High Resolution Imaging and High Accuracy Mapping of Informal Cities
More than half the current global population lives in cities. United Nations projections estimate that this number will rise to 70 percent by 2050. About 32% of this current urban population—1 billion people—reside in an urban geography that is often literally off the map, illegal, and generally beyond the reach of government services and infrastructure. In an ongoing collaboration between the IDSC and the School of Architecture, our software engineers are experimenting with tools and techniques for documenting urban informal settlements that will provide a lower barrier of entry to others interested in engaging in similar projects. These tools include software for advanced image analysis and mapping using hand-held mobile devices, as well as autonomous aerial vehicles (aka drones), that allow for a level of detail, ease of use and frequency of observation currently not readily available (at reasonable cost) to these communities.
ORTHOPHOTO: Las Flores Informal Settlement, Barranquilla Colombia | Click here for more detailed photos
“With Pencils and Drones, Architects Put Informal Cities on the Map“ by Robert C. Jones | eVeritas, January 9, 2017
The 26-story tower of the historic Biltmore Hotel rises majestically into the sky over Coral Gables. Visible for miles, it’s an icon, a landmark on the National Historic Register, and a lush and ornate example of classic Spanish colonial influences in Mediterranean Revival architectural style. Ninety years after its grand opening, it is being born again in virtual 3D, thanks to an innovative use of drones and revolutionary developments in mapping technologies created at CCS. The project is the brainchild of UM Department of Art and Art History Prof. Karen R. Mathews (a CCS Member), involving a collaboration between UM faculty and students across a variety of disciplines, the City of Coral Gables, and historically-minded members of the community.
The project began in the Spring 2016 semester with a detailed analysis of three historic 1920s buildings: ”I wanted buildings that had rich architectural detail—sculpture, three-dimensional ornamentation—so that we could see how effective our 3-D modeling technologies would be in capturing a complex architectural exterior and facade,” Prof. Mathews said.
Then came the wizardry of the Software Engineering team from CCS with a mix of standard digital photography and picture-taking drones flying in precisely regimented patterns creating thousands upon thousands of high-quality photos that are brought together through the technique of photogrammetry to form a mesh known as a point cloud.
”The virtue of the cloud is that one can experience this building as a three-dimensional model by animating it, moving it, circulating around it, spinning it on its axis,” Prof. Mathews said. ”From my perspective as an architectural historian, it has to be able to zoom in and get incredibly detailed images of architectural detail—of ornamentation, of decorative sculpture, of figurative sculpture. And that’s what this technique really has allowed us to do.” The team added three additional buildings for the fall semester. Eventually, she hopes to create a web-based experience that allows users to interact with the map and view and learn about the buildings through photographs, videos, and the 3D models. She also foresees an app-based approach that could offer on-site audio tours during real-world visits to the structures.
SOURCE: ”A Recreation of the Real World” by Carlos Harrison | UM eNews 1/10/2017
Project Description + More Photos: “3D Modeling in the Urban Classroom: Using Photogrammetry for the Study of Historic Architecture in Coral Gables, Florida“, The Journal of Interactive Technology & Pedagogy, 2/21/2018
The weekend before Thanksgiving, UM School of Architecture Prof. Adib Cure was working with CCS’s Software Engineering program at Santa Cruz del Islote, off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia, continuing their research on documenting informal cities with drones and digital mapping technologies, as well as interviewing residents of the island known as “the most crowded island on earth.”
While there, Cure was invited to participate on a one-day conference in Bogota, sponsored by Foros Semana, the Colombian Ministry of Housing and others on November 23: “Politica Integral de Vivienda y construccion sostenible: retos y oportunidades” (Comprehensive housing policy and sustainable construction: Challenges and Opportunities). The conference focused on recent efforts of the national government of Colombia to offer more than 100,000 free homes and to invest 4.5 trillion pesos in drinking water projects, balancing that with sustainabilty concerns. Cure was one of the experts who commented on the government program in the second half of the conference. According to the conference website, “Adib Cure stressed the importance that Colombia envisions its cities of tomorrow in an international context, but with local execution, giving priority to the renovation and restoration over demolition.”
Cure also spoke about the work he, Carie Penabad, Chris Mader, and Amin Sarafraz of CCS have done on mapping informal cities, work produced in his Vernacularology studios over the past three years, which includes the study and documentation of vernacular typologies—the various types of buildings in local architectural traditions—and elements of culture that influence them. He also described Cure & Penabad’s most recent built work in Guatemala, which directly engages the topics of sustainability, as well as vernacular and contemporary building traditions.
SOURCE: UM School of Architecture News