If a picture is worth a thousand words what’s a model worth?
The base Great Trails model contains a lot of information, the height map and imagery data ensure an accurate representation of the general layout of the area with peaks, valleys, lakes etc.. all in the correct location and proportions. The addition of Open Street Map data to represent features such as Buildings, Roads, Paths, Walls, Fences and Rivers adds to this to give a rich representation of the area. The ability to navigate the model allows the user to build an understanding far faster than would be possible through the use of general maps and photographs.
However it is possible to go a lot further and add data relating to activities and businesses. In the current model we have added details on Walks for example, detailing the routes up all of the peaks of the Eastern Fells and in the case of Helvellyn added some additional information on alternative routes and difficulty levels. The display of information on the model in this way provides a spatial context, so in this case the proximity of one walk to a town, lake or other walk is immediately apparent.
It is also possible to provide information on businesses, as an example of this we have listed the main accommodation options available in Glenridding. When the user is close to Glenridding an “Accommodation Options” menu appears and when a category is selected the relevant buildings change colour (Hotels - Red, B&B’s - Blue and Cottages - Green). These buildings can be selected with a mouse click to display summary information
Building on the model linked to Business and Web Site
To take this further, we have recently added the web site button alongside the summary panel to provide a link to the relevant website. This provides the ability to access the most up to date and detailed information of the business.
Web Site displayed in the context of the model
This linking of the model with the internet provides information in a geographical context which offers significant benefits in the planning process, providing a framework to organise web sites and help avoid a situation where many pages are opened with no meaningful structure. In this case we have linked to accommodation providers but this could just as easily be used for activities or transport links.
Our vision is for the model to provide a single interface to access information from many sources and so we are very pleased to introduce this capability which we plan to expand in the future. Perhaps a model is worth a thousand websites?