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Virtual Site Survey

April 13, 2010
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I’ve been trying to get a handle on just how big the Collaboratory site in second life is.  It tells you what the property area is but it is difficult to measure out the actual lot.  And that doesn’t even begin to address the elevation changes across the lot.  Furthermore, the client is interested in synergies between modeling systems… whether or not SecondLife buildings can be created using tools like SketchUp and how virtual worlds created in an ex-Sun Microsystems platform called Project Wonderland can be attached to the SecondLife one.

A vertical marking stick and a measuring stick divided into meter units

I decided that my first step would be to do a site survey.  When you create an object in SL it tells you what it’s position is… x, y, and z coordinates.  Relative to some unknown base point anyhow… a basepoint for the portion of the sim you are currently in.  So I proceeded to create a marker stick and measuring stick.  They are shown as shown in this first photo, the marker is the faint red vertical rod standing at the junction of the two walkways.

The second step was to walk the site boundary and plant markers at all the corner points.   I carefully adjusted the marker positions until they were exactly level with the soil at that point, read off their locations in meters, and used those locations to create reference points in a SketchUp model of the site.

Placing a marker at one of the site corners. The property boundary is highlighted here in light blue.

Once I had the mark information in SketchUp, I connected the dots and used the boundary as a contour to complete the site model.   I could have been more accurate… I could have added a number of intermediate points to accurately model the high and low terrain points, but it wasn’t really necessary here.  I did add in some block elements to show objects in the neighborhood of the site.  If the SketchUp model is useful I may expand their details.   But for now, I know a whole lot more about my site!

–  B –

Site model constructed in SketchUp

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