The goal of the “WikiVienna” project is to build up a medium for city exploration and to pro-vide interaction via the 5 senses (to search, to find, to see, to explore and to augment) with this information space. This goal is accomplished using a simple 3D model of a city as information space which is steadily augmented with datafrom visitors using their mobile devices.

The idea of the Wikipedia project is borrowed, where everybody can contribute to increase the amount of information. However, in this project a spatial information layer to organize the data is added and mobile devices are used as interfaces to this information space. The resulting framework is applied to the city of Vienna.

Geo-referenced data is getting more and more important due to its many areas of application. In the future every real city will have a digital clone. Big players like Microsoft (via its local live initiative) or Google (via the Google Earth project) are aware of this fact and aggressively push forward to be the number one in this market. Up to now, the 3D cities and landscapes are built up from satellite or airborne data which provide a limited accuracy of about 60cm GSD (ground sampling distance) for satellite and 5 to 10 cm GSD for aerial images on flat surfaces. The next challenge will be the refinement of these 3D city block models by terrestrially acquired data to model building facades or even in-door structures (starting with shopping malls to give access to all showrooms). In this project we will address the upgrade of an existing 3D city block model (obtained by traditional aerial photogrammetry) using mobile devices. Our understanding of ‘upgrading a 3D block model’ means the augmentation of the facades with more detailed 3D and texture information as well as adding linked meta-information (audio, video, text, web links, …) to the model. The resulting spatial information space can be explored via mobile devices or the Internet.

The "new" five senses in such a city exploration application are:

  • "to find" a database which stores the virtual city model provides the necessary information to the user
  • "to see" a visual feedback on his/her display (mobile phone, PDA, ...) is provided to the user
  • "to explore" the user can explore (find out) additional information in his/her local proximity
  • "to augment" the user is able to augment the current 3D model by new/additional information like an image for texturing the façade or any other meta-information

The project will enable the creation of a very large 3D city model without the prohibitive costs or the involvement of a large cooperation. With the help of the inhabitants of the city a new path of generating virtual cities will be forged. The model can be used for many applications ranging from tourism and cultural heritage over city planning to emergency support. The combination of 3D computer vision and graphics, hand-held technologies and urban ethology will provide a well rounded project.