What is the Sandcastle Workflow?

The Sandcastle workflow will do the following:

  • Step by step instructions to help scholars repeat each stage of the workflow - from annotating images using the "Supervisely" web application, to manipulating parametric models of map/view features in Houdini, to navigating the environmant in the Unity game engine.
  • A downloadable kit of "Houdini digital Assets" - simplified parametric models of common map features that are driven by the original 2D visual annotation work in Supervisely
  • A toolkit for the Unreal 4 game engine titled "Sandcastle" containing a set of interactive tools to help orient viewers inside of the 3D mapping environment and
  • A database of premodern "Chorographic" images with a focus on the cities of London and Lisbon
  • An annotated bibliography of articles and books on a variety of topics related to premodern city views, including critical cartography, chorography, borders and frontiers, city walls and fortifications, urban morphology, and the material culture of mapmaking
  • Example 3D scenes derived from the inspiration for the project - a 16th century book of Portuguese fortress drawings known as the Livro das Fortalezas (Book of Fortresses)

The technical aspect of the Sandcastle workflow begins with annotation, performed in a software called Supervise.ly. Annotation allows us to categorize and identify each object in a map, producing a set of clipped images and data that can be used both for 3D Visualization and statistical analysis.

After a chorography has been annotated, it is imported into a program called Houdini where it can be transformed into a 3D landscape. This is performed on both the object and the chorography level, with the goal being to create a kit of digital assets that can be transported into the Unreal game engine.

Once a chorography's major features have been identified, the base image can be imported into ArcGIS for georectification. A billboard of the chorography can then be placed in a modern scan of the area to identify possible perspectives from which the chorography may have been created, or based on.

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