Creating Healing Environments Through Virtual Augmented Reality: How Technology Can Help Nature Deficit Disorder in Children

Material Information

Creating Healing Environments Through Virtual Augmented Reality: How Technology Can Help Nature Deficit Disorder in Children
Dunlop, Brittney
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, FL
School of Landscape Architecture and Planning, College of Design, Construction and Planning, University of Florida
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
Project in lieu of thesis


Subjects / Keywords:
Attention ( jstor )
Child psychology ( jstor )
Cities ( jstor )
Computer technology ( jstor )
Environmental technology ( jstor )
Forests ( jstor )
Landscape architecture ( jstor )
Nature ( jstor )
Smartphones ( jstor )
Video games ( jstor )


Many children growing up in urban environments today have never formed a relationship with nature. To them, it is inaccessible. Even though sustainability and the “green” movement are at the forefront of popular trends, will this really last if the youngest of us does not have any deep rooted values? The strongest beliefs are fostered with a personal experience. On the other hand, we have had a rapid boom in smart technology. People everywhere are “connected.” It has dramatically changed many aspects of our culture. However, the segment of the population that has been the most receptive to these rapid changes are children. They have more access to computers, iphones, and tablets than parks. These devices have replaced parks, playgrounds, and backyards as traditional places for recreation and leisure. Although, technology does not have to be at odds with nature. It can be used as a stepping stone to reconnect children to the environment. This thesis aims to create a small oasis in an urban environment, aided by computer gaming technology, it uses the principles of Attention Restoration Therapy to create an accessible and welcoming environment where kids can experience a piece of nature and start building appreciation for nature and ecology.
General Note:
Landscape Architecture terminal project

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
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University of Florida
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All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
886826664 ( OCLC )


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5 pursue landscape architecture and has supported me through all the late nights and self doubts. I couldnt have made it without you! To my family, thank you for always believing in me. Much of my inspiration for this thesis comes from my treasured memories of our family vacations in the Smokey Mountains and imaginative playing in our childhood backyard. Lastly, I would like to thank my thesis committee, Mary and Les. I am deeply grateful for your patience and encouragement in helping me to develop my ideas. I have learned so much from you. I appreciate you believing in me and taking me under your wing.








9ABSTRACTMany children growing up in urban environments today have never formed a relationship with nature. To them, it is inaccessible. Even though sustainability and the green movement are at the forefront of popular trends, will this really last if the youngest of us does not have any deep rooted values? The strongest beliefs are fostered with a personal experience. On the other hand, we have had a rapid boom in smart technol ogy. People everywhere are connected. It has dramatically changed many aspects of our culture. However, the segment of the population that has been the most receptive to these rapid changes are children. They have more access to computers, iphones, and tablets than parks. These devices have replaced parks, playgrounds, and backyards as traditional places for recreation and leisure. Although, technology does not have to be at odds with nature. It can be used as a stepping stone to reconnect children to the environment. This thesis aims to create a small oasis in an urban environment, aided by computer gaming technol ogy, it uses the principles of Attention Restoration Therapy to create an accessible and welcoming environ ment where kids can experience a piece of nature and start building appreciation for nature and ecology.




11INTRODUCTIONThe urban environment can be a physically hostile place. City designers have tried for years to mitigate these effects through streetscape design, planning, and brownsite redevelopment. However, not as much attention or research has been given to the devastating effects the urban environment can have on the mind and soul. (Olmstead 1870) Frederick Law Olmstead began this search in the United States when he realized the need for green space to soothe and reform the minds of factory workers living in sub standard living conditions. He believed much of the hostility between city residents was from their disconnection with the grounding forces of nature. (Olmstead 1870) For Manhattan, New York, Central Park was his answer. Since that time New York City has grown exponentially. Are the same ideas that were applied then still relevant today? The areas surrounding Central Park have become prime real estate and now has a belt of pensive areas of Manhattan. Todays realities are that land is disappearing and transportation is expensive. Furthermore, this disconnection with nature that Olmstead feared has disproportionally affected the young er generations. They grow up in an era without memories of farms or wilderness, while only hearing about it in history books. The handheld personal technology boom has also taken off. Now kids are six times more likely to play a video game than ride a bike. (Cauchon, 2005) Many urban and suburban kids and adults cannot say the last time they went to a national park, but have spent the entire day on their iphone. This represents a clear shift that has taken place in recent years. Much of our business and personal interaction takes place through the internet and various devices. Does nature and technology have to struggle against each other? This thesis aims to take a different approach in reconciling the two. What if digital media technology can be the tool that builds relationships between people and nature? This thesis explores the intersection of digital media technology as a learning tool for the youth within urban centers, with the development of an apbetween nature and humans.




13Connecting kids to nature through technology Attention Restoration Therapy (Theory) Virtual World Technology (Tool)Lack of Access Nature Undervalued Affects Children DisproportionallyAccessible to Most Highly Valued Accepted Most by ChildrenSmart Technology Boom RESEARCH PROCESS


14The Decline of Nature (D.O.N)Since humans have existed, we have steadily made the climb to more urban environments. From what we know of known human history, we have been mostly hunter-gatherers up until about 10,000 years ago. (Bulliet 2011)At this moment, much of the world turned towards subsistence agriculture and began to settle down. Roughly, another 5,000 years after that, agricultural innovations allowed for a surplus of food and for people to make their livelihood through nonagricultural activities. These people cities. (Bulliet 2011) However, since these changes happened gradually over thousands of years, people had time to change and adapt to their environment and new ways of living. Once the industrial revolution hit in the 18th-19th centuries, urbanization began to pick up pace. Agriculture became mechanized and drove more people out of work. These displaced people found work in city factories. (Bulliet 2011) The rapid rate of industrialization and change created fast, poorly designed housing. In New York City, between 1800 and 1880 tenements were built at a rapid rate factory workers. (Tenements 2013) These tenements were meant to be single family apartments, but were These apartments were built back to back with sometimes only a bit of backyard greenspace that housed the outdoor community toilet. ( Much of these were built in the Lower East Side. (Tenements 2013) As a result of these poor living conditions, the City Beautiful movement emerged in response. Frederick Law Olmstead, a leader of this movement, saw the need for a public, natural refuge for these families in tenement conditions. ( He helped to design Central Park as a refuge for these people. ( He wanted the greatest possible contrast with tions of the town, which compel us to walk circumspectly, watchfully, jealously, which compel us to look closely upon others without sympathy. (Olmstead 1870) Society was starting to wake up to the effects of tight living quarters and lack of greenspace. tained residents in multi-family houses that were built next to work. (Auch 2004) Beginning in the 1920s, aided by the rising popularity of automobiles, suburban living started to appear around the older cities. These suburbs emerged due to the automobile and middle and upper classes leaving cities that faced economic hard times and rising crime. (Dickinson Jr. 1960) These suburbs continued to grow until some began to develop some of the problems of the city such as pollution and crime. During this time, beginning in 1949 with Title One of the Housing Act of 1949, which provided govern ment funding to redevelop slums, the urban revitalization era began in the U.S.. (Hyra 2012) This movement recognizes the diminishing natural and agricultural landscapes and aims to reinvent these historical cities. These cities are making an effort to create socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable living conditions.Nature City New Nature Awareness!


15 Richard Louv (2006) used to describe the increasing divide between humans and nature. From pre-colonial America until now, each generation has grown up with a slightly different relationship to nature. It began as nature, the wilderness to be conquered. It progressed into small farms where families grew up and children roamed the woods. When early cities appeared parks were available to roam as well as undeveloped natural areas nearby. Children, in search of fun and driven by their imagination, could spend the entire day outside playing, if given the chance. At the advent of suburban living, stretches of neighbors lawns and yards in neighbor hoods, were the childhood stomping grounds. Recently, according to Louv, many children and adults from the past 2-3 decades have experienced the beginning of the division between nature and play. These children and young adults have not had the experiences of past generations of kids where nature was easily accessible. Basic Cognitive Functioning (B.C.F.)The absence of nature or the under exposure of nature also has physical effects. Recently, scientists have researched how city environments affect our brain. They have found evidence that just being in an urban environment has immediate, detrimental effects. After a few minutes of being immersed on a crowded city street, the brain is less able to hold things in memory, and suffers from reduced self-control. (Lehrer 2009) In a cityscape, there is so much stimuli vying for our attention. We away from conversations, beeping horns, restaurant smells, etc. In 1892 William James distinguished between our two types of attention: 1) involuntary attention, where attention is captured by fascinating stimuli and 2) directed attention, where attention is focused on a mentally directed task. (James 1892) Our involuntary attention is our innate reaction to the stimuli and cannot be completely controlled. Our directed attention has to override our involuntary attention in order to complete the task we are focused on, such as walking to our favorite pastry shop downtown. It has been proven that not only after taking a stroll in the city, but even just looking at a picture of the city, our directed attention suffers and we are not able to perform tasks related to this type of attention as well. (Berman 2008)


16D.O.N. N.D.D. B.C.F.HunterGatherers Subsistence Agriculture Agriculture Revolution and Early Cities Industrial Revolution Cities City Movements Suburbs Revitalized Cities Wilderness Farms and Remnant Natural Areas Parks Suburban Yards Revitalized City Greenspace 2 Types of Attention: Involuntary Attention At tention is captured fasci nating stimuli, our innate response Directed Attention Atten tion that is focused on a mentally directed task Cognitive Effects of: A Few Minutes on Urban Street -Reduced Memoy Capac ity -Reduced Self Control Looking at Picture of Urban Env. -Directed attention suffers, not as able to perform mental tasks




18Creativity and Higher Mental TasksMany of the attention experiments have focused on the effect urban environments have on directional attention and have measured basic tasks that require this type of attention. (Berman 2008) If the effect is so dramatic on these simple tasks, what then becomes of higher level cognitive tasks such as problem solving and creativity? It is an interesting coincidence that generations ago the average person could build their own house and most of what they needed while all around them was wilderness. In addition it was commonplace for children to build their own toys from whatever their imagination spewed out and what materials they could age urbanized American has more disposable resources and income, instead of children building to their hearts content, the creativity is limited to a few toy manufacturers. Few adults have the impetus (or ability) to imagine something new and bring it into the physical, even if it is as simple as a better idea for their paper towel dispenser. Every day, most adults commute through the city to then work at a job that demands directed attention. These people are making decisions that will change the course of history and direct peoples lives. How can we foster an environment that is conducive to creativity. SpiritualRichard Louv (2006) recalls that in a meeting in his living room with religious leaders, they stressed that to be spiritual is to always be in awe. Nature brings this constant sense of amazement. It is not coincidental that most of the well known places on earth are natural features: the sand dunes of the Sahara, the Great Barrier Reef, the Swiss Alps, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the savannahs of Africa. All these features strike awe in the hearts of the visitor and humble the viewer. Young Native Americans would immerse themselves in the wilderness on vision quests in search of God. Buddha gained enlightenment underneath a bodhi tree. The experience of nature transcends human communication and is understood at a deeper level. Edward Hoffman, a psychologist who specializes in childhood psychology, interviewed many adults and children to gain insight into their childhood transcendental experiences of great meaning, beauty, or inspiration. He found that most of these experiences happened in nature. (Hoffman 1992) If children cannot access some form of nature, what will inspire wonder and amazement in them? Where will they begin to under stand that there are things that cannot be described with language? This before a face or religion is attached to this understanding. It s from this deep understanding that ethics and values are born. These spiritual convictions shape beliefs and inform the sincerest environmental stewardship.


19The Generation That Nature Abandoned many people now of college age generation largely to grow up in I completely identify with Louvs sentiments and this was in part, the inspi ration for my research. My particular age group being at the front end that experienced a little piece of nature in my small suburban backyard while listening to my parents stories of how they would get lost in the acres and acres of tropical forest that surrounded their homes in Jamaica. At the same time, my sister and I were always told we could not dig mudholes in our backyard because there was not enough space; but then had to endure stories of how our mom used to dig holes and climb trees because there was enough space for her to wander out of sight of the house. My dad spoke of digging up cannon balls in the land around his house left over from Jamaicas buccaneer days. In another childhood memory I recall looking into a schools parking lot through the chain link fence at the back of my yard, while my dad described how he used to hike up the Blue Mountains with his cub scouts through the mist and exchange the hot Jamaican air for the cool mountain breeze. I recall wanting to do the same. I wanted to wander far enough that I could make mud pies to my hearts content. I imagined my sister and I could extend our game of pretending to be Native Americans to a further place that was uninter rupted by car engines and police sirens. My grandfather and father built us a swing set in the backyard and my mom bought us outdoor toys, but what I really wanted was their stories. This thesis will focus on the younger school children since they are part of ing up in this de-natured environment. They are also young enough that if given the right situation, they can begin a relationship with nature and grow up with ecological understanding and experience. Lost ValuesUnfortunately, I think that those younger than myself whose parents are not from exotic places, would not have been exposed to those stories, or even the little access to nature that I had. Nature is a foreign entity to these kids because they do not realize that people can live next to and in nature. There does not have to be a division between the two. It is only recently that we have drawn this harsh line. It is imperative that these children and young adults are reached out to. How will they protect forests and wetlands if they do not have an appreciation or tie to them? It cannot be taken for granted that without experiencing it, this generation will grow to endear it. A renewed environmen tal ethic is starting to grow with the sustainability and green movement, but who will bring it to fruition?


20 A.R.T.Attention Restoration Theory (A.R.T.) is an idea proposed by Steven Kaplan (1983) where exhausted directed attention could be restored if the individ ual was put into the right environment. The most conducive environment for this is wild nature. Undisturbed nature has these inherent qualities. However, these qualities can be extracted from natural examples and infused into urban environments that lack these restorative qualities. Kaplan (1983) Kaplan has 4 major criteria for a restorative environment:Compatibility The environment must support a persons goals and inclinations. It does not coerce but formation is given in the environment are obvious. There are not too many distractions (excessive noise, visual clutter, physical obstacles). This picture shows that this park provides many ways to relate to the environment. Escapism in order to achieve restoration, the stimuli and pressure that attention must be removed. The person must feel as if they were away from it.This wilderness pictures shows that this environment has depth and is a world of its own.Fascination The environment has to hold the persons attention and interest without becoming a distraction.A rushing stream creates fascination through motion.Coherence This largely ties into fascination. The environment has to be easily discernible and organized. It has to have some form of organiz ing principle so it does not become a loose connection of distracting parts.This rest stop has areas that are easy to identify both physically and functionally.


21A.R.T. CASE STUDIESIn order to understand the different forms Attention Restoration Therapy can take, three case studies were The case studies were picked to show the range of physical possibility. Various forms of nature can provide study, the Toyota Childrens Learning garden, features a small park that exhibits the natural biodiversity of its region. The second form nature can take is an abstracted, symbolic reference to nature, such as a photo forms to imitate nature and calm the minds of its users. On the extreme end of the spectrum, even the color the idea of nature.


22Fig. 1 Fig. 5 Fig. 4 Fig. 3 Fig. 2


23Toyota Childrens Learning Garden Michael Van Valkenburg Assocates (LA Firm) New York, NY USA The Learning Garden shows a more traditional experience of urban nature presented in a small park for mat. The garden was created so kids could learn different environmental habitats in an intimate setting. Compatibility: The site has medium compatibility. For the most part there is a path to follow through the park that winds back and forth and determines how most visitors traverse the park. However, there are some areas that diverge off the path that have seating These areas are great for adults, but are not as expansive for kids. When younger kids are playing, they tend to run wherever their imagiinventive uses for park furniture. Some areas of this garden do not look like they could accommodate this type of play. Furthermore, the large black metal gates do not seem very welcoming to children.Escapism: This site has a high level of escapism because once you are in the middle, the garden envelops you and you lose sight of the road and urban streetscape. The use of plants that occupy various spacial levels helps to block the outside context, whether the user is walking or seated.Fascination: The different textures of green allow the eye to wander without demanding sole attention. The textures offer layers of interest. Larger textures capture attention from afar, while upon closer contact.Coherence: This small park is easily navigable. The walkway forms diagonals that bounce back and forth on the site. While on the pathway, it is possible to view further destinations and seating. This grabs the users attention, but also reassures them that there is space for rest. The garden is also organized into beds that are surrounded by the same gravel that is used between the concrete walkway slabs. This lets the visitor know that it is also ok to walk off the path and around these beds.


24 Fig. 1 Fig. 3 Fig. 2


25The Nest Patrick Dougherty (Willow Sculpture Artist) Portland Oregon The founders of the international ad agency, Wieden + Kennedy, believe that in order for creativity and inso it has space to imagine. The Nest was created to provide this meaningful space. Compatibility: The Nest provides a high level of compatibility. it allows its users to escape and unwind from the creatively demanding workplace. The room has large pillows that resemble natural rock and couches to relax upon. This room is also host to a small coffee and tea station that adds additional comfort.Escapism: The Nest, as the name suggests, has a form reminiscent of a blank birds cocoon-shaped nest. This cozy space has walls of willow saplings and alder branches contrasts against the rigid, modern architecing. These organic shapes create soft walls that successfully blocks out most views of the building it is in.Fascination: This curvilinear egg form environment draws wonder with its odd interior The tables and furniture are made out of raw materials like found driftwood and coarsely woven Coherence: The organic shape of the room signals to the user that this space is different from the rectilinear design of the surrounding way invites the user while the large, curving couch emphasizes that this is a place of relaxation.


26 Fig. 1 Fig. 2


27Urban Green Ljusarkitektur (Lighting Design Company) Stockholm, Sweden Urban Green is an art installation that showcases how lighting, color, and sound can imitate nature. The concept for this piece was an eco-duct that funnels and connects plants and animals from one point to another. Compatibility: The Urban Green installation enhances the function of the pedestrian underpass. It is however, limited to the tunnel like structure that Without the installation, the underpass would have little compatibility. The installa tion does increase its compatibility and even allows tion through its limited seating. Escapism: This abstract installation achieves quite a bit of escapism even with its simplicity. It draws the attention upwards and way tion includes sounds of birds chirping and a scent component. Since the under pass is dark both day and night, the neon colors of the lights, mesh and glownate reality underneath.Fascination: This piece captures the users attention with the undulating, green forms. The lighting randomly appears on different parts of this form and adds interest. Combined with the sounds of birds, the installation seems to have been inspired by a tree canopy, with limbs swaying in the wind to obscure the sunlight. Coherence: While Urban Green is eye-catching, it actually is easily discernible because its elongated shape mirrors the pedestrian path underneath. The seating reinforces that this is a through way. The lighting and use of bright green actually enhances the waylets the user know that the underpass is not only for cars.


28Case Study SummaryAfter analyzing these three case studies for their strength in attention restoration according to Kaplans four guidelines, I realized they shared three physical traits. These traits are: the use of levels, the use of texture, and a cocoon-like environment. Levelslized in the Toyota Childrens Learning Garden (TCLG) by providing plant material that covered the low, medium and high spaces. Ground [plants and gravel occupied the lowest levels. Bushes and smaller trees inhabited the mid-level while an arbor is at the top level. The Nest in the Wiewooden tables with couches that mimic natural rock in the mid range. The sides of the woven wood installa tion towers over the heads of its users. Lastly, even though Urban Green is far from natural it also follows these three levels. The bottom level has lit both seating and glow in the dark installation.TextureThe TCLG contains texture in its plant biodiversity. The types of plants with their varying size, leaf shapes, and colors, provide an abundance of textures. The Nest contains many textures too. The woven branches are an abstract texture. The couch that mimics a boulder provides a contrasts against the wood. Then there are the small smooth light shades that seem to look like some type of insect egg. Lastly, Urban Green shows that texture can still be present without having to be natural. The long organic shape with its depressions and lumps and off randomly create a moving texture that highly contrasts against its rectilinear environment.Cocoon-Like EnvironmentThe planted arbor that surrounds the user as they walk through, in the TCLG, adds a sense of enclosure. The Nest effectively does this with high walls surrounding it to provide visual relief from the workplace and create a sense of safety. Urban Green surrounds the user with color and light beneath them and above them to encapsulate them in an area that is Kaplans four components that create a restorative environment, compatibility, escapism, fascination, and coherence, will provide the assess able guidelines to shape the creation of the site. However, the starting point in creating the physical form will be the three traits discussed above. At a minimum, for the site to be successful, it should contain these three aspects.




30How to Bring Nature Back.. Through Technology?We know that we need to infuse nature back into cities where it is lacking. However, we also need to generate interest and participation for those who nature has left behind. We need to reach out to the generations who nature has abandoned and technol ogy has embraced. The youngest of these nature-deprived souls are far more comfortable downloading the latest app on their smartphone than distinguishing the different trees in their backyard. According to the American Environmental Values Survey, 92% of participants thought that most kids do not spend enough time outdoors while 91% also agree that kids now care more about video games and portable music players than about wildlife and clean air. (EcoAmerica 2006) To reach this more techno-urban generation in a language they understand and feel at home with, computer gaming technology is the bridge. This technology provides the opportunity to shape the youths opinions and experiences with nature in a way that is realistic and understands the needs of the current generation. Digital simulation can create new green spaces without the physical necessities of water and sunlight. These new spaces provide the interface where transcendental experiences can be manifested and deep feelings evoked. Mass Accessibleer technology to be truly accessible by the masses. (Hutchby 2001) Video games today, combine the visual cinematography of movies and computer technology to create a visually interactive experience. In 1992, video games made up 10% of the audio visual market. (Hutchby 2001) In 2009 the video game industry surpassed the music, movie, DVD/Blu-Ray industries in revenues domestically and worldwide. (Murph 2009) In 2011 video game sales (hardware, software, and accessories)were $16.998 billion. (Savitz 2013) This technology has quickly become the most lucrative form of entertainment. Kids 8 to 18 spend an average of 6.5 hours a day with electronic media, about 45 hours a week. (Rideout & Hamel, 2006; Roberts, et al., 2005). If video games have become one of the most popular forms of entertainment amongst the younger generations, then how many of these 45 hours using electronic media are actually spent video gaming? Probably at least half. To ignore the widespread popularity of this genre of entertainment would landscape architecture, intending to keep up with the times. How long ematography was adapted to the only recently that the cinema media has gone from project presentation to integration into urban landscapes (i.e. Crown Fountain at Chicagos Millennium Park). This fountain changed the way this space functioned, and connected people in new ways. The industry of video gaming is just beginning to be recognized as mainstream reaches 30. How can the integration of this media and landscapes change Furthermore, pure console and computer video games do not take into account the smartphone and tablet revolution. These may be the next leap, with video games serving as one of the main forefathers of interactive multime-dia. (Hutchby 2001)The Increasing Acceptance of Video GamesIn recent years, the access to personal digital media has exploded. The general public is now acquainted with smartphone and tablet apps and digital interfaces. Games on smartphones and tablets have grown into its own industry. Many of these apps are modeled off of the video game experience. In the past video games were limited to computers and video game consoles and these games were usually thought of as a pastime. However, now their power is


31vide a new depth of understanding and facilitation. The simulation concept that video games use is unique in that the user can interact and manipulate the subject of the interface to produce a certain result. The path to a result is dynamic and depends upon the users inputs within a given set of rules. This is different from past that they can only show a represen tation of an object and describe through words and images how something works. (Frasca 2001) This simulation has the ability to advocate through experience.The Digital ValueRecent digital media technology provides services that have not been possible until this technology development. Currently, smartphones and tablets have the ability to locate places and people through GPS (Global Positioning System). Games on these devices have taken advantage of the geo-location technology to create an augmented, parallel reality that is accessed and interacted with the device. The stargazing accompaniment on the iPad, known as Star Walk, allows the user to hold up their smartphone or tablet to the sky and overlays an image of the constellation in that direction. So in real life, the viewer only sees the stars, but through the screen the viewer sees the stars with the overlaid image so they can easily identify where the constellation is, and what stars make it up. Right now there is not a synthesis between the actual sky and the virtual overlay. The Google Glass is just about to start of these glasses coming soon. The Google Glass has many of the capabilities of a smartphone except it is housed in barely there eye glasses. Instead of looking at a smartphone screen, these high tech eye glasses put the screen right next to your eye so the image overlays on top of your regular vision. ( So far, this technology seems to be limited to basic pictures and videos. Google Glass Eyewear View Through Google Glass Eye wear Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3


32The Oculus Rift headset is made exclusively for 3D video gaming where once the headset is on, you can view the virtual world in the same way you would view the real world, in 360 degrees. You just have to turn your head. Unlike the transparency of the Google Glass, this headset aims to fully immerse the gamer in the virtual world, without interference of the real world. This headset is still in the early stage of hardware and soft ware development. This is the closest technology has come so far to full visual immersion.Oculus Rift Headset In the near future, just as how telephones merged with computer gaming to create smartphone technol ogy, the wearable internet based Google Glass cellphone and the virtual reality Oculus Rift headset will very soon spawn technology where the real and virtual world become part of each other. It is at that point where landscape architecture is not limited to the physical world but will also take place in the virtual world whether or not real landscape architects have a hand in its design. Right now architects and landscape architects are being hired to recreate believable worlds in video games. This future presents a vital opportunity. Who do we want designing our virtual spaces that are experienced equally with the physical? Landscape architects with training in environmental and social awareness can reach out to a large captive audience and educate through virtual experience. Fig. 1


33Summary of FindingsThe media of digital gaming has the opportunity to be used as a tool for environmental advocacy. A connature and new technology. The technology is only a tool that can be shaped to do our will, whether it is reuniting children with nature or severing the connection. To foster this rekindling, we must take an active part in the integration of interactive digital media with environmental values, just as how oral histories and on values and ideas. While the video game and smartphone markets have exploded, visits to national parks have steadily declined. ( Even though a Science Daily article cites eco-nomic hardship despite relatively cheap admissions for the decline in national park visitation, video game sales have increased in these tough economic times, despite the $60 price tag for new games. In addition, smart phones and tablets that have become popular require expensive data plans. An increasingly substantial amount of money is being spent on leisure electronic media. Does this represent a shift in values? This thesis will explore how computer gaming technology can help reverse children. Using the A.R.T. principles as a guide, this combination will allow kids to step outside of their physical perspective and inhabit the view of someone else, or in this case, view another possibility of their own reality. Flanagan (2009) describes this as critical play but I believe this is more be able to step into this make believe reality that questions or brings to attention certain aspects of urban life. in the way the alternate reality is designed. This digital re-creation used as a tool, blurs the lines between reality and fantasy. The virtual version borrows the features of the geographical site and remixes and adds to the content to create a re-imagined space. This new space can only be experienced at the real site through looking through a digital device to experience this parallel reality. The goal is to inspire kids to look at this virtual reality and hold it up to the real one to be compared and improved. It presents an environmental possibility that is physically absent. Then eventually through inspiring stewardship and values, the virtual becomes physical when digital ideas are constructed in physical space.


site selection




36SITE LOCATIONStudy Area in Manhattan New York, New York Historical Map Showing City Grid Imposed on Original Water Courses of Manhattan Fig. 1 Fig. 2


37 CONTEXT This projects study area is made up of the East Village and Lower East Side. Before development, these areas were primarily made up of marsh land and pasture land. (Viele Map 1865) These areas were mostly made up of tenements during the Industrial Revolution and both neighborhoods were actually part of the Lower east Side. (Tenements 2013) In the 1960s the northern half of the neighborhood became known as East Village as artists and poets moved in and created a different culture. (McKinley 1995) The past 100 years have seen many cultural movements spring from East Village and the Lower East Side. These movements include hip-hop, punk music, and folk music. The neighborhood was home to clubs like CGBG and many bands and singers such as Blondie, the Ramones, and Madonna, started their career here. (McCormick 2006) East Village (Alphabet City) was the setting for the musical Rent. (Perez 2005) In recent times the art scene has Study Area Historical Study AreaFig. 1 Fig. 2


38GREENTHUMBThe GreenThumb community gardens are sponsored by the city. The program includes education and supplies to assist a community in creating their own garden. The program was founded in the 70s when many public and private lands were abandoned due lands were turned into greens pace that ranges from edible gardens to gathering spaces.


39PARKSThis maps shows all city owned parks on or near the study site.


40% of population that is under 18 years old % of family householdscentrated and where the population was most vulnerable. These maps show that there is an overlap between the higher concentrations of children and socio-economicly stressed populations. This means that the greatest opportunities would be in the nearby blocks.0% 0% 80% 35%DEMOGRAPHICS


41% of single moms % of population under poverty level0% 30% 0% 50%


42SCHOOLSThe grades of the public and private schools, kindergarten through twelth grade were investigated to understand where the target demograph (kindergarten through eigth grade) was located.Private Schools Public Schools Kindergarten 6th Grade Kindergarten 5th Grade Kindergarten 8th Grade Kindergarten 8th Grade Kindergarten 12th Grade Kindergarten 12th Grade 6th Grade 8th Grade 6th Grade 8th Grade 6th Grade 12th Grade 9th Grade 12th Grade


43VACANT LOTScant through google earth. The area of focus was centered the demograph diagrams.


44SITE 1Park Connection GreenThumb Connection School Connection 10 Minute Walk Diameter 5 Minute Walk Diameter




46SITE 2Park Connection GreenThumb Connection School Connection 10 Minute Walk Diameter 5 Minute Walk Diameter




This site was chosen as the project location because of its many opportunistic connections, its artful character, and it did not have a current construction project on the site.48SITE 3Park Connection GreenThumb Connection School Connection 10 Minute Walk Diameter 5 Minute Walk Diameter


The name for this project, RIZE, correct spelling from dictionary. 7. to spring up or grow, as plants 9. to come into existence, appear 26. to increase in price or value49


design process




52SUN SHADE DIAGRAMS These solar/ sun studies provide information for site planning purposes and the potential location for plants and program elements. Microclimates help to inform optimal spatial arrangementof program elements for user comfort.North Site North Site South Site South SiteJanuary10 AM 3 PM January 15, 2013 Solar Altitude: 21.8 Solar Azimuth: 148.5 E of N January 15, 2013 Solar Altitude: 16.2 Solar Azimuth: 222.2 E of N SITE KEY MAP


53North Site North Site South Site South SiteJuly10 AM 3 PM July 15, 2013 Solar Altitude: 66.7 Solar Azimuth: 141.3 E of N July 15, 2013 Solar Altitude: 36.6 Solar Azimuth: 267.8 E of N SITE KEY MAP


54This diagram shows 60 degree sight cones into the site from cars and pedestrians. These sight cones highlight important views of the site that will entice kids and passersby to explore the site. It is important that these areas attract attention and stand out from the surrounding context. These areas should let the viewer know what this site is about. This can include signage or memorable design ing.SIGHTLINES/ POINTS OF INTEREST SITE KEY MAP Sight Cone Point of Interest


55The design of the active and passive spaces take its form from remnant habitat patterns in which a corridor connects the two patches. Each patch contains an interior space with unique species and a surrounding ring that houses generalist species. In this adapted urban remnant corridor, the interior is home to more active and playful activities, while the observation, and viewing.ACTIVE/ PASSIVE DIAGRAM SITE KEY MAP Connection Active Passive


56This map from New York Citys Open Accessible Space Information System (OASIS) reconstructs which ecosystems were most likely present on the site in 1609. The site is rich in ecosystem diversity and was even home to a riverine system. Appalacian Oak Pine Forest Oak Tulip Forest Salt Shrub Community High Salt Marsh Low Salt MarshHISTORIC ECOSYSTEMS


Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3 Fig. 4 Fig. 557ANCIENT HABITATS ONSITE


SYNTHESIS58This site synthesis diagram shows on site conditions that should be addressed. Certain areas of the site (indicated in red) receive sun at the hottest time of day in the summer. These sunny and exposed areas should be addressed and utilized in the design for ultimate user comfort and comapatibility. The next opportunity is the connections. The north site is right across the street from a GreenThumb Community Park and is also across the street from the south site. This creates a green linkage amongst these sites and makes the northern site function more as a design response. Due to these connections, the edges of the sites that face the street are highly ing the user towards the site. These are great opportunities for signage placement. Since the activates the central interior space. The edges of the site, which back up to large brick walls, would be an opportunity for seating and rebacks of users and full views of the park in front of them. This is especially needed for cretakers of the children to be able to see the entire park at once to keep an eye on their child. It also can provide more quiet time for adults as kids play and learn in the center.


59 Sunny Areas GreenThumb Park Highly Visible Edges Connections


60These explorational diagrams were inspired by the pixellated form that the ancient habitats took in the Oasis maps. They are not represen tative of the exact habitats but explore the the site can take since due to spatial and environmental constraints, an exact re-creation is not possible.They play with the blending and distortion of the habitats into further pixellated constructions. DIAGRAMMING PIXELS




62The site design process includes program organization and aesthetic form design. While different elements help to inform each, program and form in the end blend and overlap to produce of my design process, very loose functional diagrams are drawn to explore spatial and programmatic possibilities. They investigate how the relationships between these program elements.INITIAL CONCEPT


N 63Outdoor Classroom Play Median Median Artistic Ground Connection Flexible Space Flexible Space Through Circulation Individual Learn/ Play Coherence: Well deand pathways.Fascination: The varied and changing program keeps the user interested.Compatibility: Flexible space accomodates changing program and various program areas add more opportuni ties.Escape: The sites spatial layout expands the site and makes it seem larger than it is. The design stands out from its context and creates an oasis.


64After the functional diagramming to determine how the sites will work together as a whole and exploring spatial opportunities such as sightlines and active, passive areas, the actual design of these studies.CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT


65 Gravel Play Area Planted Areas (In Green) Planted Areas (In Green) Concrete Walkway Concrete Walkway Tree Sculpture (For Shade) Dry Stormwater Bed Painted Pixel Intersection Exhibition Platform Raised Outdoor Classroom Coherence: Well depathways. Gravel and concrete ground textures structured movement.Fascination: The program and spatial layout goes from conceptual nature to more organic nature.Compatibility: Real and sculptural trees provide shade and area for contemplation.Escape: The sites uses levels through raised program areas, depressed river beds, and trees to create a sense of depth to this urban environment. Traditional Nature Physical Involvement Conceptual NatureDigital Interaction


Masterplan Idea BoardCompatibility Escapism Fascination Coherence


68 the narrative




70MASTERPLANThe RIZE Forest Site extends across East Houston Street and includes a northern site and southern site. The project represents a spectrum of nature interaction from the more urban abstract on the north end to a more hands on naturalistic experience on the south end. To connect these sites, a painted crosswalk extracts the pixxellated ecosystems from the OASIS map and transfers them onto the road. This visually connects users and alerts drivers to the pedestrian activity. The crosswalk is way is cut through the existing median to serve as a halfway point in the road.




COMPATIBILITY ESCAPE FASCINATION COHERENCE72Seating Signage Signage Pixel Tree Sculpture Mini Virtual Screening Area Stormwater Feature Green Wall Marsh Land Tree Grove N 15ft NORTH SITE


COMPATIBILITY ESCAPE FASCINATION COHERENCE 73Elevated Planting Beds Seating Signage Dry Bed for Stormwater Ramp Access to 2ft Raised Outdoor Classrom Log for Exploration and Play Tree Stump Seating under Classroom Tree N 15ft SOUTH SITE




Since the purpose of the augmented reality site is to conect kids with nature, the program has to make them aware of the cycles of nature in their community. This awareness will create better understanding and hopefully foster environmental values and inspire kids to get out into the real ecosystems that are represented. The seasonal program tells the overall story of RIZE Forest and shows how the site and activities transform from season to season. Activities are categorized as either occuring in the physical environment or the virtual environment. Each activitys theme is based around the environment, cultural/ historical, or a combination of both. These categorizations are denoted with line types and line colors surrounding activity pictures. These activity pictures point to where on the site they would occur, physically or virtually.SEASONAL PROGRAM75


to wake up... Rize Forest blooms and explodes with color...


springVirtual baby wildlife roams the north site. Kids will learn what ecosystem niche these animals live in and why this is important by looking for the appropriate food in a virtual scavenger hunt. They can build friendships with these little creatures if they can identify the right plant and animal foods. In late spring, school class es can plant seeds in their designated planter box and assist Rize Forest in its regenera tion. These boxes can be decorated for the season so kids can display their artwork and plants. Interactive apps lets kids name their plants and reminds them when their plant needs watering or fertilizer. Virtual Activity Physical Activity Environmental Theme Historical/ Cultural Theme


Rize Forest is fully awake and buzzing with excite stories...


summerDuring the daytime young adventur ers can explore the virtual Rize forest in full bloom and learn about local plants. Games will center around plant knowledge and uses. At evening time, families gather for movie screenings and watch Summertime is perfect for out door crafts and stories under the tree. These activites allow kids to explore their creative side with nature as the backdrop and inspiration. The hot days of summer are excellent for building forts that also serve as temporary sculpture exhibition! Virtual Activity Physical Activity Environmental Theme Historical/ Cultural Theme


Forest inhabitants settle in and begin their prepara tions for winter. Hawks and warblers start their south ern journey...


fallFall is the time to gather around and hear stories of Indian legends. Kids will learn about the Native Americans in their area and their beliefs about nature. Then mysteriously around Halloween time, the Rize Forest suddenly becomes ominous and spooky... Virtual migrating head. Kids will learn to identify these birds and listen to their calls. correctly, they wave goodbye and start their journey. School craft fairs will give public schools a chance to fundraise while showcasing the talents of their students. Virtual Activity Physical Activity Environmental Theme Historical/ Cultural Theme


plants and animals are storing up their energy for spring festivities...


winterAlthough Rize Forest rests during the winter, virtual ice castles can be explored! While the forest rests, activities for the next year are decided with input from the kids. Drawings can be submitted for ideas as well as voting polls for the next years activities. Winter apps let kids know the snowball, snow angel, and snow man forecast. They are alerted to which days are optimum for these winter activities. Virtual Activity Physical Activity Environmental Theme Historical/ Cultural Theme


This storyboard is a series if images that were taken from the virtual simulation. it switches over to the virtual overlay that shows how the virtual site could look like in Fall. Each image also demonstrates how the A.R.T. principles were used in both the physical and virtual worlds. To better experience how this simulation would work, please watch the videos on the CD at the back of this book. The simulation was modeled in 3D Studio Max and exported into the CryEngine Editor where vegetation, effects, and terrain were added. The gaming software that will be used is the CryEngine 3 SDK (Software Development Kit) developed by Crytek. This software is referred to as a sandbox editor, and appropriately so. Similar to a real sandbox your structure (building, park, sand castle) is imported or placed into the sandbox. Trees, small objects, and water can be put in too. Unlike a real sandbox, however, the editor can script these various objects to act as they would in the real world. The trees can sway in the wind, birds can chirp, objects respond to gravity, etc. As long as you can program it, there are few limitations.RIZE FOREST STORYBOARD This site plan shows storyboard loca tions that are keyed to the screen captures. The green path shows the journey through the physical site only, while the magenta shows the journey onsite aided by the virtual augmented iverlay. COMPATIBILITY ESCAPE FASCINATION COHERENCE841 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 15


At the north intersection, the planter welcomes visitors. The location allows pass ersby on the busy street to understand that this is a park. 851


There are many options to traverse the park. They range from concrete tiling, gravel, and rocks in the stormwater bed. These different textures depart from the usual urban streetscape. 862


The geometric shape of the stormwater feature contrasts against the naturally ordered vegetation and creates interest. 873


The wall in this space can be used as a virtual screening spot to watch virtual 884




The spatial levels formed by the ground vegetation, green wall, and shade sculpture create a comforting cocoon like environment. 906


The tree sculpture provides a sense of wonder and art while shading visitors. The leaves on the branches of this tree are actually LCD screens that show these leaves swaying as if they were being blown in the wind. 917


Large rocks in the stormwater feature allow kids the delightful opportunity to hop across the river from rock to rock. 928


Seating is provided underneath the pixel tree sculpture. It faces another wall that can be used as physical screening space during the evenings for families. The seating here on various levels provides casual theatre seating. 939


The virtual overlay adds a wild, natural experience to the site but keeps the basic form and elements of the site for easy navigation and comprehension. 9410


The view to the other side of the site reveals a small waterfall in the distance. This overlay extends the site and possibilities in the childs imagination. 9511


Physical objects are still viewed with overgrown vegetation as if the site were reclaimed by nature. 9612


The virtual world allows for the integration of animal experience and education where natural animals could not survive. Here children get to learn about bird migration. 9713


tree stumps. 9814


The waterfall and river create a unique experience that takes the user from the site and fully immerses them in the fantasy virtual world complete with the sound of rushing water and virtual mist. The virtual waterfall and river have a one to one connection with the stormwa ter feature. 9915

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The virtual river is a departure from the urban environment. 10016

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103 This project explored the A.R.T. principles and virtual technology integration in an urban park space. born and raised in these cities. This project also explored what implications the A.R.T. principles would have on an urban park if it were incorporated from the beginning. These principles were applied to a spectrum of materials that included plant, manmade materials, and digital world technology. RIZE Forest explored how these different materials could interface and blend together under the direction of the A.R.T. principles to create a restorative environment and prove that there are other methods to mitigate N.D.D. in kids. Another aspect that this project was able to explore was how technology can be integrated into a sites program and not merely be a design tool, but an enriching program element. The virtual dimension of RIZE Forest was able to expand on the sites meaning and create new types of interaction in the physical world. It illustrates a way that the physical urban environment and nature-inspired virtual reality can come together to produce memories and relate to nature in the physical and virtual realms. The process took a traditional landscape architecture approach and expanded it with the new spatial and experiential possibilities that virtual reality has to offer. One of the main things I learned in this project, was that I had to design a new type of space that you do not encounter in the landscape architecture masters program. This space was the seam where the physical space and digital spaces merged. If I were designing a completely physical park space, there are already established guidelines and studies of good design. I would just have to reinvent them for my purposes. Similarly, if I were only designing a virtual, video game world, there are also many successful examples of formats. The new issue I ran into was how this site could be successful in combining the two. I almost had to create my own rules for this. For instance, the locations of physical and virtual water features and pathways should line up. However, I did not know how much the virtual site could deviate from the physical site and still be believable and safe. I could only use my judgment gained from playing very basic virtual overlay games through Microsofts Kinect sensor. Unlike these games, the realism I aimed to achieve was much higher, and it would have to be easily navigable. Once I was in this design phase, I quickly realized how new this idea was. It was challenging to design for a new genre of spatial design. I think to be successful, basic design guidelines in augmented reality need to be explored deeply. If there were no time limitations, virtual activity would be explored further. Physical sites were assessed games or digital applications. Case studies that explore how different games have achieved these principles would be useful in designing the virtual component. This would have created a richer virtual experience. Furthermore, a narrowing of focus on just one season would have helped to develop it to a greater extent.

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104 The ideas that were explored in this thesis can be taken and applied to other urban environments where a physical space and environmental resources are at a minimum. Since creating a virtual component the greatest amount of users can access it. To begin the creation of these sites that have the dual physical/ interfaces with this technology is built. In this setup, it will be easy to explore which parks have conditions that are most conducive to this interface. Do these parks have to be simple with basic shapes, or can the program easily integrate into more vegetated parks? Also, it would help to explore the content of the virtual programs to discover what types do people like and what forms are most successful at providing the best created. Another alternative for the creation of these parks is by the citizens themselves, at least when it develop their own games, such as the CryEngine. Perhaps parks can have their own development programs where users can create their own new experiences and share them with others. This especially would give kids more room to imagine and create.

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106BIBLIOGRAPHYBooks and Articles Auch, R, J. Taylor, and W. Acevedo. (January 2004) Urban Growth in American Cities: Glimpses of U.S. Ur banization. U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1252 ence: Volume 19Number 12, pages 1207-1212 Bers, Marina Umaschi and Justine Cassell. (1999) Interactive Storytelling Systems for Children: Using Tech nology to Explore Language and Identity. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, volume 9 (2), AACE,pp. 603-609. Bulliet, Richard W, Pamela Crossley, Daniel R. Headrick, Steven W. Hirsch, Lyman L. Johnson, David Northup (2011) The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History. Wadsworth: Boston, MA Cauchon, Dennis (2005). Childhood Pastimes are Increasingly Moving Indoors. USA Today, 11 July 2005. er Science Naval Postgraduate School Dickinson Jr., W. B. (1960). Suburban migration. Editorial research reports 1960 (Vol. II). Washington, DC: CQ Press. Retrieved from EcoAmerica (2006). American Environmental Values Survey: American Views on the Environment in an Era A. HERWIG and P. PAAR. Game Engines: Tools for Landscape Visualization and Planning? Herzog, T, L. Hayes, R. Applin and Anna M. Weatherly. (2011) Incompatibility and Mental Fatigue. Environ 43: 827

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107Hyra, Derek S. Conceptualizing the New Urban Renewal: Comparing the Past to the Present. Urban Affairs Review July 2012 vol. 48 no. 4 498-527 James, W. (1892). Psychology: The briefer course. New York: Holt. Kaplan, S. (1983). A model of person-environment compatibility. Environment and Behavior, 15, 311-332. Kaplan, S. (2001). Meditation, restoration, and the management of mental fatigue. Environment and Behavior, 33, 480-506. KORPEL, K, M. YLE N1, L. INEN and H. SILVENNOINEN. Favorite green, waterside and urban environments, restorative experiences and perceived health in Finland. Health Promotion International, Vol. 25 No. 2 Lehrer, J. How the city hurts your brain. Jan 2, 2009 Lichtenfeld, S, A. Elliot, M. Maier, and R. Pekrun. Fertile Green: Green Facilitates Creative Performance. Per sonality and Social Psychology Bulletin 38(6) 784 797 Louv, R, 2006. Last Child in the Woods. Algonquin Press. McCormick, Carlo (2006) The Downtown Book: The New York Art Scene, 1974, Princeton University Press McKinley, Jesse. (June 1, 1995) When did the East Village become the East Village and stop being part of the Lower East Side?., The New York Times Nisbet, E. and J. Zelenski. Underestimating Nearby Nature: Affective Forecasting Errors Obscure the Happy Path to Sustainability. Psychological Science 22(9) 1101 Perez, Richard. (November 13, 2005) From Grit to Gloss. The New York Times Rideout, V., & Hamel, E. (2006). The media family: Electronic media in the lives of infants, toddlers, pre schoolers and their parents. Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser Family Foundation. Salkin, Allen. (June 3, 2007). Lower East Side Is Under a Groove. New York Times

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108University of Georgia. Recession drives down U.S. national park visitation. ScienceDaily, 19 Oct. 2012. Web. 23 Mar. 2013. Public Parks and the Enlargement of Towns (1870) American Social Science Association Address. Boston, Websites Industrial Revolution. 2013. The History Channel website. Mar 26 2013, 10:42 Tenements. 2013. The History Channel website. Mar 26 2013, 10:42 Urban Conditions 2013. Mar 25 2013, By Darren Murph posted Jan 24th, 2009 at 12:29 AM htm Image Credits Page 20Figures 1, 2, 3, and 4: Kaplan, Rachel, Stephen Kaplan, and Robert Ryan. (1998) With People in Mind: Design And Management Of Everyday Nature. Washington DC: Island PressPage 22Figure 1: Retrieved from Figures 3 and 4: Retrieved from 24Figure 1: Retrieved from Figure 2: Retrieved from Page 26Figure 1: Retrieved from Figure 2: Retrieved from

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109Page 31Figure 1: Retrieved from Figure 2 and 3: Retrieved from 32Figure 1: Retrieved from 36Figure 1: Retrieved from Google Earth Figure 2: Viele, Egbert L. 1865. Sanitary & Topographical Map of the City and Island of New York Prepared for the Council of Hygiene and Pub lic Health of the Citizens Association. Under the direction of Egbert L. Viele, Topographical Engineer. Entered ... 1865 by Egbert L. Viele ... New York. Ferd. Mayer & Co. Lithographers, 96 Fulton St. N.Y.Page 37Figure 1: Viele, Egbert L. 1865. Sanitary & Topographical Map of the City and Island of New York Prepared for the Council of Hygiene and Pub lic Health of the Citizens Association. Under the direction of Egbert L. Viele, Topographical Engineer. Entered ... 1865 by Egbert L. Viele ... New York. Ferd. Mayer & Co. Lithographers, 96 Fulton St. N.Y. Figure 2: Retrieved from Google EarthPages 38+39These maps were made from GIS Data obtained from 42This map was made from GIS Data obtained from 52 and 53Azimuth calculated using calculator from 56Map retrieved from 57 marshsystem.aspx 3 4 and 5

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