New Visualization Tool Targets Environmentally Sensitive Development Projects

Evans&Sutherland Computer Corp. today released a visualization tool designed for real estate developers, consulting engineers, architects and municipal planners involved in urban or suburban development projects.

The new system, called RAPIDsite, can provide a photo-realistic model of an area of up to 50 acres, including as many as 50 new or existing buildings, allowing users to take a 3-D virtual tour of a proposed land development project at street level.

The system, which provides background imagery that extends to the horizon, is designed to give users a chance to see a development project in a realistic context, according to the Salt Lake City-based company.

"Both the public and private sector feel the need to present accurately what things are going to look like," said Bob Ard, E& S' applications group vice president. "The whole purpose is to enable the collaboration to exist between all the parties involved in a new development."

RAPIDsite replaces artist renderings, model boards, topographical maps and other traditional methods used by policy-makers and the general public to preview a development. And users can develop the computer-based model in a matter of weeks rather than months, as required by older methods.

RAPIDsite, which runs on a Windows NT-based computer equipped with an OpenGL graphics accelerator, is compatible with Autodesk Inc.'s AutoCAD and other CAD systems. The system also works with Eastman Kodak Co.'s PictureCD and Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc.'s ArcView GIS and Spatial Analyst.

The system provides photo-realistic models because it uses digital images as the basis for creating 3-D models, the company said.

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