Thursday, October 13, 2022

Mapping the Growth of a City in 3D

Zurich 4D is an interactive 3D map of Switzerland's largest city. The map was developed by the city's Building Department in order to provide a freely accessible 3D model of the city. 

The Zurich 4D map allows you to explore more than 50,000 buildings in Zurich in glorious 3D and is used by the city for planning construction projects, modeling noise pollution, and city planning etc. What interests me more however is that Zurich 4D is also being used to show how the city of Zurich developed over the centuries. Currently, as well as the 3D map of the modern city, Zurich 4D also includes digital 3D models of the city in 3000 BC and in 1800. Alongside the modern 3D map of the city these two historical maps provide a fascinating insight into how the city of Zurich has developed over time.

If you closely explore the ancient 3000 BC model of Zurich you might be able to spot a few Neolithic stilt houses nestled among the trees. The 3D model of the city in 1800 shows a city which is still largely confined within its medieval city walls. Skip forward to view the 3D model of the modern city and it is now hard to even discern the location of the historic city walls amongst the modern sprawl of Zurich. 

The historical maps in Zurich 4D remind me a little of Welikia Project's Beyond Manhatta map. This interactive map displays Manhattan Island and its native wildlife, as it would have looked in 1609. The map allows you to explore New York's original natural landscape of hills, valleys, forests, wetlands, salt marshes, beaches, springs, ponds and streams. 

Beyond Manhatta was developed by consulting the earliest historical maps of Manhattan Island. The historical environmental conditions were also determined by taking soil surveys and examining tree rings. These surveys were reinforced by early historical accounts of New York, that were consulted for descriptions of the natural environment which existed before the city's development.

No comments: