3D Mapping Beyoglu


Much of the world has been “imaged” using 2d satellite imagery, this is evidenced by Google maps, Bing, yahoo, to name a few. Google offers its maps in 3D and a “Street View” in many places, along with better 3d details in “Google Earth”. It’s really quite an amazing experience. Sadly, much of Turkiye is only depicted in 2D flat imagery. There are a few 3D buildings and an oasis of a 3d cluster along Istiklal in an otherwise flat desert of low resolution rooftops. These buildings only exist in a crowdsourced way, Individuals have created and uploaded these 3D models to Google. There has been no corporate or government large scale effort to 3D map Istanbul or Turkiye at large.  We, Cagla Baybura and Alpay Kasal, know this because we needed 3D data and found it didn’t exist, so we’ll have to make our own.


We need a 3d landscape of Istanbul, complete with buildings, for the creation of a scale model made on our 3d printers, onto which we will use projection mapping to tell some data stories… it starts with the urban model. Which does not exist.


So how does one go about the task of 3d mapping a city. First of all, I should start by saying we are not a mapping company with a staff and LIDAR (point cloud based laser scanning) vehicles.  I’m at the opposite extreme… I’m an individual with a gps capable digital range finder. I started my task by selecting the best range finder for the need and doing some tests. This range finder is capable of a distance of many meters and the gps capability triangulate my position and elevation from sea level. So, it provides X, Y, and Z coordinates at my location (base of building at Street level), plus the Z coordinate for the height of the building. That’s everything I’d need for an overlay of 3d data onto existing 2d satellite images.

Next, the physical process of walking down every Street and recording the height of every building.  It sounds daunting, because it is. I hope to start a process that will create interest, hopefully encouraging others to join in the effort. I will start with Beyoglu.

Software. Once I get home from my walking tours each evening (the range finder doesn’t work great when pointed up into the sunny sky), what do I do with all of this overlaid data? It is time to let software handle the job of applying 3d height data to the 2d flat data, and generate rudimentary buildings. Now these buildings won’t have features, they will be boxes, but they will be boxes of the correct shape and dimension (and ready for a street view layer).

3d maps are a useful tool, I’ve learned to take them for granted elsewhere in the world.  Instead of waiting around for this data to be made, I hope to start a community effort through my late night strolls throughout Beyoglu.


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