AECOM Reconnected City
Multi-touch tables help visualise AECOM's data in real time
As part of their work to create sustainable cities with governments and policymakers around the world, engineering firm AECOM needed to find a way to visualise vast amounts of data so that stakeholders were able to understand statistical insights in meaningful ways.
To do so, AECOM worked with S1T2 to create “Reconnected City”, a data visualisation project aimed at making the company’s vast, complex data set and proprietary statistical data models more accessible, understandable and useable to stakeholders.
The idea was to develop an experience that allowed users to create their own cities and witness the effect of their decisions on the urban environment in real time. This visual display of AECOM’s data would then allow stakeholders to gain important insights into their city planning activities.
The game-like experience featured an uncomplicated, low-poly design style, leaving the virtual cities with a isometric, flat aesthetic. This simple design made the experience accessible to audiences without expert statistical knowledge while fostering communication and collaboration.
By repurposing AECOM’s complex datasets and proprietary statistical analysis models into a virtual, sim-city-like installation, we were able to give stakeholders without data analysis and statistics expertise the opportunity to understand the real implications of their city planning decisions.
As they interacted with the experience and created their cities, users were confronted with live screens showing metrics relating to population, energy, water consumption, traffic and overall costs in real time. This visual approach to the data allowed stakeholders to draw accurate, insightful conclusions about how their policies and legislation affected the urban environment and community.
Using human hands and fingers as its main source of interaction, Reconnected City allowed users to create their own cities, witnessing in real-time the effect that constructing buildings, roads, parks, and other city developments had on both the environment and the community.
When two tables were placed next to each other, the installation was also able to reenact the challenges of creating a larger urban environment with multiple stakeholder interests. As users carefully collaborated on their cities, they were encouraged to talk with one another to work through the difficulties of building a well-structured and connected urban environment.
Reconnected City was attended by over 250 government employees and policymakers during during Vivid Sydney 2015. Since then, the project has also been repurposed for a number of other data science and statistical analysis projects both nationally and internationally.
You can find out more about Reconnected City at www.s1t2.com.au.