end of the neighborhood, but I did learn that tools and the ability to predict impact don't really matter. What really matters is money to the local taxing authority.

Just sayin'.

Re:Contributing to planning schemes... (2, Informative)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156176)

your mistake was drawing the building next to your neighborhood. maybe if you had found out where the council members live and draw the building next to their neighborhood your point would have been clearer.

Re:Contributing to planning schemes... (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156372)

While it often happens that way, there are still places where a well organized citizen group can make a difference. I live in a small city with around 2000 households, and a highrise condo project has been held up for a long time due to vocal and organized resistance from people living here. The local government would certainly appreciate the extra tax revenue if the condos came into existence, but they're likely concerned that giving the project the green light would be very detrimental to their future re-election chances.

I guess the bigger problem is that in larger communities/cities, it's hard to get a big enough organization of citizens to really worry the politicians about the number of voters that they'll be upsetting. And that's because it's often difficult and time consuming for the average person to get involved in a debate like that. Hopefully, having an available and easy to use tool like Google Earth will help more ordinary people be better educated about their towns, and be more pro-active about it.

Re:Contributing to planning schemes... (4, Informative)

Suspended_Reality (927563) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156540)

Disclaimer: I am a city planner.

There's an old saying, "if you like the view, buy it". Why shouldn't the owner of the property have the right to develop THEIR property? It's tough to face that as a neighbor, I know, but the issue is that citizen interaction must come before the step in the process where you got involved (which, unfortunately, is the step most people choose to get involved because it is when projects affect them the most). If you had been successful at stopping approval of a proposed development, the developer can simply take the project to circuit court and have the Planning Commission's actions overturned because it would most likely be arbitrary.

Rather, one must get involved at the Comprehensive Plan stage and at the formation of the documents that guide the proposals. Zoning regulations that dictate land uses, open space requirements, density, height and setback issues, etc. I'm sorry you have to live next to something you don't want to have to live next to, but that property owner had a right to use his property, too.

Re:Contributing to planning schemes... (1)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156797)

Oh, I fully accept the right of the developer to develop. No problem there. I'd just have preferred a few more trees left in place, so the apartment building wouldn't loom quite so much.

The developer took the tack that it was land, to do with as he wished, and so he did. Right up to the property line. A standard Atlanta story. It'd have been nice if he'd been willing to be a nicer neighbor, but what can you do?

Re:Contributing to planning schemes... (1)

supasam (658359) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157756)

Build a taller building right up next to his and ruin his view. 'Course then you have to go through all the people that think the planet is big enough to house everyone plus some trees and a yard for the dog in single story houses that get slapped together by mexicans in a hurry. Who live in high rises.

Re:Contributing to planning schemes... (2, Insightful)

digitect (217483) | about 8 years ago | (#16158102)

Disclaimer: I am an architect.

If we argue only on grounds of capitalism, your point of view is exactly where we end up. However, it has been shown since the Minoan period that cities (really any community) are very complex organisms that depend on us all living together and respecting each other, outside the bounds of simple property ownership.

Who owns the clean air we breath? Sunlight? Are you entitled to cast shadows on my property? How about make noise in the middle of the night that carries past your property lines? Can you conduct business on your property that encourages more traffic in my neighborhood?

These are all issues beyond fee simple, but ones that have generated laws in developed places where citizens demanded a quality of life against the rights of the individual property owner as you say. This gross over-simplification produces very poor urban conditions, but you should know that being a city planner. The rotted out cores of many old cities have only sprung new growth through cooperative efforts that restrict the freedoms you espouse and that re-emphasize community rights and the public good.

Frankly, I'm pretty disappointed that someone with your perspective is a city planner. There is already enough force on the private-developer side to push through all sorts of ugliness. It is the public representative's responsibility to balance this force, not encourage it or evaulate it with the same simple monetary formula it's proponents use.

Re:Contributing to planning schemes... (1)

Hast (24833) | about 8 years ago | (#16159491)

I was just going to write a clever retort to that post but then I found you had already done it better than I would have.

It kind of makes sense that if you are going to live or work in a neighbourhood the first thing to do might not be to piss everyone off.

I know that in the cities that I live and work (in Sweden) there are quite strict rules regarding what you build where. Basically you are not allowed to build buildings which are significantly taller than the neighbouring houses. There are also some restrictions on the look of your building. (So building a replica of a Greek temple in the middle of a modern city is not allowed.)

Re:Contributing to planning schemes... (1)

Suspended_Reality (927563) | about 8 years ago | (#16160071)

My point is that people need to get involved sooner in the process. I appreciate and understand (and believe) in your academic response, but the laws in the United States don't back up your utopian complex organism. I was simply stating that when a Planning Commission is faced with approval of a development plan and the plan meets all codes and is in agreement with the Comprehensive Plan, they MUST approve it. Anything else is arbitrary and the courts say so.

Since I am in the same boat as you, philosophically, I can rectify this situation by getting people like our neighbor in the above scenario to get involved BEFORE the owner of the adjacent parcel applies for a building permit. Put into law a zoning ordinance based upon real quality of life issues, and put into law things that protect neighbors with enough mustar to pass through the US courts (and the pocket lined developers).

To the claim that I'm backing up developers, that's a farce. I'm for infill development, though. I'm for urban growth boundaries and density that supports nodes sufficient for mass transit, reducing our dependence on automobiles. To me, this scenario sounded like it might contribute to that. I can tell from your slashdot id that you're probably older than me and been in the real world longer than I, but I can't help but wonder where your lack of jaded cynicism stems from? I, too, want to accomplish what you want, but I'm seeking ways to get it down with our current court system.

Re:Contributing to planning schemes... (1)

digitect (217483) | about 8 years ago | (#16171821)

My point is that people need to get involved sooner in the process.

I can certainly agree with this, although sometimes it is difficult for everyone to understand what is happening until it is too late.

I appreciate and understand (and believe) in your academic response, but the laws in the United States don't back up your utopian complex organism.

Not in smaller population areas, but definitely in established cities where people better understand the complexity. Setbacks [wikipedia.org] were developed in New York during the 1920's for just such a reason. Unfortunately, here in the U.S., we sometimes have to create a horrible situation before a community passes laws preventing it in the future. It is a better situation when everyone wants to work and live together, but worse when outside investors can put up real estate that they never see.

I was simply stating that when a Planning Commission is faced with approval of a development plan and the plan meets all codes and is in agreement with the Comprehensive Plan, they MUST approve it. Anything else is arbitrary and the courts say so.

This is true in principle, but in reality the political lives of a city's governors is always at stake. And no developer can afford to go through the law suit process. If a developer/owner makes a community angry enough, he will destroy his investment. There are always options for the community, such as strict enforcement of parking regulations, modifications to traffic patterns, etc. I've been on both sides, and the best path is cooperation and consensus.

Since I am in the same boat as you, philosophically, I can rectify this situation by getting people like our neighbor in the above scenario to get involved BEFORE the owner of the adjacent parcel applies for a building permit. Put into law a zoning ordinance based upon real quality of life issues, and put into law things that protect neighbors with enough mustar to pass through the US courts (and the pocket lined developers).

In your role, I would agree these are good goals. However stipulating "good" merely through legislative efforts is both weak (ineffective) and avoiding of the central problem: Individuals should live in the communities they own, and own the communities they live in. Many developmental monstrosities are created by investors and developers who do not live in the beasts they create. It is a fundamental violation of the Golden Rule. When a project is out of touch with the rest of the community, it is sure to fail. This has been documented as a central problem in urban blight, and is also directly responsible in most of the cases where a community is in discord with a particular development.

So the problem isn't zoning, it's ownership and an individual's responsibility in his community.

To the claim that I'm backing up developers, that's a farce.

Point taken, I was not trying to make this a personal affront. But your comments were easy enough to polarize in order for me to make the other side of the argument.

I'm for infill development, though. I'm for urban growth boundaries and density that supports nodes sufficient for mass transit, reducing our dependence on automobiles.

I'm a LEED® AP, but am not convinced that comprimising quality of life is sustainable. You might check out William McDonough [mcdonough.com] 's Cradle To Cradle, essentially we must not force the appearance of sustainability in place of the real thing. Density for the sake of density just repeats the same mistake made in Le Corbusier's Garden City, and results in another round of Pruitt Igoe [wikipedia.org] s.

To me, this scenario sounded like it might contribute to that. I can tell from your slashdot id that you're probably older than me and been in the real world longer than I, but I can't help but wonder where your lack of jaded cynicism stems from? I, too, want to accomplish what you want, but I'm seeking ways to get it down with our current court system.

I see the court system as the last resort in a confict, not the first step of a partnering commnity. To me the ownership issue is central, after that it can only be downhill. Interestingly, I began this rebuttal thinking that our ownership levels in this country were higher than in Europe (the bastian of green, sustainable development), an apparent contradiction to my hypothesis that ownership equals quality communities. But my research tonight says otherwise, the most sustainable communities are found in countries where property ownership is the highest.

Re:Contributing to planning schemes... (1)

shomon2 (71232) | about 8 years ago | (#16159684)

You ask why people shouldn't have the right to build things on land that they own.

I think if there is a reason for this (if in a city and when talking about something like a stretch of land with trees in it) it should be ecological: how does it hit the carbon emissions, how much does it warm the city by for example producing more driveways which are harmful for rainwater and reflect sunlight.

Who will live/use this place - will this use be helping/sustaining/contributing to the existing community living there? Did you take existing initiative or stimulate any to ensure your development would complement the area?

Are you planning to use ecological materials, local energy generation etc or are you sealing future users of your development into dependance on fossil fuels?

And what about habitats of birds or other animals - did you ask them if you could have it when you bought it? Where will they go? There are simple ways to reduce this damage. Did you take them into account?

Did children play there? Now do they have to be driven to a playground, or play in the street. Do any older residents use the area, do they know it's history?

The key argument is basically - what you are doing doesn't only have to benefit you in some way, it is part of an environment so it also has to be sustainable. That means it's got to last, and give value rather than take it away from what's around it (from materials to the community around it, to the global market and ecology).

You can argue against all of these reasons, but we are not the owners of this planet - we have a responsibility towards it as inhabitants of it and that should and will eventually have to take precedence over trying to build over it just because of short term gain. The price of ignoring this is the loss of basic needs due to the very real problems we cause and then face by too much unsustainable activity and growth.

Not a criticism to the poster - but just against the idea that private property and "right to build" is somehow a superior value to others.

Ale

 

Viewscapes (1)

duh P3rf3ss3r (967183) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156189)

Such a tool, I think, would be useful for evaluating the impact of proposed structures on viewscapes. Traditionally, urban planners and citizens have ignored the effect of what they do on viewscapes, hence the huge hotels that block residents' view of the ocean, for instance. In that sense, this is a hopeful development. On the other hand, a big part of the reason we haven't done a good job of analysing the impact on viewscapes is because people haven't been paying any attention to viewscapes, largely, until it's too late. On balance, I think this is a good idea but I'm not convinced it will make much difference in the medium-term. It IS nice marketing hype, though :-)

Re:Viewscapes (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156504)

Any halfway-decent urban planner/architect is well aware of views. If they don't mention them, it's because leaving them out of the discussion serves their interests(or the interests of their client). That hotel might be destroying the view for a whole bunch of existing houses, but the people renting rooms in that hotel when it's finished will be willing to pay a good chunk of change more each night for the view that they'll be getting.

It's true, and it's great. (3, Interesting)

Onan (25162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156315)

I started using sketchup a while back for the geekiest of all possible reasons: creating and displaying models of places for a roleplaying game I was running.

(This is actually a surprisingly hard problem, which no other tools solve well. You need do deal with there being a complex model that already exists, but of which only a dynamic section is actually visible to players. Navigating an actual 3d model gives you the ability to convey great detail quickly, without ever having to worry about giving away too much. The players see exactly what they characters see, and you can get on with the actual game.)

So I started to place the locations that I'd modeled into Seattle (yes, Shadowrun), and was pleased to find that a lot of Seattle was already modeled in Earth, with yet more available in the google "3D Warehouse" [google.com] . It's basically the classic free software development model: everyone in the community works on something they find interesting, and we all benefit from one another's products.

Re:It's true, and it's great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16156689)

It's basically the classic free software development model: everyone in the community works on something they find interesting, and we all benefit from one another's products.

Except in this case everybody works to make Google richer than they already are and we do not get to use the data as we see fit. It's the Web 2.0 way!

Re:It's true, and it's great. (1)

Onan (25162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156945)

Except in this case everybody works to make Google richer than they already are and we do not get to use the data as we see fit. It's the Web 2.0 way!

Um, how is either one of those true? Sketchup is free, and Earth is free, so how exactly does my use of them give Google any money?

And all the models I've created or downloaded are sitting right here on my hard drive, not locked into any kind of wacky drm or server-side-only architecture. While Sketchup defaults to using its own file format, it's happy to export to any of about half a dozen other very common formats, so nothing is stopping me from downloading a bunch of models and using them with some other tool. So how exactly am I being stopped from using my data as I see fit?

Re:It's true, and it's great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16157561)

If in 2 years there is a free database of building models that contains at least 10% of the models that Google has, then I will retract my statement. I doubt that I will have to do that. You're free to use Linux, but far more than 90% of all computers run a Microsoft operating system. Freedom to do something doesn't mean that you actually do it. I own the copyright to this comment. You own the copyright to yours. If the Slashdot users joined their efforts they could create a free database of all the comments on this site, but that is not going to happen. Slashdot makes money because we contribute our comments for free. We contribute content to a whole that is then sold back to us with ads.

Re:It's true, and it's great. (1)

Eccles (932) | about 8 years ago | (#16163535)

Is there any way to turn off their simple buildings if existing ones overlap them, or do you have to develop the whole model as add-ins?

I still think Google should use some of their pocket change to hire pilots to photograph some of the many towns that are unusable as satellite images. C'mon Sergei, go through the couch cushions!

Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16156346)

"The researchers say tools like Google Earth and Sketchup could eventually help ordinary citizens get more involved in urban development."

More likely, municipal planners will get innundated with city maps full of 3D building models that look like giant penises, submitted by ordinary citizens of the 14-year-old variety.

All I am saying.... (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156353)

Let me know when I can play a FPS in my hometown, online. Now that would be cool. It is something that I have thought for years would be the just great. You could hide out in your own house, or camp on your school roof, hell the home team would actually have an advantage! Anyway software developers your on notice! Build me this and I will buy it! Hmmm of course the Jack Thompson (or whatever his name is) would have a field day about a FPS in a actual real school (even though virtural) online....

We used Google Earth and won! (5, Interesting)

Fiver- (169605) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156584)

At the architectural firm I used to work for, I had shown Google Earth to the principals and told them to keep it in mind for future proposals. A couple months later I was asked to composite some renderings into Google Earth for a proposal for a new facility at the University of Illinois at Chicago. It was cool...I was able to drop the site plans directly onto the existing site. The renderings also had arrows indicating traffic flow, so I made the site plans into .PNGs and Google Earth recognized the transparency channel so the arrows were floating over the existing roads instead of over a white backgroud. I'm probably not describing this well, but the end result looked great and we won the project.

a real use for this (1)

EdDivinity (539756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156685)

how long before someone takes this and makes a jell-o mold of the city?

As a citizen of Fayetteville (1)

ElectricOkra (876481) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157170)

For those who think "Why Fayetteville?"

Fayetteville happens to be one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods and JB Hunt are all in the larger metropolitan area. The commercial infrastructure here has exploded in the last decade.

When people hear Arkansas they think of L'il Abner and the like, but the area that Fayetteville is in is nothing like the rest of the state. The population has a higher per-capita income, more education and less crime. Think Seattle, except smaller and with less rain.

And, btw, the picture in the article is looking to the East down Dickson Street, and the real view looks nothing like that.

Re:As a citizen of Fayetteville (1)

JDevers (83155) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157892)

Actually, think Seattle except more rain in much smaller time increments.

Seriously, we receive noticeably more rain than Seattle, it just isn't as "rainy" as Seattle. Basically, we get most of our rain in 1-3 inch deluges instead of light mist for days on end.

Also, while Fayetteville itself is VERY progressive, the other cities in the metro are less so. Still nothing like the rest of the state, but not much like Seattle either...more like Dallas in political perspective at least.

Other significant Google Earth recent news... (1)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157471)

that were rejected by the /. editors :-)
[ok, I'm too lazy, here's a direct copy of slashgeo's stories]

Following yesterday [slashgeo.org] stories [slashgeo.org] , izo writes "It's here. Fresh, crispy and shiny — Google Earth ver 4.0.2080 [google.com] . There is new timeline interface and few new kml tags. [Although there is no demo to test it] My personal winner with this release is .dae caching and fixed refreshing. Now you can create simple "animations" with "moving" 3d objects using Update kml tag. P.S. To avoid problems with flickering mouse cursor uninstall your old GE before installing new one." Update: 09/14 13:49 GMT by S [slashgeo.org] : The Google Earth Blog offers additional information [gearthblog.com] including: "doing a "Check for Update" in the application will NOT get you the new version - you have to download from Google as if it were your first time for GE 4". Read Ogle Earth on the release too [ogleearth.com] .

Ogle Earth was the first [ogleearth.com] to share the news about today's major content update for Google Earth [gisuser.com] . OE links to a ZDNet article [zdnet.com] . While the Google Earth Blog tells us about the addition of 3D buildings in cities all over Japan [gearthblog.com] . From the article: "Google Earth will include before and after satellite images of environmentally endangered locations originally published by the U.N. Environment Program as a coffee-table book." and from the Ogle Earth blog: "New stuff in the "Featured content" folder in the Layers sidebar. Some of it's been there for a while, but brand new is a layer by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), a layer by the US National Park service, and expanded global content by the Discovery Channel."

All Points Blog links [allpointsblog.com] to a ZDNet article where we learn the time tracking tool in Google Earth Pro will now be available in Google Earth Free [zdnet.co.uk] (and GE Plus, of course!). From the article: "The feature in which a slider is used to scroll through time [...] now features a simplified interface. [...] showing how scientists, who had tracked the movements of a whale shark using GPS, had then mapped the creature's path using the application. Business uses could include fleet tracking or mapping the movements of transport infrastructure according to Google. Jones also described how the new version would enable users to track all of the geostationary satellites orbiting the earth." Ed Parsons was first [edparsons.com] to mention this news item.

The Google earth Blog attempts to summarize the September 8th major satellite/photo imagery update for Google Maps and Google Earth [gearthblog.com] .

I would be so hooked on this (1)

Subsound90 (992770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157559)

For anyone who ahs trouble driving around metropolitan areas this would be awsome! You can take a look at the buildings if you were driving around. So I could see what I should expect to see when I'm driving up to said building, instead of trying to infer what the place looks like from the roof. I wonder if you can move the camera to capture city vistas without actually having to trek out there.

Urban Planner View (2, Insightful)

Chasqui (601659) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157639)

Disclaimer: I am an urban planner. One of the things these free tools do is raise the expectations bar. Most planning departments have had access for many years to GIS tools which are far more capable than what the online tools can do. That said, the general public has not. I do not think that "ordinary citizens will get more involved" - I have been to enough public meetings to know what citizen apathy looks like - but I do think that the public's perception of what is possible in terms of visualization and presentation will change. Think CSI - doesn't every crime lab work that way? In terms of participation, there will still be the controvertial cases where city hall is packed with angry citizens reacting to the "greedy developer" coming to the city to "destroy the quality of life" or "make traffic a nightmare" but for the most part people have lives and do not care about local government unless it is a basic utility like water service, fire or police protection. When they do get involved, however, they will expect to see zooming and fly-throughs using aerial photos. I love the digital orthophotography but this stuff is expensive and not everyplace is covered.

Re:Urban Planner View (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16158447)

I don't think you realise what your saying dude..

That is the whole point. You say "One of the things these free tools do is raise the expectations bar."

This is a good thing. People should expect this type of thing from urban planners. Just like people should expect this type of thing from local police.

"When they do get involved, however, they will expect to see zooming and fly-throughs using aerial photos. I love the digital orthophotography but this stuff is expensive and not everyplace is covered."

That is the point. More people will expect it, and yes its expensive for the pro tools. Next time I hear about a contraversial development I had better see it mapped out on Google Earth before Thats the LEAST they could do. Developers are used to shoving shit down people's throat because nobody imagines what the end result will look like. Then everyone gets all pissy when it looks like shit and behaves like shit and is shit. This is a good way to weed all that shit out before its too late.

Maybe you knew what I'm saying here, but I didn't get that hint from your last few sentences, especially about the CSI part. Damn right Crime labs need to be using high tech equipment to catch violent criminals. Until they do, they need to quit throwing money out the window for stuipd shit like bags of weed. I hear it from cops all the fucking time.. "God, we aren't CSI, wtf do you think we have a multi-million dollar lab back at the station?" "No sir, Why would I expect that when you just built a god damn motherfucking $40m dollar jail packed with 60% pot heads???"

The attitude is the same, though I didn't pickup if this was your attitude or not.

Re:Urban Planner View (1)

Chasqui (601659) | about 8 years ago | (#16161407)

I'll bite.

I really don't think that visialization is what urban planning is all about. That is what architecture is for. You can get a much better idea of what a project will look like with a photoshopped picture. It certainly costs less than aerial photoography. The money spent on making made-for-tv graphics should go to hiring brains that can use the right tools to ask the right questions.

The fly-throughs and the zooming - a lot of that is just 'smoke and mirrors' show stuff to sell the project at the city council level. From a planning perspective, by that time its probably too late to do anything substantive. Planning is about the needs 10 years down the road.

The new tools are great. I love google earth. These tools however are not like the GIS tools available in planning depts. which DO get used, and I support paying for 100%. I do not feel, however that there will be a rush of people attending meetings because of the tools. When people do attend those meetings I think that the fancy graphics can distract from the substance of the discussion.

Is this a good land-use decision? Does it follow what is established in our comprehensive plan / zoning ordinance? If it does not, what are the previously not-considered impacts on services - roadway, sewer? EMT response times, etc? I would rather have a planning department consider these questions than worry about how a project will look in a fly-through. That may not sell the crowd, but ultimately city council needs hard data to make decisions.

Re:Urban Planner View (1)

pipingguy (566974) | about 8 years ago | (#16158991)

...they will expect to see zooming and fly-throughs

I use CAD and visualization software "zooming and fly-throughs" every day while designing and commenting on virtual 3D environments (not city architecture, though). It looks cool and impresses most people, but this feature also makes it easy for many observers to be "wowed" and miss important details.

Sim City (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16157776)

Simcity: Google Earth Edition

I want TestDrive: Earth (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 8 years ago | (#16158256)

How cool would it be to drive across the world in a Ferrari. It better have inside the car driving modes.

Gratuitious plug: I do this for a living (1)

XenonOfArcticus (53312) | about 8 years ago | (#16158587)

While the virtual Fayetteville is cool, it's kinda late to the party. This is exactly what my software is used for, and we even already support Google Earth, NASA WorldWind, VRML, VTP and more. The nice thing being, unlike SketchUp, we author to many formats, not just KML, so you can reuse the same scene in numerous environments and you're not locked in.

http://3dnature.com/scene.html [3dnature.com]
http://3dnature.com/kml.html [3dnature.com]

Here's a heapload of links about this sort of thing done by my users over the past few years. Some of this is realtime (Google Earth or our NatureView Express viewer) and some of it is pre-rendered to still images, AVIs or Quicktime (similar to something like Blender or POVRay).
http://3dnature.com/images/DUQueryPhoto.jpg [3dnature.com]
http://3dnature.com/images/NVE-Interlocken.jpg [3dnature.com]
http://3dnature.com/images/FairplayPowerPlant.jpg [3dnature.com]
http://3dnature.com/images/Fairplay-WW-large.jpg [3dnature.com]
http://redgeographics.com/sample_apeldoorn_3d.php [redgeographics.com]
http://www.3dnworld.com/gallery.php?user=FAhl [3dnworld.com]
http://www.3dnworld.com/gallery.php?user=JBailey [3dnworld.com]
http://www.3dnworld.com/gallery.php?user=MBoyer [3dnworld.com]
http://www.3dnworld.com/gallery.php?user=KBried%E9 [3dnworld.com]
http://www.3dnworld.com/gallery.php?user=GDonaldso n-Selby [3dnworld.com]
http://www.3dnworld.com/gallery.php?user=MGualdrin i [3dnworld.com]
http://www.3dnworld.com/gallery.php?user=RLovel [3dnworld.com]
http://www.3dnworld.com/gallery.php?user=MOstrom [3dnworld.com]

And plenty more like it.

And now... (1)

pinkstuff (758732) | about 8 years ago | (#16158884)

They just need giant 3D printers - or maybe an enlarging ray instead... :D

real time feeds + hi res = coolness (1)

drDugan (219551) | about 8 years ago | (#16159277)

When we have real-time feeds, we'll be able to map geo-relevant information info onto Google Earth:

Like weather, traffic jams, tornado locations, animal migrations, polar ice levels, progress building a dam, maybe even someday jetting between the different football stadiums on Sunday morning to watch the different football games live in 3D VR.

TED: I need bigger tubes into my home.

Planning/Environmental/Historical Projects (1)

hachete (473378) | about 8 years ago | (#16159780)

That's this would be good for.

I've met a lot of people who want historical or evironmental views of their region.

In the UK, local authorities can grant planning permissions - motorways, supermarkets etc. Using Google Maps would be ideal for this, rather than the PDF files with their itty-bitty descriptions they have now. You could actually *see* which bit of countryside they were going to concrete over.

Impressive Scale Model Archive - Cities (1)

Lord Satri (609291) | about 8 years ago | (#16160208)

Right here [typepad.com] .
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?