Creating a 3D Model of Charlottetown

I got curious about whether it might be possible to use the 1878 Panoramic of Charlottetown to create a 3D model of the city.  So I set out to create a proof-of-concept using Google Sketchup.  Aided by two very helpful videos, Getting Set up for Photo Matching and Modeling by Photo Matching I took a snippet of the panoramic, the area around Province House, and used Sketchup’s “match photo” feature to load the snippet, place it in 3D space, and then build a model by tracing over it.  I’m by no means a skilled Sketchup user, but with some trial and error I was able to achieve some promising results:

One challenge, especially if you set out to use the entire 1878 panoramic image to model the city, is that it doesn’t map directly to actual 3D space: the image is warped for artistic effect. But for individual buildings it’s not a bad starting point, and it would be neat is someone more skilled in Sketchup could take a stab and doing this with more finesse.


Josh MacFadyen's picture
Josh MacFadyen on November 18, 2009 - 05:50 Permalink

Nice work!
Another challenge in historical 3D modeling is elevation. Elevation is rarely represented accurately in bird’s eye maps (especially places like Quebec City!), but georeferencing them in a GIS lets you add that feature. I believe sketchup even has an extension for ArcGIS. A friend of mine did this for the city of Guelph in 1878 (… ) where steep streets pose problems for 3D modelers. I’ve used the Goad fire insurance maps to add another layer with incredible structural details necessary for rebuilding. Thanks for posting this — I’ve seen some of the excellent digitization work they’re doing at UPEI, and I hope this turns into more historical mapping on the Island.

nicholassimon's picture
nicholassimon on November 18, 2009 - 06:29 Permalink

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nicholassimon's picture
nicholassimon on November 26, 2009 - 08:05 Permalink

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