The Ars Electronica Futurelab has been collaborating with Linz’s Department of Geodata Management to gather information about the city contained in many different databases and bring it together in a single interactive information platform. This project will make its public debut at the 2008 Ars Electronica Festival.
At the installation in the Lobby of the Altes Rathaus on Linz’s Main Square, visitors can take the plunge into this massive data pool that presents not only a snapshot of a geographical location at a particular moment in time but also records the process of development that has occurred here over time. Three modes of depiction— city maps, orthographic imagery and a textured 3D model—are linked up with functions that enable users to navigate through space and time. The aim has been to prepare and make available a multi-layered, multi-faceted depiction of Linz’s past, present and future urban development— a description that would hardly emerge from the accumulated data and individual historical portrayals alone—and to do so in the form of a mobile installation that constitutes an exploratory and analytical tool at the disposal of local government agencies and citizens. To accomplish this, AEC engineers developed an interface that combines elements of a touchscreen, a navigator and haptic objects representing available topics. Just a few navigational steps make it possible for users to access highly descriptive views of developmental processes or to conduct very efficient searches for particular pieces of information.