Istanbul, Turkey: A team of researchers from Istanbul Technical University (ITU), Turkey, developed a technique for tracking changes in a city’s skyline using 3D GIS. They developed a 3D model of Istanbul’s skyline. With it, they were able to track changes to the skyline over the previous decade and to simulate the construction of hypothetical new buildings to understand their impact on the skyline.
In a paper published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning, the researchers wrote, “Such a great variation of the skyline over the last decade has revealed the fact that the need for an analytical approach to preserve the identity of the mega city is essential.”
As development pressures increase in cities all over the world, there’s a greater chance that iconic or even historic elements of a city’s skyline will be overshadowed or overpowered by new development. Caner Guney, lead author of the paper argued that unless there’s a clear record of the skyline, it will be impossible to preserve it.
“Skyline development is a matter for public consultation and collective judgment,” wrote Guney. “The use of 3D GIS to engage public discussion in skyline development needs to be clear from the outset.”
John Hildreth, Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s southern office in Charleston said the idea of using GIS to track and model skylines could be a new approach for making more comprehensive preservation efforts.
“Everybody has a visual memory of the city that either they like the way it is now, or they remember it back when, so being able to track those changes could definitely help policymakers,” Hildreth added. But, he argued, not every skyline can or should be saved as they are dynamic things.
Guney explained the GIS approach he and his co-authors used has relevance in any city interested in preserving or maintaining historic skyline elements. The authors noted that 3D applications using GIS are only beginning to emerge. Guney argued that sharing 3D spatial content on the internet can help to get more information out about the details of city skylines and historic views, and improve the utility of this technique. By creating maps and models, cities and citizens and preservationists can have a better understanding of exactly what a city’s skyline is – and what could be lost.
Source: The Atlantic Cities