UT Dallas Asked to Vote on Best Landmark for ‘3D Dallas’ Project
Geosciences Team Plans to Develop Animated 3D Model to be Displayed at Earth Day Dallas
Feb. 12, 2013
Dr. Georgia Fotopoulos and her graduate students are asking for the UT Dallas community’s input on a new project called “3D Dallas,” which aims to raise awareness of the interactions between natural and urban, or “built,” environments.
UT Dallas geosciences graduate students Dimitrios Bolkas (left) and Graham Mills will use terrestrial laser scanning equipment to produce a 3D computer model of a Dallas landmark.
Fotopoulos’ research group from the Department of Geosciences will use terrestrial laser scanning equipment to take detailed measurements of one of five Dallas architectural landmarks, and will then use that information to create a 3D computer model. Once complete, the animated, three-dimensional rendering will be displayed at Earth Day Dallas, April 20-21 in Fair Park.
UT Dallas faculty, staff and students are encouraged to vote for their favorite Dallas landmark (see survey question): the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, the Perot Museum, the Granada Theater, Mockingbird Station, or Cotton Bowl Stadium.
Graduate student Graham Mills, foreground, prepares terrestrial laser scanning equipment for a test run in a geosciences lab at UT Dallas while fellow grad student Dimitrios Bolkas adjusts the target object to be scanned.
“We want to raise awareness about how our infrastructure is aging, and some of the challenges we face in prioritizing where to invest limited resources,” said Fotopoulos, an associate professor of geosciences who is a geomatics engineer by training. “Creating 3D models of structures is one technique engineers use to help determine a priority list.
“This project also is about getting young people excited about science and engineering, showing them that the type of work scientists and engineers do can be fun, and you can give back to your community.”
The project is funded by a grant from the Texas Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, which solicited project proposals to help mark its centennial anniversary.
In her research as a geodesist, Fotopoulos is focused on measuring and mapping the surface of the Earth, including the gravity field. In addition to traditional surveying techniques, she also incorporates technologies such as global navigation satellite systems and satellite data to study the surface of the Earth and how it changes over time.
“Because I’m an engineer, I’m also interested in infrastructure such as buildings and bridges, and how they change over time as well,” Fotopoulos said. “Projects such as 3D Dallas can help raise awareness of how urban, built areas like Dallas interact with the natural environment.”
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