Monday, November 21, 2005

Virtual Los Angeles

I recently ran across a really cool site about Los Angeles. It is incredible. It has some really cool computer generated pictures and trips through LA that are a trip - literally! It's crazy what can be done in the age of computers. You can take a trip from Mariachi Plaza to Disney Concert Hall through the First Street Flyover (windows media), which by the way feels pretty much like the real thing, except on this trip you get all green lights and have no traffic. Check out the proposed parking garage (windows media) and redevelopment options for the area north of downtown. You can find all of this stuff on UCLA's Urban Simulation Team website. It is amazing!

You can also find some pictures of Santa Monica, Hollywood, UCLA,LAX,Downtown, Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Pasadena, LA Freeways, and much more.

According to the UCLA Urban Simulation website their focus is "a long-term effort to build real-time virtual reality model of the entire Los Angeles basin for use by Architects, Urban Planners, Emergency Response Teams, and government entities. The team has already finished major sections of the city... and negotiations are currently underway for other areas of the city."

According to the site, "When completed, the entire virtual Los Angeles model will cover an area well in excess of 10,000 square miles and will elegantly scale from satellite images to street level views accurate enought to allow the signs and windows of the shops and the graffiti on the walls to be legible... Where you can fly, drive and/or walk through the virtual LA model simultaneously... the possible uses of this model are endless. The team has been in discussions with the city of Los Angeles about the feasibility of using the model in conjuntion with Global Positional System transponders to accurately locate and remotely manage emergency response vehicles in real-time." All i can say is fascinating!


At 6:28 AM, Blogger jimi said...

fascinating? probably.
but worth it? not so sure.

sounds to me more like another "we do it because we can do it" project. Pardon the cynicism...

At 11:14 AM, Blogger J.R. Woodward said...


Okay, maybe I went overboard on the adjectives. But as a person who has come to love LA I was just amazed at the accuracy of this virtual reality tour, down to the signs and windows.

I was also enthusiastic by the various ways that this technology could be used to better the city. Of course those who keep up with the latest of technology or are involved in the "video game" world, are probably not too amazed. But as one who is not involved in playing video games and not always up with the latest on technology I thought this was pretty cool.

My sense is that they are looking to use it for a bit better use than just playing games. That's a start.

At 12:28 PM, Blogger jimi said...

oh don't get me wrong, i too was amazed by the description, and wasn't trying to stamp yours out at all...i was just sitting here thinking "where does a project like that get its funding?" Especially while i am struggling through Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, and trying to find money for my dissertation project (religion, networks and HIV, with a bit of a rural Africa focus) its astonishing to me how easily things like that, church building campaigns (whoops, did i throw that in there?), or sport teams never seem to be struggling for funds. i know that you have a good sense of balance in this area, so wasn't trying to bring you down on this at all, i was just bemoaning other things...sorry

i hope you're right about the use bits of this one. Maybe there is something of real value/benefit in this project. Hopefully.

At 10:42 PM, Blogger J.R. Woodward said...

thanks for sharing that jimi. i hear you. i would like to talk sometime about your project.

At 7:45 AM, Blogger jimi said...

let me get it a little more underway first, but i'd love to chat. i will probably be in LA in late March-early April for a conference. i know its a ways off, but not nearly as far as it sounds. Plus i should have a good groundwork by then. Maybe we can grab some time then.

At 10:46 AM, Blogger J.R. Woodward said...


that sounds good.


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