Immersive environments are one of the newest areas of DH experimentation. 3D simulation, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality were until recently only accessible with high end hardware and produced end products that were so large they were hard to deliver over the internet. As the technology improves and internet bandwidth grows, these projects are now coming into their own. Today we will first explore some of the newer ways to generate 3D content, explore some projects that show the possibilities of these developments, and finally try our hand at making simple interactive 3D experiences.
David Bodenhamer suggests that 3D technologies can move us beyond GIS as a representation of space to a deeper understanding of place. He writes
For humanists, the goal is not proof but meaning. The challenge, then, is to use geospatial technologies to probe, explore, challenge, and complicate—in sum, to allow us to see, experience, and understand human behavior in all its complexity and to view its deep contingency. As in traditional humanities scholarship, the aim is less to produce an authoritative or ultimate answer than to prompt new questions, develop new perspectives, and advance new arguments or interpretations.David Bodenhamer, “Beyond GIS: Geospatial Technologies and the Future of History,” 2013
In groups: explore one of the following immersive 3D projects:
- Chinatown: Time Travel from the NY Times
- BAGAN: Google Arts & Culture
- Centring Spenser: Kilcolman Castle
Designate a reporter and be prepared to share the project and briefly answer all three questions. Reference the readings as you discuss.
- What new questions does it prompt?
- What new perspectives does it develop?
- What new arguments or interpretations does it advance?
Example: 3D Presentation in StoryMaps
The ArcGIS online mapping software we used last time can also be used in a 3D Scene mode that lets you extrude 2D shapes into 3D space and change perspective by flying around your map. You can get to know this tool with this interactive tutorial.
Once you’ve created 3D scenes, you can present them with explanatory text in a scrolling one-page presentation using the powerful StoryMaps tool. Check out the example below that takes our Squirrel census data and combines it with aerial and ground level views of NYC buildings and historic maps.