Archive for the 'BART Station' Category

Jul 06 2009

OpenSim Terrain notes, and Darb has Process Credit history!

I’d read about this, but never before experienced the agony first-hand.  Extracting funds from SL, the wait for funds to arrive at PayPal was a bit slow.  In fact, in the time it took funds to go from Linden to PayPal, a bamboo shoot in my back yard could have grown taller than me (that’s my RL not SL height!), and would have been over 2 meters tall.  Anyway, Process Credits are quite lacking in symmetry with how quickly credit charges can flow into the Linden realm.

During this week of waiting my random prims have been cleared out from Amida and nary a trace of Berkurodam BART Station remains besides a video in Gualala.  The video screen was actually entombed by a neighbor, who may not like it but did not send any message.

Anyway–for me this week is all about generating maps and graphics while keeping up with work.  I’ve generated a 50cm terrain grid for parts of my county where perhaps 150,000 people live.  With computational process improvements I should be able to make production stable enough to generate a 25cm grid.  The point is to model terrain slope and aspect within urban parcels.  OpenSim can pack 64 terrain megaprim sculpties over each region to refine terrain more than the built-in 1-meter postings, and display 10cm orthoimagery at full resolution.

Last year, I used first-return LiDAR data of the UC Berkeley campus to generate a 25cm grid for 10cm imagery.  Now, I’m working with bare-earth LiDAR data from FEMA, topographic contours (densified to 1.5m vertex spacing), and most importantly, photogrammetric terrain and water break lines.

Throwing all those data into the mix, the data are built into an ESRI Terrain Dataset, from which I generate TIN and GRID models at various reolution and extent.  The ESRI ArcGIS 3D Analyst Terrain-to-TIN generator breaks down after about 10 mega-faces (so would I…)  And the ArcGIS Terrain-to-GRID generator seems to drift into Windows-unconsciousness after about 1.0 giga-cells.  So for the grid, I break it down and do the pieces, then merge the tiles using ERDAS Imagine, because the ESRI ArcGIS raster mosaic function does not produce output grids much over 10 GB.  As annoying as learning these ArcGIS limits can be, it is very satisfying (and instructive) to see huge swaths of seamless terrain with great detail once it all comes together.  Thanks to the break lines, many driveways and most home building site cuts and fills are resolved.  And it will be a lot of terrain by OpenSim standards–enough to calibrate terrain for over 20,000 contiguous regions–not that I ever expect to build it all at 1:1 scale!

No responses yet

Feb 27 2009

Governor terminates Berkurodam

Published by under BART Station,SL In General

As part of the ongoing mainland cleanup, the abandoned Berkurodam site has been restored to its natural state.   Governor Linden has packed the BART station safely into my Lost & Found folder, and she’s made an attractive -looking open space where once there was a highly urbanized build.

When notified of the demolition, we dispatched intern Rat Dawg to the site to investigate–and managed to capture the investigation on machinima:

If the video doesn’t embed, it is here

online casino net

No responses yet

Jan 22 2009

3D Geospatial Day at

Today the (San Francisco) Bay Area Automated Mapping Association hosted a wonderful URISA Certified Workshop given by Tim Case, describing Best Practices and Project Implementation Methods for 3D Geospatial work. The all-day event provided a very broad and even-handed overview of many 3D technologies that hold promise for the near future.

With this presentation as an extra boost for my focus on a new build, I’m gearing up with even more enthusiasm for a new build in the Agni grid Mainland.  I’ve also tuned the Berkeley parcel for sale.  Its price amounts to about US$382.00, and that price is set to help cover purchase costs for the next build’s likely parcel.  The tuning involved reducing the parcel size by 64 square meters, so that the three Gualala parcels total 4608 square meters, or exactly the maximum amount allowed for Linden Lab’s US$25/month tier rate.  With that size, it would be possible for an interested party to purcahse the Berkeley BART station and maintain it for $300/year in tier (the Linden land property tax).

Also, based on today’s Geospatial tag, I’ve noted just this morning two mentions of the Berkeley BART build.  The New World Notes item by Wagner James Au 2009 01 19 was wonderful to find after our in-world messages last month.  For clarification, while true at the time of that conversation, no longer do I work for City of Berkeley.  The TidalBlog item by Peter Miller mentions interesting developments in the overlap between simulators and geospatial models, as well as some shots from his visit to the Berkeley BART model.  Thanks to both authors for their posts!

No responses yet

Jan 15 2009

Hey Buddy, want a BART station? Berkeley Downtown for L$25/square meter

Published by under BART Station,SL In General

The iconic Berkeley BART station has been listed for sale (all build objects included) in Second Life.  In-world, simply visit the region Gualala  192 / 50 / 24 to take a look.  Under the covers, there are three parcels that are augmented by ample protected Linden land, including a picturesque road and bridge, a boat channel, and a canal.  The land took two years to consolidate, and involved about eight parcel purchases into the three now joined for sale. Two of the contiguous areas separated by the canal have been bridged using meticulous construction methods.

But the best part about this site is the 1000-prim Level 3 build.  It’s a  precise model about 1/3 scale, so that most Tiny avatars can walk around inside it.  Surface details, building exteriors and station interiors were shot in 2007, but look as good as new despite Gualala’s drizzly climate!

The station is on offer starting 2009 01 14 for L$116,800.  Proceeds will be used to support a non-Berkeley build in a nearby region.

Green areas show the three areas joined to make the parcel for sale

Green areas show the three areas joined to make the parcel for sale

Parcel areas with trees and transluscent prims for some scale context

Parcel areas with trees and transluscent prims for some scale context

Steep view of Berkeley BART station build

Steep view of Berkeley BART station build

Shallow view (westerly) of project site from boat channel

Shallow view (westerly) of project site from boat channel

No responses yet

Jan 13 2009

Meta-machinima, Berkurodam for sale, OpenSim server offline

After two years, it seems time to work on a new big build.  In the interest of conserving SL resources, I’m looking to get enough from selling the Gualala land and Berkurodam build to purchase adjacent land for a new build at the Stanford site.

I’m interested in selling the Berkeley build to architecturally-minded SL folk, so that with a properly sized and shaped parcel, I can do another RL scale model build (not based on any location in the East Bay). Work circumstances have changed and I’ll be spending much less RL time in Berkeley, so Inquiries are welcome care of darb (at)

Unfortunately, the public-facing OpenSim server that was loaded with the 40 region 1:1 scale UC Berkeley model has now been taken offline and is in search of a data center slot.

Meanwhile, just to prove that I’m still around the metaverse, I’ve made my first meta-machinima. Using the YouTube MP4 streaming service, which is apparently available for any uploaded video, one can map a texture into a video stream as part of parcel media settings on Linden servers.  This machinima was shot at the Gualala Level 3 Berkurodam build.

For those with the site blocked, the URL is 
I’m embedding the video below

No responses yet

Oct 30 2008

GIS Day Video of Miniature OpenSim Builds in Second Life

One thing about these tiny builds is that they’re easy to see from one end to the other, so why not make a video of these miniature builds in Second Life?  I offer this for the amusement of Geospatial Information Service (or Geographic Information Systems if you prefer) folks who may be introducing themselves to immersive 3D.  International GIS Day will be here in a couple of weeks, so I’m posting this now.

 I’ve also challenged myself to improve my video production standards.  Who knows, maybe more than 1300 people will view it if I make it more fun to watch with a bit of editing and title-based metadata?  Nothing deep is intended with the score, it just caught my attention as matching the length of the machinima rushes tonight.

I’ve tried to improve the video with some titles to explain what’s being seen at the Level 1 (bare earth with draped ortho) 1:42-scale build, Level 2 (first-return reflective LiDAR gridded surface with draped ortho) 1:16-scale build, and Level 3 (full immersive 3D vector features in Second Life primitives with real world textures) 1:3-scale build.

If the embedded link does not work, the video is hereколи под наем which is at

One response so far

Oct 28 2008

Glimpses of Berkurodam in Second Life for GIS Day

The 10th annual GIS day is arriving on 2008 11 19, and an article on the techniques that I’ve been blogging may be published on that day. In anticipation of that article, I’ve taken some time to upload selected strips of the Open Berkurodam model that has been built at 1:1.024 scale on 40 OpenSim simulator regions to Second Life. In that way, many more people may find this work and take a closer look.

In the article are three terms I’m suggesting be used for work that involves translation of GIS data into immersive 3D simulator environments: Level 1 build, Level 2 build, and Level 3 build. Level 1 is like Google Earth or MS Virtual Earth, basically bare earth gridded terrain with draped orthoimagery. Level 2 is what I’ve got as a placeholder in the Open Berkurodam 40-region 1:1-scale build, with a reflective LiDAR gridded surface draped with orthoimagery. Level 3 is just standard immersive 3D vector features that fill so much of Second Life, but in the special case of an immersive 3D build based on GIS-grade scaled mapping of building exteriors and possibly interiors.

The Level 3 build was what inspired my efforts starting back in October 2006 (Darb Dabney just has his second Rez-day celebration), but the Level 2 seems like the most important one for actual civic builds, because the grid of LiDAR data brings full-scale, full coverage data to hold the place and fill the mass of both buildings and trees, until one can afford to create the Level 3 build.

So now at the SIMGIS land in Stanford, there is both a Level 1 model (bare earth terrain with draped orthoimagery) of the entire 40-region sim at a reduced 1:42 scale, as well as a Level 2 model (gridded LiDAR first-return surface with draped orthoimagery) from the Berkeley BART station up Center Street, and on to the UC Berkeley Campus at Mulford Hall at a reduced 1:16 scale. It’s fun to see these tiny models, and it helps to convey some of the value that OpenSim offers those of us who would publish entire cities. A copy of these two models has also been placed in Amida, just across the channel from Gualala.

My selection of that path between BART and Mulford Hall was made to offer an entertaining Level 2 swath for those who would be taking transit to an ASPRS – BAAMA – GIF GIS Day event.

First the view in Second Life from Amida toward Gualala, with my Level 1 (1:42 scale), Level 2 (1:16 scale), and Level 3 (1:3 scale) (full immersive vector features with interiors) models of the downtown Berkkeley BART area. Second is the view of the SIMGIS Stanford site, with the same Level 1 (1/42-scale) and Level 2 (1/16-scale) builds.

Level 1 (1/42 scale) at base, Level 2 (1/16 scale) and Level 3 (1/3 scale) in distance

Level 1 (1/42 scale) at base, Level 2 (1/16 scale) and Level 3 (1/3 scale) in distanceAnd here's a view of the new SIMGIS Stanford region site, as viewed from Hawthorne region. The Level 1 model 1/42-scale is just above the water, and the Level 2 model 1/16-scale is above it.

Level 1 (1/42-scale) above water, and Level 2 (1/16-scale) above that.

Level 1 (1/42-scale) above water, and Level 2 (1/16-scale) above that.

No responses yet

Aug 28 2008

OpenSim Screen Shots – An OpenBerkurodam-40 Deluge

I took a bit of a rest after the ESRI International User Conference (actually, it was more like catching up with real work). Sadly, I missed out on the call for images by Adam, and I can’t even blame it on there being so many time zones between here and Perth.;^)

So in the interest of sharing stuff in bulk, please accept the following pile of shots. All of them were made from the 40-region OpenBerkurodam (OB40) model that has been taking shape over the past few months. All of them are from the 1.024:1 scale model of the UC Berkeley campus and adjacent downtown environs that have been built (precisely 2.5 square km. worth).

Unlike the attractively detailed SketchUp models one finds for selected UC Berkeley buildings in Google Earth, the OB40 sim has every building, every moderately large tree, a lot of light poles, and even a construction crane imaged in 3D. This was because it was built wholesale with reflective LiDAR data. Lots of data, and very little artistic craft!

The resulting mismatch between the LiDAR bump-map surfaces and the 10-cm natural color orthoimagery that I have draped over them create an effect that is quick, dirty, and very complete. At first glance, one might think that we can’t decide where we are–on the continuum between representational and surrealistic art, or that perhaps the trees have not lichen, but a rather different kind of fungus affecting them. Hey, I’m just saying…

The OB40 model was demonstrated live on two and three higher-end laptops running the standard Second Life client; they had NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards and they did OK. The sculpties imaged a little bit differently than they do with fully approved graphics cards but the client never crashed outright.

Some senior ESRI system folks got a look and a see of what OpenSim was about with GIS data loaded into it. Several public safety people expressed some interest in the possibilities. The presentation was not at a booth, but rather in a corner of the showroom floor given to the “User Applications Fair” that was a spot for about 32 non-commercial folks to show their stuff. Strictly speaking, the ESRI software was not the application on display, but without the ESRI (and ERDAS) software, I wouldn’t have been able to get my GIS data loaded into OpenSim in time for the conference.

What sort of shocked me in terms of response was a huge non-linearity in acceptance based on the age of the person viewing the demonstration. At one point, I was describing some obscure details with an experienced GIS person, and within 15 seconds, a group of three teen-aged 4H Club members (I’d seen them in another part of the conference) sat themselves down without questions or introductions and began going all over the place 3X. They had no questions about the SL client interface, the purpose of the OB40 sim, or any of that. They just sat down and started exploring.

For me, the experience of seeing the 4H kids using OB40 intuitively provided great hope that some day not too far off, people will just accept a Multi-User Virtual Environment (MUVE) as readily as I would read a map from the American Automobile Association (AAA). I mean, for me there’s some effort involved in using the SL client, although at this point it is about as familiar to my hands as the ‘vi’ editor is—I just use it, kind of like reading a book without mouthing the words. But for the younger people who interacted with OpenSim, the interface did not seem hardly present for them, they focused at once on the content and enjoyed it for just the fun.

OK, enough blather – I’ll try and share all the shots, including some that did not make it to San Diego. The actual date for all of the shots was 20080731.
Shattuck Ave and Center Street in Berkeley, view westerly

This is downtown Berkeley, the BART station, same area that has been modeled at 1:3 scale in Second Life Agni grid, Gualala region. In Gualala, everything has been built in detail by hand, with custom real-world texture shots. In OB40, the scale is nominally 1:1, but at the moment only a LiDAR drape fills the region (and 39 adjacent regions, too.) There is an avatar above the Power Bar building, the tower on the left.

Pictometry-style shot of Civic Center

This is synthetic “MS Virtual Earth” or Pictometry high-angle view of the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center building, Berkeley’s city hall. There is an avatar on the near-left side of the roof, enjoying a brown-bag lunch.

Shattuck Ave and Hearst St, view Swly

This is Shattuck Ave and Hearst St, view SWly. Oscar’s hamburger grill is on the right with all the ducting on the roof.

Berkeley Arts Magnet school

View Wly across Shattuck Ave toward the Berkeley Arts Magnet school campus.

Farms in Berkeley

View toward Oxford St, near sunrise. Strawberry fields in foreground.

Farms In Berkeley?  You bet!

Farms in Berkeley? Indeed, this strawberry field was imaged on 2006 07 01 just a couple of blocks from the UC campus. View SEly near sunrise.

View up Hearst toward Euclid

View uphill on Hearst St towards Euclid, northerly side of UC Berkeley campus. TECHNICAL DETAIL: in the far distance toward sunrise, there are huge eggs floating above the ground, but textured with the orthoimagery. These are the LiDAR megaprims after they have received their photo texture, but before they have rezzed with their bump map. Depending on bandwidth, how much of the model the client may have already visited and cached, and the phase of the (virtual) moon, it might take anywhere from 15 seconds to a minute or two for the bump maps to fully rez out when one arrives near a region. When shooting these pictures, and typically in OB40, I keep the SL client viewing out 512 meters with “ultra” quality graphcs.

LBNL synchotron view Ely

Above the top of Hearst, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) sychotron and nearby buildings, view Ely, including some really large Blue Gum (eucalyptus) trees.

Foothill student residences, view Sly

Below LBNL, the Foothill student residences, with Sather Tower in view, far right

The UC Berkeley Greek Theater, view Ely

The UC Berkeley Greek Theater, site of a great many fine performances over many decades, view Ely, and just Sly of the Foothill residences.

UC Berkeley International House, and California Memorial Stadium

View NEly, of UC Berkeley’s International House, with California Memorial Stadium in background. Avatar is hovering over the cupola of the I-House, sneaking a free look at the football scrimmage (or is it cheerleader camp?) 2006 07 01

View Nly up Piedmont toward I-House

View Nly up Piedmont Ave, in the Greek housing section of campus. View toward International House with California Memorial Stadium in background. Horizontal scale 1.024:1, vertical scale 1:1; those trees have scaled height and bulk thanks to LiDAR first return gridding.

View Wly of UC Berkeley campus near Wurster Hall

UC Berkeley main campus near Bancroft and Piedmont. Large red-roofed building in mid left frame is Boalt Hall, lighter building in right mid-far range is Wurster hall, home of the Urban Planning folks. Here’s looking at you, kids!

Long shot Enely of Sather Tower

Finally, UC Berkeley campus toward LBNL, long shot near Sather Tower. All these shots were from the OB40 sim, sometimes running on

No responses yet

Apr 29 2008

Megaprim terrain ’til the cows come home

Published by under BART Station,OpenSim,Scale Issues

There has been a bit of head scratching as other distractions apparently clouded an obvious scale issue. The first terrain megaprim sculptie project done last month, had available imagery at 30cm.  For that, it only made sense to oversample to 25cm to make 512×512 textures.  That decision led to my adding a collar around the original 512’s until they clicked into the proper size without rescaling on a quarter-region megaprim. With Berkeley, the source imagery is almost 10cm (103mm pixels) and the challenge has been to size the resample so as to make best use of the 1024×1024 texture size limit per prim.

Where I took a wrong turn was trying to proportion the collar that was added to the 512’s, rather than going back to basic principles with sculpties. Bottom line: my efforts of the past week went astray as I allowed confusion to set in, casting about for the proper maximum texture dimensions working down from 1024. (and I’ve got the awkward attempts at 1008, 994, and 978 pixels to prove it).

In fact, the answer is very simple in reference to basic sculptie principles, as the maximum dimensions of the sculptie bumpmap are 32×32, and due to the need to wrap it around to an apex underneath, this can only represent a 30×30 terrain patch. Thus, the maximum imageable area is simply (30/32)*1024, or 960 pixels square, collared out to 1024 square to make each orthophoto tile. This means that an OpenSim 1.024:1 model can accomodate 130mm orthophoto imagery, and I now have 160 tiles ready to go with the bumpmaps.

So far I’ve configured twelve regions with their megaprims, and only one seems to have issues with the height of the sculptie to stay 30cm afloat the terrain surface. Nine of these reigons use the flattest setting, one uses the intermediate, and two use the steepest. Here’s some shots for update’s sake. The full set of orthophoto textures have been uploaded (450 MB of Targa files) and seem to show up reasonably well in inventory. I am using a local MySQL instance on the OpenSim machine for prim storage.

OpenSim Berkurodam 40-region sim More OpenSim 40-region Berkeley model OpenSim 40-region Berkeley model

No responses yet

Apr 11 2008

OpenBerkurodam and the well-tempered scale

Published by under BART Station,OpenSim,Scale Issues

Enough carefree hours in the main SL Agni grid, already! Back to matters of creation.

Next big thing should be a terrain prototype for civic application. No special business process in mind here, just a demo of the draped imagery on real-life terrain in a way that could scale up city-wide. For starters, there must be a better correspondence between the US National Grid and the dimensions of the simulated region. Sure Neal Stephenson may have suggested binary 2^n dimensionality, and there may be plenty of reasons in the simulator code to make use of the full range of 256 meters. But after more than a handful of regions, the starting corners get downright ugly.

So I won’t do it that way. By scaling up, larger even than real-life, the regions can be built sixteen-to-a square kilometer. In a worldwide sense, except for the matter of 62 or 64 matchlines, the US National Grid (a.k.a. Military Grid Reference System or MGRS) has the whole world in its hands, so harmonizing region design with that grid plan covers a whole lot of ground. To minimize my effort at constructing regions, while planning for worldwide sim grid extensibility, I have chosen to configure the overall sim to represent 250-meter square patches of real earth using each of its 256-meter square regions.

This scales the real-world up a shade in the sim, to (1.024 : 1) but allows every fourth region in X and in Y to start on an exact grid kilometer. That scale produces 16.0000 regions per square kilometer, rather than 15.2588 regions/square km. From the geography side of things, this harmony is attractive since every fourth region will snap to a grid kilometer instead of every 1000th region. Even at that, the grid kilometer that 1000 of those 256 meter regions snap to is 256 kilometers, which is much clumsier to locate by name.

Thus the “well-tempered” moniker for this scale is well deserved, as any real-world USNG/MGRS grid coordinate could then be used to search for the relevant simulator region from a moderately simple bit of string manipulation. For Berkeley, and the western part of California, the zone is “10S” and the 100-kilometer grid within that is “EG” for San Francisco and Berkeley area. Put together, the US National Grid designator for the 100-km square is sometimes called “10SEG”, depending on where folks do or don’t put spaces.

If we always have exactly sixteen (16) regions per square kilometer, then we can use the shorthand version of the USNG grid names that only detail down to 10-meter increments. In this way, a region with its southwesterly corner at WGS84 UTM zone 10 north, 564000 meters Easting, 4191250 meters Northing, can have the US National Grid 10-meter designation of “10SEG 6400 9125”, which could be mashed together without spaces, or used to name a simulator region such as “10SEG_6400_9125” in a slightly more readable form. For those of us who no longer have youthful eyes, the tiny little display on the Second Life client for the region name motivates the use of spaces.

So here’s a graphic of the plan: a 40-region prototype (5 x 8 regions), which will be configured with only Basic Physics, but real-life LiDAR-based terrain, and four megaprim sculpties per region to drape imagery (10 x 16 terrain sculpties) such as 10cm natural color orthophotography. Here’s where I hope to take this:

Charter Design: US National Grid standardized OpenSim regions for Berkeley Downtown / Main UC Campus

No responses yet

Next »