Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Augmented Reality: Maps

Microsoft strikes again. Here's the just-concluded TED Conference 2010 demonstration of the augmented-reality mapping technology. It's an advanced digital way to look at and move through urban environments, buildings, interiors, people, and see the sky...

The ability to quickly see places in digital space will change our ability to understand and analyze physical design problems in all their dimensions without being overwhelmed with data. Many times building design does not take into account the environment around it, and this is a breakthrough that will keep the character and scale of the space in front of the designers from the start. Different "what if" scenarios can be inserted directly in order to approximate probable solutions and generate alternate design options without having to construct laborious models of each one. These ideas can be rapidly blocked out digitally, as well as hand sketched and modeled with paper (these methods can be interchangeable, each has its strengths). This is especially true as most new work will be adaptive reuse in existing cities, particularly with an eye on energy savings and incorporating better sustainable design.

The beauty of simple digital tools is the ability to capture ideas that would be difficult to scale and model simply with paper. Understanding, of course, that the next iteration is true structure and scale. No more rubber rulers.