The Power of Playtime

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Our family went to a local tourist attraction the other week.   To visit ‘that’ rabbit whose name is Peter… a small and quite nice attraction with nicely detailed displays of the favourite characters, not to mention an evil gift shop (evil if you have small kids that is).  We’ve read some of the books to our little ones but they’ve also seen the newer Cbeebies TV show so they new what was going on.   My wife and I had problems holding them back, being a small attraction there was a real danger of racing through everything in under 15 minutes and missing some of the details and cute mice.

Then we got to the interactive room and they stopped racing, in the centre of the room was a table…. an interactive ‘touch screen’ table.  The kind daddy dreams he could play with at home.  Both of them (3 and 5 years old) almost immediately set about using it.   The touchscreen had two elements a map where you could bring up streetview style views, and a section of puzzles and colouring-in pictures.  Within less than a minute both of them had ‘got it’.   I had to drag them off this interactive wonder to let other kids have a go.   I noticed a similar pattern emerged in this room, children would enter the room see the table and immediately start playing with it, the adults glanced at the table and went to read some of the static displays round the edge of the room.  Some adults would come to the table and touch a few things but pretty quickly move away and look at other things.

This got me thinking, are the adults avoiding the table because they don’t know what to do with it, or do they not want the rest of the adults to think ‘they’re just playing’?

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Interview on BBC Radio Cumbria – fibre & future proofing rural broadband

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The legendary Martin Lewes!

but it’s far more than a picture or a map it’s one of the most sophisticated programs in the world for designing everything from housing estates to whole cities

On the 16th of September Martin Lewes (@martinlewes) from BBC Radio Cumbria came to visit our offices.   His interest was primarily in the local community broadband project called ‘FibreGarden’.   We had a chat about the work Garsdale Design Limited did and it’s exciting new working in 3D urban modelling using CityEngine.

Listen here to the Radio Interview with Martin Lewes on the Mike Zeller show fast forward to 1:55.12 [Broacast 24th September 2014]

I’ve been asked many times about why we need fibre optic broadband in our area and what it will mean for a business like ours.   Needless to say it will help us stay competitive and allow us to work from the Dales across the globe.   Fortunately they’re breaking ground in October and starting the actual laying of the cables!  You can find our more about FibreGarden (aka DigitalDales) by clicking here.

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Back story – “Master Planning Cities in Iraq” or “Sedbergh, where is it?”

Nasiriyah Overview

Well this is a topical post and it’s not a coincidence! Some of you who know me, know that I’ve been working on a number of city related projects in southern Iraq. Those that don’t, now do…

I’ve already written a couple of times about our Iraq projects more as a mention rather than a full article (apart from this one here “An interesting day at the office GIS & masterplanning in Iraq”), but those who haven’t I’ll give you some background.

For me it is very rewarding work but sometimes it is ‘just another day at the office’ work.  I’ve realised that many people have found what we do and where we do it from to be an interesting story.

…sometimes it is ‘just another day at the office’ work

  1. A family firm
  2. City Master Plans
  3. Iraq Projects
  4. What’s it like working on a project based in Iraq?
  5. Consultation
  6. Training
  7. Location, location, location
  8. Why am I in the Guardian
  9. Sedbergh – Yorkshire Dales or Cumbria

Read more

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In case you missed it: I’m on the Guardian Cities blog

‘We can’t go to Iraq because it’s too dangerous’ ... Derrick and Elliot Hartley of Garsdale Design in Sedbergh. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

‘We can’t go to Iraq because it’s too dangerous’ … Derrick and Elliot Hartley of Garsdale Design in Sedbergh. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

A week or so back I met with Stuart Jeffries a writer for the Guardian to chat about our interesting in work in Iraq and our exciting future in 3D.   The result was what seems like a popular article in the Guardian Cities blog.

Whilst many people have quoted other passages one of my favourites is this:

To my eyes, there’s a touch of the pleasure of playing video games to Elliot’s work – certainly it looks like great fun.

He’s not wrong!

Elliot Hartley and Stuart Jeffries hanging out...

Me and Stuart Jeffries hanging out…

I’ve read a lot of the comments, both below the article and on twitter.  To be fair I think it’s been quite a positive response, clearly the article didn’t address everyone’s concerns though.  As to the usual trolling well that’s the internet.   I think I will write a response to the article and post it here in the coming days, more for my therapy than anything else.  Thank you to all those who retweeted the story and responded both positively and negatively to the story, I genuinely mean that.

You can read more here.

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Sedbergh 3D in ArcGIS Pro

 

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted here sorry!   I’m getting ready for my Miami PathFinder workshop but as a bit of break I’ve been working with CyberCity3D data of my home town in ArcGIS Pro.  Here’s what I like, drag ‘n’ drop, split screen 2D and 3D and I love being able to connect the views so as I zoom and pan in 2D I get the same actions in the 3D pane (or vice versa).   You don’t have to have the, linked but it’s fun.   I also think being able to do 2D and 3D on one paper map layout is going to give us some interesting maps.

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If you’re based in Sedbergh and want to us this 3D model, please don’t hesitate to get in contact!

3D Building Data from CyberCity3D

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Floor splits

Whether you do floor splits in CityEngine or another program, the results can look quite nice.   I thought I’d share some in progress screenshots (not a real project just a proof of concept).

The floor splits a recoloured using a color ramp function but you can feed in floor area or height as an attribute to change the colour.  As with everything CityEngine, this is only the begining..

Webscene by Garsdale Design Limited

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3D Building Data from CyberCity3D

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Esri UC Q&A – 3D

As I’m only interested in the 3D part of Esri’s Q&A for the User Conference I thought I’d paste it here (I’ll probably have some commentary coming as well in a later post) :

More can be read on the official site here.

Esri has written questions and answers to keep our customers informed on our efforts in software development, products, education, and support; future plans in these areas; and our thoughts on GIS and the industry as a whole. Our purpose for sharing this information is to help our users be successful in their use of GIS. Please feel free to share with your colleagues.

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