We are witnessing the greatest transformation since the invention of cave art in the way we communicate and interact with information about places. The virtual world of 3D spatial content is rapidly emerging as a game changer across many fronts.
Insights and a deeper meaning about places can be gathered through the 3D federation of spatial data. Any place at any time can be captured from a vast array of modalities - digital camera, satellite imaging, LiDAR and environmental sensors - and forensically reconstructed in precise detail to mirror real-world counterparts. This emerging landscape becomes a digital ecology of policy, digital content, technology innovation and knowledge.
Most importantly it offers us a framework on which to peg our collective knowledge and experience of places. This deluge of data cross-informs an evolving and intricate understanding of the built and natural environments that make up our cities and mark our identity and associations with the planet upon which we live. Rapid advances in building information technologies (such as BIM and Smart Sensors) are now becoming the very fabric of the city while provisioning urban services and helping us reduce our carbon footprint.
These advances will provide us with a deeper understanding of urban problems and challenge traditional urban governance and policy models. We will discover new ways of reengineering our cities to make them smart, responsive, competitive and equitable.
However, to realise these benefits we need to change the way we incentivise organisations and individuals to collect and use spatial data. We must make it easy and attractive for them to access the data, to play with it and to experiment. We need to encourage much more entrepreneurial use of spatial information. Cities are vastly complex and the challenges are daunting so we need to encourage a culture of collaboration between our cities to share their successes through a common innovative and enterprising delivery infrastructure. The rewards are high and far-reaching – digital cities will drive delivery of liveability, sustainability and knowledge economies agendas.
Where does the name MIMOSA come from?
The name is an acronym for SIBA’s digital cities initiative Multi-dimensional Information for MetrOpolitan Spatial Alliances. The reference to alliances is to the vision for the collaboration of the major urban centres of Australia and New Zealand around a common innovative open platform to support SIBA’s digital city vision. MIMOSA is an interdisciplinary project being driven by the private sector. The Australian and New Zealand communities, as well as the spatial industry, will benefit significantly from the project.
German astronomer Johann Bayer (1572-1625) gave the name Mimosa to the left-most star in the Southern Cross constellation. Just as this iconic constellation is shared by the flags of Australia and New Zealand, MIMOSA will be shared as a common collaborative building block for digitally weaving together a virtualised constellation of the major centres of our two nations. The name is derived from the Latin word for a mime. Project MIMOSA can considered as a digital mime or mirror of the physical world.
How will project MIMOSA realise Digital Cities?
Through Project MIMOSA, SIBA seeks to establish Australia and New Zealand as world leaders in the innovative application of spatial data.
Project MIMOSA can be considered as a journey towards the delivery of a constellation of digital cities and towns across Australia and New Zealand. The first milestone for this journey is the centenary of ANZAC Day on the 25th April 2015. By this date we are seeking to have an open forum for the forensic reconstruction of these places leading up to 1915 to share their ANZAC stories in 3D.
MIMOSA is a project that brings together cities and towns with state and national institutions and the many different spatial businesses in a truly interdisciplinary cross-sector project, while potentially linking them with the citizens of Australia and New Zealand. From this test bed, we will advance solutions for the technical challenges from private sector led innovation in crowd-sourcing, spatio-temporal, evidential and 3D Cadastre frameworks.
By enabling the 3D spatial discovery and sharing of stories from the past, we can better understand the present and inform better futures with digital cities. With this test bed we avoid the complexities invoked by vast data, proprietary, legal and rights issues that plague advancement of digital cities in the present era, while bringing a sharper focus on resolving the technological foundations of this digital ecology by demonstrating the benefits and potential of 3D data federation to wide audiences and citizenry.
The story of the ANZACs is embedded deep in our culture and many of these stories are held in the personal archives of citizens. We believe that by providing the community with the tools and frameworks to put their stories into these 3D worlds we can help citizens participate in capturing and telling their stories as well as advancing our leadership in 3D spatial capability. If we can learn to use spatial data on a massive scale, in a non-threatening environment, the benefits that will potentially flow into areas such as public engagement, in building more liveable and sustainable cities and improving public safety are substantial. But perhaps the most significant benefit is the uplift it will provide the spatial industry.
What are the benefits of project MIMOSA?
Project MIMOSA has been initiated to stimulate and promote the spatial industry. Ultimately it has the potential to drive massive demand across nationwide activity in a way that few other applications can achieve.
It is a truly multidisciplinary project that will potentially see every school child and vast numbers of the population creating and interacting with 3D spatial content. Imagine every RSL screening all its ANZAC veterans showing the towns and places they came from, their journeys and stories, the people they fought with all in 3D.
It will generate the motivation for individual citizens and organisations to create and play with 3D spatial content.
It will make accessible the tools, services and data needed to transform old photographs, texts and memories into virtual 3D stories that can be preserved for the benefit of the whole community.
It will engage with cities and towns across both nations, but it is not just about government, it is about private enterprise; small businesses working with the community and government to provide the capability and capacity to pull off one of the most ambitious projects in 2013-15.
Project MIMOSA is responding to a particular point in time, a point when populations are rapidly increasing and urban spaces are rapidly expanding; where understanding and utilizing all the associated information (known as spatial information) is now more vital and relevant than ever before.
So, what is Project MIMOSA? For many, it’s a concept that might be difficult to grasp, simply because it’s a big idea—a really big idea! Essentially, Project MIMOSA seeks to establish Australia and New Zealand as world leaders in the innovative application of spatial information; to connect various cities and places using a dynamic framework which allows our collective knowledge and experiences of places to be shared. In short, Project MIMOSA is pioneering the Digital City.
So, what is a Digital City? Does it simply mean we now have smart phones and internet access? No. A Digital City reflects the fact that cities are beginning to surpass nations, in terms of their significance, relevance and recognition.A Digital City reflects how we interact with information and place (and how we share this material), which has changed radically in recent times.
A Digital City reflects our understanding of the built environment and its relationship with nature, which determines the cities we live in and how technology is shaping the way we design our cities. Not only does the Digital City reflect our world today, it also draws valuable information from the past and helps represent what our future will look like. With this in mind, it is vital that a focused platform for dialogue (and sharing of information) between cities is established. This is Project MIMOSA’s purpose.
How does all this work? In simple terms, we can think of Project MIMOSA and Digital Cities in three distinct, but connected ways:
1. The Biographical Place
Each place or building has a history—a story which is specific to that location and which draws from the natural environment and an interaction with people. Although a lot of data or information is easily available today it is generally raw data, meaning it’s rarely connected with other relevant data and information about the particular place or building in question. And this raw data is rarely validated, in terms of whether the information is true and accurate. Most of the time, connecting and validating raw data is left up to the individual, group or researcher. However, Project MIMOSA provides a platform where it is possible to present—and visualise in immersive three dimensions—the full story of a place or building, for example through the use of photographs and images combined with historical records. The result is a complete, information-rich and accurate biographical story of a specific place or building; a biographical story that can be trusted.
2. Leveraged Information
Project MIMOSA is perfectly poised to influence and guide policy at a local and/or national level. Put simply, the information gathered and validated by Project MIMOSA can determine short, medium and long-term strategies for Digital Cities which will have a direct impact on urban planning, economic and environmental decisions. Not only that, the information-rich data provided by Project MIMOSA will encourage a plethora of entrepreneurial and/or commercial applications, many of which we haven’t even considered today. And the rapid development of technology will only expedite this process.
3. Digital Earth
Project MIMOSA is scalable and can cater to larger global issues, those which are critical to our survival including, Climate Change; Food and Fresh Water Security; and Environmental Refugees, among many other significant issues. Aggregating validated and accurate information, which is provided by multiple sources and locations, can help tackle some of the biggest issues facing our economies, environment and survival in ways one organisation or individual could never achieve.
The intention is that this shared information will permeate or influence every aspect of a city, whether that is in regard to advances in building information technologies that lead to developing better, smarter and more environmentally sustainable buildings, or whether it influences urban planning and policy decisions, among many other things.
However, to realise these benefits it is imperative to change the way we incentivise organisations and individuals to collect and use this spatial information. For a start, it must be easy and attractive for them to access the information, to play with it and to experiment. A more entrepreneurial use of spatial information must be encouraged. Cities are vastly complex and the challenges are daunting so it is crucial to encourage a culture of collaboration between our cities—to share our successes, as well as our hurdles, through a common innovative and enterprising delivery infrastructure.
The rewards are high and far reaching: Digital Cities will help increase the livability, sustainability and knowledge economies on a massive scale and this will have a deep impact on every aspect of our cities: culturally, environmentally and economically.
Project MIMIOSA’s first initiative is called ANZAC: Places Past and will coincide with the ANZAC Day centenary on April 25th, 2015. The project will focus on recreating the people, towns and places (and associated stories) leading up to 1915. Delivered in an immersive 3D experience, it will bring together numerous towns, cities, institutions and spatial industry experts across Australia and New Zealand in a truly interdisciplinary cross-sector initiative.
For many, the story of the ANZACs is embedded deep in our culture. Significant elements of this story are often held in the personal archives of citizens, through photographs and other documentation. We believe that providing the community with the tools and frameworks to put their stories into these 3D worlds can help citizens participate in capturing and telling their stories in a way never experienced before. Not only will this be a significant historic project, it will have huge cultural significance and provide a new avenue to explore and understand the relationship between the people and the places of this particular period—and how it has affected and shaped our society today.
Project MIMOSA is an interdisciplinary project being driven by the private sector. The Australian and New Zealand communities, as well as the spatial industries in general, will benefit significantly from the project.
SIBA is leading and facilitating the MIMOSA platform and we welcome your participation and feedback. Please contact us for further information.