Brendan Harmon co-authors new book Tangible Modeling with Open Source GIS

Brendan HarmonBrendan Harmon, assistant professor of landscape architecture, co-authored the new edition Tangible Modeling with Open Source GIS (Springer, July 2018), the first book to introduce a tangible interface for geospatial analysis and simulations. His project Tangible Landscape is a tangible interface for geospatial modeling for landscape architects and other professionals. Applications include design and planning purposes, scientific applications, disaster management, and educational uses.

The book, co-authored by North Carolina State University Center for Geospatial Analytics researchers Helena Mitasova, Anna Petrasova, Vaclav Petras, and Payam Tabrizian, teaches readers how to build their own Tangible Landscape system with free and open source software, and how to use it as a platform for developing new applications. The new edition is available for purchase July 25, 2018.

The book Tangible Modeling with Open Source GIS “provides an overview of the latest developments in the fast growing field of tangible user interfaces,” according to publisher Springer. “It presents a new type of modeling environment where the users interact with geospatial data and simulations using 3D physical landscape model coupled with 3D rendering engine. The system is applicable to a wide range of applications in geoscience education, landscape design, computer games, stakeholder engagement, and many others.”

This second edition introduces a new more powerful version of the tangible modeling environment with multiple types of interaction. Chapters on coupling tangible interaction with 3D rendering engine and immersive virtual environment demonstrate the second generation of the system – Immersive Tangible Landscape – that enhances the modeling and design process through interactive rendering of modeled landscape.

This book explains main components of Immersive Tangible Landscape System, and provides the basic workflows for running the applications. The fundamentals of the system are followed by series of example applications in geomorphometry, hydrology, coastal and fluvial flooding, fire spread, landscape and park design, solar energy, trail planning, and others.

Graduate and undergraduate students and educators in geospatial science, earth science, landscape architecture, computer graphics and games, natural resources and many others disciplines, will find this book useful as a reference or secondary textbook. Researchers who want to build and further develop the system will most likely be the core audience, but also anybody interested in geospatial modeling applications (hazard risk management, hydrology, solar energy, coastal and fluvial flooding, fire spread, landscape and park design) will want to purchase this book.

The authors also co-authored the paper “Tangible topographic modeling for landscape architects,” published in January 2018 in the International Journal of Architectural Computing (IJAC).

Their conference paper “Tangible Landscape: A Hands-on Method for Teaching Terrain Analysis” was published in ACM’s Digital Library and presented at ACM CHI 2018, the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, the premier international conference of human-computer interaction, in Montreal in April 2018, and was awarded an honorable mention.

Watch the video “Tangible Landscape: A Hands-on Method for Teaching Terrain Analysis”

Additionally, the team published another conference paper “Tangible Immersion for Ecological Design,” presented at ACADIA 2017, the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture’s annual meeting at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Learn more about the book.