Posted by Davina Jackson on 30 Apr 2013

A LiDAR (point cloud) scan of heritage buildings in Wellington by Terralink for the Big Data exhibition at NZ's National Library.

A LiDAR (point cloud) scan of heritage buildings in Wellington. (Terralink/National Library of NZ)

To help commemorate the ANZAC (Gallipoli) Centenary in 2015, Australia and New Zealand cities will be computer-modelled as they looked before the First World War.

Flythroughs of selected major cities will be created by expert members and partners of the Spatial Industries Business Association (SIBA), using latest data analysis technologies to morph vintage photographs and maps with LiDAR-scanned imagery of the same real places today. Financial backing is expected via the ANZAC Centenary Foundation.

The proposal has been initiated by the new CEO of SIBA’s Queensland branch, former Aucklander Richard Simpson, who recently guest-curated the National Library of NZ’s popular Big Data exhibition. Supporters include the CEO of the State Library of Queensland, Ms Janette Wright, and a member of the ANZAC World War I consultative panel, Sir Bob Harvey. Collaborators are expected to include public libraries, government departments, technology suppliers, universities and private experts and collectors in both countries.

SIBA Chairman Mr Alistair Byrom suggested the project would be an important showcase for not only historical but future potentials of Big Data. ‘Imagine being able to see the natural environment integrated into a common model, to go inside buildings and trace internal services through to utility networks, to see a more complete picture through a new visual context? We can use these sorts of models to benchmark cities … and provide vital information for decision-makers.’

The ANZAC modelling project is being called ‘project MIMOSA’, a name referring to the second brightest star of the Southern Cross constellation – the star furthest left. MIMOSA also is an acronym meaning is Multi-dimensional Information for Metropolitan Spatial Alliances.