Virtual worlds can be a valuable means to plan for the future. For the city of Dubuque, Iowa, a web-based 3D “Virtual Dubuque” means that city planners can take advantage of this type of visualization to get feedback from citizens earlier in the process than ever before.
Arch Virtual, a team of designers, 3D modelers and programmers, developed a 3D simulation of Dubuque that is easy to navigate. It’s not only the buildings themselves that can be explored -- the platform allows valuable information to be presented as well. For example, floating signboards over an available office space can display its amenities. One can learn more about a historic building, even one that used to exist in that space. Additional information added for a local business could be its hours of operation and website link. The possibilities are endless for government, local businesses, and services to impart information to the public using virtual technologies.
The creators Jon Brouchoud and Kandy Brouchoud see the virtual rendering not as a mere a static picture, but one that can include geolocation to real world coordinates, dynamic links to databases, and layers of interactive content. They consider this type of technology to be invaluable for improving the efficiency of architecture and the built environment by providing realtime 3D simulations and cutting edge design collaboration methods.
City planners, architects, developers, and builders can utilize the technology to envisage interior renovations or to prototype brand new building designs. Architectural blueprints of buildings can be imported to explore to share your vision with the community or keep it private until you’d like it unveiled.
Within the base model of Virtual Dubuque, standard renderings of the city buildings currently appear. Community members can contact the developers in order to upgrade and customize a space to include more information about an organization, and its interior, or supplementary 3D models. In fact, Virtual Dubuque is a publicly accessible base model, with multiple branch models that can be fine-tuned and embedded directly on an organization’s web page.
Furthermore, this virtual rendering is a great way to show off a city, since it can capture the experience of moving through the actual city to learn what it’s like to live, work, and play there. The virtual model allows visitors to understand Dubuque in a holistic and engaging way that captures more of the life and energy of the city than just viewing its photo gallery on the city web site, for example.
In order to use Virtual Dubuque to help visualize a new architectural project or city planning concept, Arch Virtual will accept an architectural sketch, blueprints, or CAD file and incorporate it directly into the virtual model. You can keep the model private, although it seems like a great opportunity to add it as a layer to the public virtual space to get community input and feedback on any new design.
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