This Old Digital City: Virtual Historical Cedar Rapids circa
Digital Artefacts, The University of Iowa, and The History Center, in Cedar
Rapids, have created a 3D immersive interactive museum exhibit
called "This Old Digital City: Virtual Historical Cedar Rapids circa 1900"
(TODC). TODC uses state-of-the-art real-time interactive virtual environment
technology to immerse visitors in a 3D reconstruction of
turn-of-the-20th-century Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Museum patrons sit in and operate a
"time machine" to tour a twenty-five square block region of the city modeled in
high resolution 3D graphics. As visitors tour the city, they are able to access
multimedia content associated with buildings and other historically significant
sites. The TODC work represents a new use of high-end virtual environment
technology as an interface to historical archives.
U.S. Representative Jim Leach (R-Iowa) saw a demonstration of the in-progress
TODC project and said "This is one of the most exciting learning techniques in
America." and "It's barely at its potential for use." (Cedar Rapids Gazette
The images below, captured during real-time display of the partially
completed TODC environment, show buildings that no longer exist in Cedar Rapids.
Models were created using black-and-white photographs, historical material and
color information, blueprints, and insurance maps.
Other information about the project:
- 8-page paper detailing project two years later, presented at the Virtual Heritage session of the 8th International VSMM Conference, Gyeong-ju, Korea, Sept. 25-27, 2002.
- "History Center opens virtual reality drive", Cedar Rapids Gazette article, 10/27/00, by Dick Hogan. You can see on-line at www.gazetteonline.com if you have a subscription.
- "Time Well Spent", Cedar Rapids Gazette article 10/09/00
- Two page article in summer issue of Multigen's TakeFlight. This pdf file is the whole issue. The TODC article starts on page 9.
- 8-page paper detailing project, presented at the Virtual Heritage session of the 6th International VSMM Conference, Softopia, Ogaki, Gifu, Japan, October 2000.
- Oct. 2000 presentation in Japan, a few weeks before the exhibit opened (Powerpoint, approximately 8MB)
(click to enlarge)
The image below shows an early artistís rendition of the TODC virtual
environment. The final design includes 3 6'x8' rear-projected screens and the
"time machine" interface vehicle depicted in the bottom sketch.
Copyright © 2000 Digital Artefacts