Διεθνές Συνέδριο «CHANGING CITIES V: Spatial, Design, Landscape, Heritage & Socio-economic Dimensions»
Το συνέδριο έλαβε χώρα στις 20-25 Ιουνίου 2022, Κέρκυρα.
Το συνέδριο πραγματοποιήθηκε στα Αγγλικά.
Eco–Time Machine: using new representational technologies to take a 4D tour in landscape history
Landscape emerges as a critical perspective in the environmental and geographical studies, planning and management, as it combines natural with social dimensions, objective processes with cultural, subjective perceptions. However, because of its romantic background, landscape is often perceived as an unhistorical unity. Thus, it is important to remind ourselves that rural, urban or suburban landscapes are changing entities, with a specific history, determined by complex and interacting social and environmental processes. New representational technologies, including virtual and augmented reality, may offer adequate tools which can highlight this historical dimension; while they have been widely used to depict monuments or buildings, they have rarely been used until now at the landscape climax. Through the research project “Ecotime Machine”, we studied the landscape history of a rural, mountainous area of North Greece (South–East Gramos, Perf. Kastoria), combining different approaches coming from environmental and social studies, including air photo interpretation, photogrammetry, vegetable sampling, fauna monitoring, palynology, interviews and anthropological research. Additionally, we used a succession model (Landis) and developed more techniques in order to simulate vegetation’s history, as well as projections for the future and alternative scenarios for the past. Finally, we developed two applications that can represent the landscape history, for research, educational and promotional purposes. The first application is based on an augmented 3D rendering and visualization software developed for the project. It represents the main elements of the landscape (vegetation including cultivated plants, road network, riverbeds and the settlements) in a mixed, wide–scale 3D image, offering the possibility of observing the changes that the area underwent in space and time. The software was developed in the Unity3D environment. It utilizes georeferencing technologies and localization, position and orientation of the user on Android mobile devices, in order to depict in superposition with the nowadays landscape the three–dimensional representation of its history.
The second application, a Progressive Web Application based on Microsoft’s Azure cloud services, provides a 2D representation of various spatial layers of the landscape. Besides the spatial dimension, the web app introduces a temporal dimension so that the user can navigate in different historical moments, as well as in the future. The 2D application can host and represent a large volume of spatial data due to a non–SQL database (CosmosDB). Moreover, administrators of the application need only to use their preferred GIS software to produce the required spatial layers.
In our project, we have chosen a rural area, in order to highlight that natural landscapes have a rich and contradictory history. Nevertheless, the methods and the technologies developed can be also used for urban and suburban landscapes.