Thursday, January 06, 2022

The Collapse of Chaplain South

In my round-up of the 50 Best Maps of 2021 I commented on the number of impressive animated 3D maps / models which were created by online news websites during the last twelve months in order to illustrate news stories. It appears that the graphic teams of many large news organizations are now capable of creating very sophisticated 3D graphics which can be combined with web scrollytelling to provide intricate modeled illustrations of major news events.

A very good example of this can be seen in the Miami Herald's investigation into the collapse of the Champlain Towers in Surfside Florida. On the night of June 24th 2021 the Chaplain Towers Condominium collapsed killing 98 people. In House of Cards the Miami Herald uses 3D modeling and building plans to show how poorly designed architectural plans and inadequate structural engineering resulted in the construction of a building which was to all intents and purposes structurally unsafe. 

The 3D models in the Miami Herald investigation are used to show how these initial design flaws became evident in the structural problems of the finished building. Problems that the condo association decided were too expensive to fix. As you progress through the Herald's story a 3D plan of the building is used to recount the movements of some of the building's occupants on the night of June 24th and to illustrate their testimony of the building's collapse. 

This illustrated recount of the building's collapse is reinforced with audio recordings of eye witness accounts and with video footage captured of the tower's collapse.The result is a very harrowing but superbly illustrated chronological retelling of the events of June 24th. 

Here are links to some other examples of news organizations using 3D models to illustrate and explain major news events:

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