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DigitalFossil2012; day 2

I’d wanted to offer a more detailed walk-through of the cool material presented, but events have a way of moving faster than I do. I will be unable to do justice to any of the speakers, so I only offer a quick link list of topics and projects that I noted.

There are a load of archival and access systems, though to be honest I can’t offer an evaluative overview other than to say, they all seem focused on imagery and data, whereas 3D datasets seem to be somewhat novel as yet… so don’t expect any point-cloud visualization in your browser search just yet. There seemed to be an unanswered question that softly echoed “which is one ring to unite them all?” …

ala.org.au Atlas of Living Australia, a down under biodiversity pioneer
GBIF the global biodiversity information facility
BioCASE specimen collections solution
GeoCASE Geosciences Collection Access Service
GGBN Global Genome Biodiversity Network
DNA Bank Network
AntWeb what is it with myrmecologists? Might they take over the biosphere?
OCHRE cultural database
SESAM Senckenberg Collection management system

(oh dear, can you tell I’m overwhelmed? And these are only from the morning sessions…)

Of course, standards was an ever-present issue, and Mark Sutton proposed an xml envelope for polygon datasets. As a digital artist, all I can say is… bring it on! Others noted that the polygons might be the wrong thing to archive and share, point clouds being more directly related to the digitalization, but less standardized and often larger.

Gregor Hagedorn gave a great overview of OpenAcess and Content, noting that ‘non-commericial’ clauses doesn’t really do what you might think it does, and might better be avoided for open research work.

Many detailed case studies and evaluations of processes and software followed, with demos of Amira and Simpleware for analytical usage of 3D / slice information, and Cumulus and easyDB for databank solutions.

hardware demos included Nextengine3D’s mech-arm laser scanner (the word “vwoosh” comes to mind) and white-light hand-held scanner. Marc Proesman showed off a Debevec-like mini-dome that really makes you want to run around and sample textures.

Also enjoyable was Heinrich’s defense of old-school manual tactile scanning… ie. use what you got, in ways that you need.

Further google searches: David3D, Autoscan, Meshlab, Movie15…

Ad hoc thoughts:
We artists need to be aware of the topics and the content of all this. First, there’s a vast wealth of reference material and expert data. Second, there’s a whole generation of scientist now producing their own incredibly juicy graphics, thank you very much and it oozes scientific process. Third, I see potential to ride these archiving systems to organize and distribute visualizations – perhaps while attributing influences such as consulting scientists or papers via hard-tagged metadata. Lots to learn, lots to digest.

Note: day 3 was probably the most intense of all, but I may not get around to it before geting packed off here. Feel free to comment with other references around the blogosphere.

There are 2 Comments to this article

Marc says:

Wow, David, this sounds very interesting and you sound positively gleaming. It’s been a while since I ahve been to a conference but I know that feeling.

I should really look out for (and subsequently attend) those that bridge science, visualization and maybe even art. Thanks for your reports on this one.

Most likely a much greater inspiration than spending your life in 3D and video software, only occasionally browsing the web for a view of the world. (Note: this exaggerated desription does not apply to the author of this post).


d maas says:

Hi Marc, sorry for the delay in your comment getting through. I was away from my comp for a week. Yeah…. the realm between science and visualization is fascinating, because the toolsets and approaches overlap quite a bit. It’s great going to a conference where you can just soak this stuff in.

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