Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Forgotten Spaces Google Earth Tour

Forgotten Spaces is an architectural competition that suggests new uses for the forgotten spaces around London. As a Londoner and appreciater of architecture it caught my imagination and I went to see an exhibition about it over the weekend at the National Theatre.

I enjoyed it but was frustrated by the lack of a decent overview map both in the exhibition and on the web: I wanted to see about what the neighbourhoods were like around the locations. It occurred to me that they could have used Google Earth really well in presenting the competition so I created a Google Earth tour of three of the entries to illustrate the idea.

It isn't very slick as I'm short on time but I think its good enough to shows some ideas that I discuss below:

A few points to make about the tour:
  • Quick!:Whole thing took me 2 hours, including a fair amount of time spent locating where the spaces were. In a day I could create something slick looking.
  • Streetview: You can get streetview in Google earth (they have their own layer), by copying the photo spheres into the tour folder you can incorporate them in the tour as I have. Gives you great local context.
  • Viewing Elements: I imported the photos into Google Earth as photo overlays - you just drag and drop them from windows explorer into the main GE window. Its very quick but you cannot enter the viewing mode in the tour which is a pain, same with the streetview photo spheres. On a tour you can pause the tour and double click the elements and you'll be able to enter photo viewing mode, have a go to see what I mean.
  • Avoiding Cyber Sickness: If you throw the camera about wildly its possible to induce cyber sickness in viewers and even if you don't do that, wild camera moves confuse users, they don't know where they are. You can see that I tend to zoom and pan in and out whilst keeping the view north-top vertically-down. If I want a tilted view with a non north bearing I do that when zoomed right it, trying to keep the relevant screen elements in view as I do so. Zooming out, I straighten up the view before zooming out.
  • Overview Map/relative locations: To help users build up a cognitive map of where all the elements are (so they can effectively explore afterwards) I start and end with an overview of all the locations and between locations fly up to this overview. When panning from place to place I keep elements in view so users can get an idea of their relative locations.
This post is unofficial and not condoned by RIBA, I have used their copyright images for educational purposes and also as a critique of the web presentation of Forgotten Spaces.

1 comment:

Juan Carlos Sierra R said...

Excelente trabajo, tambien he desarrollado pequeños ejemplos de este estilo y en verdad la presentación de la información geografica es fundamental para cualquier tipo de proyectos, una vision más clara del porque? el como ? el cuando? y el donde? de las cosas.