Author Archives: Crispin

Future Cities :: Future of Planning

We are delighted to confirm that we have been selected as one of the shortlisted 10 projects in the Future Cities Catapult “Future of Planning” initiative.eventbrite-002-1600x800

 

 

 

 

 

https://smartcitiesworld.net/governance/smes-help-to-overhaul-uk-planning-1473

Our solution B4itsBuilt, mobilises citizen engagement through true visualisation.

This project will extend professional, accurate, real-world AR experiences into the public domain for the first time. It will deliver the template for a consumer solution to allow users to see the visual effect of a planning application. It will be possible to hold up a phone or tablet and see the impact of an application in order to enable informed engagement and increase community influence in decision making.

If you would like to be involved as a data partner, and have a project / development you would like to see – please feel free to get in touch – hello@linknode.co.uk or call us on 0141 559 6170

catapuly

 

 

New SNH Visualisation Guidance Published (Lighting)

We were reminded today that the latest version of the SNH “Visual Representation of Wind Farms” came out of draft and was published last month (February 2017).

Version 2.2 of the guidance is an iterative update following the major release update (v2.0) in summer 2014 and the v2.1 revisions in December the same year.

A summary document of changes has been published as a separate download and provides practitioners and interested parties a rapid insight into the changes without the need to compare paragraph by paragraph.  The major change, impacting visual assessment and output for new developments is in paragraphs 174-177:

Turbine Lighting

For turbines in excess of 150m, the need to consult on new lighting visuals is now required.  Although future technical mitigation may help here, there is currently the recommendation to capture images at dusk and create a photomontage based on existing lighting (static streets, moving vehicles, other aviation lighting).
The visualisation should use photographs taken in low light conditions, preferably when other artificial lighting (such as street lights and lights on buildings) are on, to show how the wind farm lighting will look compared to the existing baseline at night.

NOT the Way to Visualise Wind Turbine Lighting!

Specifically the guidance makes reference to innovation in that SNH “encourage applicants to explore new techniques to do this, and emphasise the importance of early dialogue

We are looking for someone who will be creating night light visualisations to ensure that our upcoming night light features being built into VentusAR will work. If you have a project at the right stage, get in touch!

Animation

As we have experienced with the difference between animated wind turbines when compared against static imagery, there is a big difference between views of lighting where all the turbines are at a “maximum visibility” (worst case scenario) visibility and a more normalised situation with different wind directions and rotation occluding lights at certain times.  The more realistic effect can create a fairy lights twinkling effect, but is more representative.

For any clients, landscape assessors, planners or developers interested in exploring new ways to communicate, please contact us at hello@ventusar.com

VentusAR 5.2 Released

Today we are pleased to announce that VentusAR 5.2 is available for installation and update to all our customers.

VentusAR v5.2 is a customer feature focussed release, responding to the most demanded requests of users.

Full details are available at the Release Notes online for all our platforms, features include:

  • A3 Render PDF production
  • Support for Dutch coordinate systems
  • Improved performance on the media pages
  • New baseline panorama options
  • Render rename support
  • iOS 10 and iPad Pro9 support

iPad VentusAR

VentusAR 5.3 is expected in early 2017.

What Does Pokémon GO Mean for AR?

Unless you have been under a rock for the past few weeks (July 2016), you can’t have helped but notice that Pokémon GO has somewhat taken the world by storm.  In doing so it has also brought the term “augmented reality” (AR) to the masses with everyone including Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg weighing in with comment and opinion.

Pokemon GO

Linknode use AR as a technology to provide real-world, real-time visualisation for planning and development, so what does the conversion of a technology into a consumer application mean?

The Google Maps Connection

Within the geospatial business, we have seen a similar transition previously.  Back in the day, when digital mapping meant high end desktops and expensive software, the introduction of online mapping had a disruptive effect on the industry.

A startup called Keyhole was acquired by Google in 2004 and the founder John Hanke went on to enable Google Maps.  This was the first time that most lay-people had had access to mapping beyond the street atlas in the back of the car.  It was a revolution.

Within the geospatial industry, initially it caused a dilution in the “value of GIS systems” message.  Why pay big bucks for something you could get for free from Google?

But long term the understanding that the consumer offering is not the same as professional solutions has created a market, provided a route to understanding and clarity over the limitations.  Pokémon GO does not manage occlusion, real-time lighting, complex models, or precision coordinate system management for engineering accuracy.

And what happened to John Hanke?  Well, he went onto develop a clique AR game called Ingress and then his studio Niantic developed Pokémon GO – the guy has form!  You can read more detail with a search, example Forbes article here.

Future

So the future is AR.  But Linknode’s real-world AR (GIality) solutions VentusAR and UrbanPlanAR are as different to Pokémon GO as ArcGIS is to Google Maps.  Still, at least people have an idea what we do now!

Mario Kart GoImage Courtesy of News Thump – Release of Mario Kart Go! for Satnav ‘hopefully won’t cause too many accidents’

Planning Review Scotland – Greater use of 3D

Independent Review of Planning – Recommendations

In September 2015, the Scottish Government put out a call for evidence under the Independent Review of Scottish Planning System. Linknode submitted our response on 30th November and this week (8 July 2016) the Scottish Government Response was announced on the Planning & Architecture blog.

There are two key recommendations in this report that demonstrate foresight and vision in the fields of innovation support for planning. Particularly around the use of 3D visualisations in the planning process.

Continue reading

Which is Better for a Public Meeting?

In the last few weeks, as part of our BIM stakeholder engagement for the Innovate UK funded UrbanPlanAR.com project, I have visited the UK Ordnance Survey (OS) and seen their presentations at Geo Business.

Whilst traditionally (for about the past 225 years) the OS has been involved in data capture and presentation, increasingly the business is understanding the value in the use of information.  Moving spatial data from geometry to intelligence and backdrop to analytical services.

In relation to Linknode’s geospatial visualisation, one slide from Gary McDonald resonates with our use of technology.  The opportunity to make change more accessible and understandable – and to deliver it on-site where context counts will lead to greater engagement and a more democratic and better decision making.  Which do you think is better?…

Which is better...

For more information on Linknode’s visualisation products and services visit VentusAR.com or follow the contact us links.

Data, Data, Everywhere…

… but what about spatial data security?

People expect instant access to location based data. That could be anything from a simple map to questions like, where is the nearest library? what is the current traffic? what does my holiday home look like?  In addition, initiatives like INSPIRE require data to be made available as download or services.

This push-pull for information has been simplified through the adoption of open standards, web mapping, cheap hardware, open source software and available skills coming out of universities.

Excellent… to a point.

When does open access and availability of spatial information become a risk to an organisation? Continue reading

Drone Visualisation

An obvious extension to the first-person visualisation experiences that Linknode deliver is using the same technology to deliver remote visualisation. By that, we mean to take the visualisation solution (mobile tablet) that our existing users hold in the field, and change the camera location. This could be to get a different perspective on a project or to place a point of view in a location which may be otherwise inaccessible or dangerous to access.
In theory, all the technical platform requirements (location, real-time sensors, 3D modelling, camera metrics and AR integration) that Linknode specialise in are the same as VentusAR and UrbanPlanAR. However, instead of the mobile platform being packaged into a consumer tablet, containing all the hardware we need, just like the best chefs we need to do some deconstruction of the product to create a new experience. Continue reading

AGI Scotland – 2016

Last week (16 March 2016) was the annual AGI Scotland event in Edinburgh.

Location is key to Linknode’s business – making information more relevant, accessible and understandable. The Association for Geographic Information is the profession for spatial scientists, geographers and GIS professionals and the Scottish program matched this variety. A couple of my highlights are below that resonated with our operations:

HES

Diana Murray spoke from the newly conglomerated Historic Scotland and the RCAHMS, forming Historic Environment Scotland in late 2015. HES have a vast array of georeferenced data exposed with services such as CANMORE. Digital provision has made the data more available – and hence more valuable. Diana explained how innovation in GIS and heritage is a key driver for the better understanding of data in order to make sense of the past. Linknode’s work in projects such as HistoryLens and with UPAR is 100% onboard with this vision.

Networks

Some great conference planning led to back-to-back presentations from the Canal & Rivers Trust and Network Rail. Both manage thousands of km of linear networks for leisure and transportation. 17th to 20th Century infrastructure is now managed by 21st Century mobile workforces, apps, 3D data and visualisation to increase efficiency and reduce downtime of complex services.
Some great examples of use of the data were given, but only scratching the surface of the big data being continually collected.

Google

Ed Parsons, who I worked with back in the last Millennium, is the Geospatial Technologist at Google and always hosts entertaining and thought provoking discussions.
With the interconnectedness of all things (IoT), and location, Ed asked what new services are we prepared to offer up our privacy for? As well as a suitably respectful discussion on philosophy of the late Douglas Adams.

And Finally

Rollo Home from the Ordnance Survey entertained with the observation that in space we struggle to orient well-defined frames of reference. In sci-fi the problem of “space and the y-axis” is always ignored as the very entertaining link explains!

212121-cartoon

For more information on the AGI, and the future of GIS and BIM, I recommend a review of the newly published Foresight Report.

Visualisation Interest Group

Last week (November 2015), Linknode hosted a Visualisation Interest Group at our offices in Glasgow. This is the third (annual) time that we have opened our doors to planners, developers, landscape professionals and practitioners. The aim was to create a forum for discussion with like-minded people and over 20 guests plus four speakers agreed. The afternoon was a balance that included new technical insight, communication & community engagement and research & guidance updates.

After an invitation to a demonstration of the capabilities of the new iPad Pro for in-field and business use (screen size, performance, apps). Crispin from Linknode set the scene with examples of how progress in renewables capacity and technical innovation are mirrored in what we see in our clients’ use of innovative visualisation solution VentusAR.

Slides - Vis-SIG - CH x3

Susie Duncan, Principal Digital Designer, from LUC started the community session with a talk that began with a discussion as to whether “The Visualisation Challenge” really was “The Usual Carnage”. Slides - Vis-SIG - LUC x1 Susie led us through the extensive options and capabilities that are available to practitioners as well as the challenges that face professionals in dissemination of visual information. And corresponding challenges in community consumption of what is complex spatial information.

Victoria McCusker, Principal Consultant, representing Facilitating Change followed-up with a complementary presentation focussing on experiences and practicality of working with communities. Slides - Vis-SIG - FC x1 Tori described the Scottish Planning Equals Effective Engagement & Delivery (SP=EED) from Planning Aid for Scotland (PAS) and demonstrated with real-world examples that the visual and environmental impact remain the most important issues in comments received on proposals.

A short refreshment break (excellent cakes from Piece) gave a chance for discussion and to review some of the new Virtual Reality headsets. At the consumer level we had several Google Cardboard samples and Heriot-Watt demonstrated their tools using visualisation for education and training at height with the Oculus Rift headset.

Dr David Simmons, lecturer and research lead, from the University of Glasgow School of Psychology kicked-off the final session. David outlined some of the human factors affecting our visual perception and understanding. Slides - Vis-SIG - Gla x1 David related these to presented research into the differences between paper, digital and animated views of the same scene – in a controlled version of a viewpoint or community engagement exercise.
Quality animation is a key differentiator in digital visualisation and (as always) more research into the distinction between object animation in a view (ie a turbine) versus background animation (ie a live video feed) would be useful.

Finally, Marc van Grieken of MGLVA reported on new work undertaken by the Landscape Institute Technical Committee on “proportionality”. Marc is a respected speaker who clearly and articulately defined the problem of chasing ever-increasing accuracy for all situations. This leads to limitations (expense, time) in GLVIA. The broad approach of proportionality intends to approve the use of different levels of assessment at different stages – levels of information appropriate to the decision making point or process at that time.
We cannot share Marcs slides as the Landscape Institute is still to go through a review process – but expect to see news early in 2016 that we will of course share when it becomes public.

Many thanks to all the speakers for their time and effort – and to the attendees, some of whom travelled a long way to be part of the event. Copies of the presentations are below and for more information on any of the discussions, please contact any of the team at Linknode directly.

Downloads:
Land Use Consultants (Susie Duncan)
Facilitating Change (Victoria McCusker)
University of Glasgow (David Simmons)