The Virtual Cities Project

The Virtual Cities Project uses 3D to present urban historical information alongside representations of related lost historic landscapes. Using our palette of editing tools, users can create their own 3D cities and link both text and images to landscape features.

Perhaps the greatest challenge we’ve faced with the project was selecting an appropriate 3D software. We deployed a number of technologies before we settled on Google Earth, the Google Earth plugin, and the associated toolset and libraries, which allowed us to shift focus away from implementation and instead concentrate on developing a database of historical information and 3D models. The end of life of the plugin and the associated API forced us to go back to finding a suitable alternative technology. In Cesium we have found such an alternative that, in many ways, is superior to the software it will replace. The images below are of functioning prototypes. The work has gone well and we expect the transition to be completed well before the plugin’s end-of-life.

Buildings

We use Cesium to provide context to various buildings of historical significance.

Info Box Info Box

A real-time infoBox editor, shown here before and after the Test button is pressed, helps in the content creation process.

Frame

Occasionally it is appropriate to show content in a separate frame, such as when that content has a wider context.

Timeline Timeline

The Cesium timeline allows us to step through a site’s history.