Using New Tools

As I was searching in Bamboo I came across Neatline, which was mentioned briefly at the UVA Scholars Lab.  I looked at the demo for Neatline and I think it is a great visualization to use for our project.  In the demo that I looked at, they took a map of the US and zoomed in on a map of the Battle of Fredericksburg.  On top of that map they overlaid actual scans of letters of Hotchkiss writing to Nelly.  They also had the routes that the troops traveled.  It was a very dynamic way to present different visual elements basically on top of each other.  This could be very useful for my group in regards to our timeline.  The timeline application we are using is interesting but it only allows you to upload separate pictures.  I think it would be more effective to overlay actual pictures of Lee Chapel on top of Lexington as well as possibly include some of Lee’s original letters.  This would be a great way to combine different types of documents and images and overlay them on top of each other.  A downside to this program is that it is a little confusing to navigate.  In the demo, there were lots of different items you could click on, but I was unsure of what exactly I was clicking on.  The visualization is great but the organization is a little disorienting.

For our project, SketchUp and photogrammetry will be a great addition to addressing the spatial elements of Lee Chapel.  It will really help to fully imagine the scope of what the proposed renovations would have looked like and how much of an impact it would have had on the makeup of the W&L campus.  SketchUp is not exactly easy to use, as we all found out after having a lab about it the other day, but the product is impressive.  If we can take the time to use SketchUp and create a generally accurate model, it will really make an impact and add something unique to our project.  Similarly, photogrammetry can do the same.  Photogrammetry brings together individual pictures to create a 3D model.  Both of these programs take time and effort and require a lot of patience.  It is not a program that allows the user to just sit back and let it spit out data.  Time has to be taken to plot out the measurements in SketchUp and take the time to get clear pictures with photogrammetry.  These programs allow anyone to feel as though they have seen the model with their own eyes, and it gives people perspective on what they are looking at.  In the beginning of the class, we talked a lot about making the audience or the people visiting our site feel comfortable and feel like they have a clear grasp.  These visual modeling programs do help people grasp concepts or ideas or in our case, sketches that have never been visualized in such a way.