Recent Unity build for Soweto

Developing a User Interface (UI) layer for the Soweto Historic GIS project opens up a wide range of opportunities to integrate contextual information into the 3D virtual environment we have started to build around the township of Soweto in Johannesburg.

In this most recent version, we began to make use of Unity’s new interface system (uGUI) to add features including:

  • Displaying names of regions or buildings when the user enters their boundaries
  • Associating 2D map data (at both the city and building scales, contextually) with the user’s current location
  • Showing contextual information in a scrollable text panel on the side of the screen
  • Adding a playable/pauseable video panel to zones that have related video information

We are also excited to continue developing advanced versions of these features, including:

  • An interactive photo gallery viewer, associated image slideshows with the user’s current zone
  • A scrolling, time-synced transcript, building off of previous DHi software currently employed in the Creative Japanese Film Archive

These features will help make our large store of archival data more directly available to the user, without having to leave the 3D space in order to browse our repository.  We hope this allows for both deeper delving into the locations users are particularly interested in, and also the chance to discover new areas, and their unique histories, as they explore the space in 3D.

We expect this new interface layer, and the features listed above, to be integrated into our live SHGIS demo by late February, 2016.