0115 82 32551
Horizon Digital Economy Research,
University of Nottingham,
NG8 1BB, UK.
Projection Augmented Relief Models
 The Projection Augmented Relief Model (PARM) system is an award winning new display system that provides a physical, 3-Dimensional approach to data visualization. Using digital projection onto physical models in combination with a dynamic display ecology, it combines the affordances of interactive mapping and physical landscape modelling to promote more effective engagement with users using both live data feeds and cultural heritage materials (see here). Our first installations indicate that it provides a compelling experience for users.Central to the display is a physical landscape model, which can be at a range of scales, mounted flat on a plinth around 80cm high, with a data projector mounted above. A touchscreen allows basic interaction, while a monitor mounted behind the model allows information related to the projections to be displayed, with displays able to coordinate by the PARM's authoring software.
\91Spots of Time\92 is the first museum installation based on the PARM technique, and was installed at the Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, Cumbria in August 2012. The Wordsworth Trust exhibits a range of archival material related to William Wordsworth (1770-1850), including connections to other poets, artists and the landscape itself. After detailed discussion with the curator Jeff Cowton a focus became \91Spots of Time\92, key events in Wordsworth\92s childhood that had connections with specific places in the landscape but which also related to poetry created in adulthood, notably \91The Prelude\92.
The aim was to raise awareness of the importance of place and memory in Wordsworth\92s work, but also to encourage visitors to study the original manuscripts on display elsewhere in the gallery space. The installation allowed visitors to select from three sequences via a touchscreen, each of which presented an extract from the manuscript synchronised with an audio narration along with animated map and image sequences projected onto the physical landscape model of the central Lake District.
The image above shows the installation (left), and snapshots from an animated text sequence (upper right) and animated map projections (lower right). Through observations of visitor\92s interactions with the display we are gaining an understanding of how to design for multiple display systems (bringing in the \91display ecologies\92 expertise of Stuart Reeves) where physical relief models are central, offering unique capabilities for presenting patterns in space and through time into their landscape context.
In order to develop the PARM system we have worked with Jake Durrant and Jeremy Gardner at the Digital Media lab. Rather than 3D printing, experimentation led to milling (a form of subtractive fabrication), as shown in the video below. Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) of the subject area manipulated in ArcGIS, and enhanced in 3D studio Max and Makya Expert. They are then exported to Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) milling machine software, which produces our final model:
- Dr James Goulding (Computer Science, Nottingham)
- Dr Gary Priestnall (Geography, Nottingham)
- Dr Stuart Reeves (Horizon Digital Economy Research, Nottingham)
- Dr Jeremy Gardiner,(Digital media, Ravensbourne)
- Dr Jake Durrant (Digital media, Ravensbourne)
- Projection Augmented Relief Models (PARM): Tangible Displays for Geographic Information, Priestnall, G., Gardiner, J., Durrant, J., Goulding, J., Electronic Visualisation and the Arts 2012, Covent Garden, London, July 11, 2012