As of 16 January, Westport will become the first Irish town and one of the first towns globally to be accessible as a detailed 3D interactive model on Google Earth, the free online virtual globe.
Commissioned by Westport Town Council, digital computer-modelling company AMT3D carried out the ‘Westport 3D’ project in order to make urban planning and design easier, as well as to promote tourism in the area.
Using state-of-the-art, long-distance laser scanning technology, the town of Westport was modelled: the first location in Ireland to be represented in this way.
“This is another first for Westport, a first for Ireland and possibly the world, and I’m very proud that our town is playing such a major role in international technology. This is literally putting Westport firmly on the global map,” says Peter Hynes, town manager.
Hynes says although the project started out as an urban planning tool, it evolved into a new tool for the virtual tourist to explore the streets of Westport in great detail, thanks to the advent of Google Earth.
“This is a very exciting time for Westport business. The town council was very far-sighted when it commissioned Westport3D,” says AMT3D director, Dr. Brendan Hafferty.
“It is a development that will undoubtedly be followed by more and more towns and cities throughout Ireland and overseas, as planners and architects come to understand the tremendous benefits of being able to design, plan and interact with the future urban environment in 3D”.
While set up in association with the University of Leeds in the UK to commercialise its 3D software, AMT3D has its headquarters in Westport.
When Westport 3D is released on 16 January, Google Earth’s EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) senior associate will travel to Westport to launch the project at a special event hosted by the town.
By Marie Boran