part of Segue/Überlappen

a collaborative exchange project between faculty and students of UMBC, Baltimore Maryland, USA, and Fachhochschule Schwabisch Hall, Germany, June 5-19, 2005.

For two weeks, four faculty and six graduate students from University of Maryland, Baltimore County worked along side three faculty and twelve students at the Fachhochschule in the small German town of Schwabish Hall. Working as five groups, the teams developed concepts for art works that interpreted and reflected geographic and cultural comparisons of the two locations, resulting in a presentation of installation and screen-based works at the Max Kade Gruner Baum on June 16 and continuing during the Schwabisch Hall International Film Festival, June 19-20, 2005.

ANTIPODE/2 interweaves photography and cartographic process to reconstruct in virtual space the landscape of two cities juxtaposed within one another.

This mapping process captures not only the structural pattern of the cities, but the events occurring at moments in time, progressing along the path taken by the photographer.

This operates as an antithesis to the traditional cursory representation of maps. It occurs at the street level, recorded visually as seen by the eye of the observer and then viewed from the originating perspective; witnessing the flow of pedestrians and traffic, commerce and cultural activity. It is an "anti-map".

The map maker walks through the city taking hundreds of photographs with a digital camera. Each exposure sends a signal to a microprocessor that reads the geographic coordinates from a GPS satellite receiver. An electronic compass and two-axis tilt sensor integrated with the microprocessor provides local orientation and angle of the camera as the image is composed in the photographic frame. The resulting images are then combined and positioned in proportion of the coordinate date in a three-dimensional space.


In this installation the viewer may navigate the maps by manipulating segmented sections of traditional maps of Schwabisch Hall, Germany, and Fells Point in Baltimore, Maryland. The map segments of each town can be transposed upon one another, allowing the viewer to explore and experience unexpected relationships between the two distant locations.

The user interface was designed as a "coffee table and couch", where the viewer could sit and sort through 10x15mm cards illustrating the map sections. The back of each card is coded with an unique pattern. As a card is placed on the clear window in the center of the table, a video camera sends the pattern data to a MAX/MSP/Jitter patch which in turn sends a midi signal to the computer running the 3D map animation.

The left map is of Schwabisch Hall, with an overlay showing the position and orientation of each photograph. The map on the right is Fell's Point, Baltimore and respective images taken on June 1. The scale of areas covered by the box in each map are identical.


The configuration for capturing the imagery consisted of an integrated system of digital SLR camera, GPS satellite receiver, tilt sensor, electronic compass, Basic Stamp2 microprocessor, and Palm Pilot.
The Basic Stamp was programmed to read the incoming serial data from the GPS receiver, extracting the Latitude, Longitude, and Altitude information from the data stream. At the same time, the Stamp reads the current state of the tilt sensor attached to the camera, and the orientation of the electronic compass in the belt pack worn by the photographer. Each time an exposure is taken with the camera, the remote trigger signals the Basic Stamp to send the combined data to the Palm Pilot, which in turn was running a custom basic program to receive and log the incoming data.
The logged data was then uploaded to the computer in a tab-delimited text format. The latitude, longitude coordinates were truncated to the 1/100 of an arcminute and used for X and Z position data in the 3D real-time rendered visualization, while the altitude data served as the Y axis and the compass and tilt sensor provided angles for heading, pitch, and bank. Each digital photgraph was then imported onto a geometric plane in the 3D environment and positioned based on its origin when captured by the photographer.

Alan Price, Associate Professor.
Electronics, Programming, 3D Authoring
Chad Eby, Imaging and Digital Arts Graduate Student.
Programming MAX/MSP/JITTER, Audio
Olivia Engelen, Student. Digital Photography, map design
Michael Hieke, Student. Digital Photography, map printing, technical support
Bastian Gretenkord, Student. Digital Photography, map design
thanks to Lynn Cazabon for our title "Antipode"