Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Association of Geographers (AAG) is holding its annual meeting remotely - and impressively is offering 180+ sessions fully online, kicking off today and running all week. When we heard this, we wanted to make a tour of Denver, where the meeting was to be held, so that participants could still experience the city, virtually.
We used Cesium Stories, which is a great tool for quickly making beautiful, 3D tours that combine content about a destination with real world images - visualized by flying around the globe to see the site itself, at its precise location. We were fortunate that Denver is a gorgeous city surrounded by impressive terrain, which makes this tour quite breathtaking.
Combining different data sets
We made this story using Cesium World Terrain, which is available to everyone in Cesium Stories, and a few datasets from the Denver Open Data Catalog, most visibly showing buildings and breweries.
On the left, 3D buildings from the Denver open data catalog, with breweries marked in green that can be clicked on to view more info. On the right, Red Rocks Amphitheatre from the globally curated Cesium World Terrain.
In Cesium Stories you can bring your own data, whether it’s 3D buildings or GeoJSON/KML that contain the locations of all breweries in the city, and then quickly visualize that on top of our curated 3D terrain.
Using time dynamic data to simulate a tour
We used time dynamic data several times in this tour to guide the audience along a path. In this case, you can see a car traveling along the Lariat Loop Road, which winds through the Rocky Mountains.
Can you spot the rattlesnake?
This is a fairly simple feature, but it’s my favorite stop on our virtual tour. The 16th Street Mall is a shopping district in Denver with an unusual pattern in the pavement of its pedestrian walkway. From streetlevel, it just looks like different colored stones, but from above you can spot a distinctive pattern. Being able to embed a photo next to the patterns makes this pop out even more.
Make your own virtual tour
You can make your own virtual tour using Cesium Stories. Just sign up for a free account in Cesium ion and check out our tutorial to get started.
With us all stuck at home, this is a fun and safe way to explore the world - and then quickly share it with friends, families, your kids, and your fellow conference goers with just a link. If you do make a virtual tour, we’d love to see it! You can share it with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.