Archive for the ‘Visualization’ Category

Open Video Conference

Situ Studio was invited to present recent work at the 2011 Open Video Conference, held September 17-19 at the New York Law School and participated in a session organized and moderated by Sam Gregory of Witness titled: Validating and Verifying Citizen Video: Combating the Digital Fake. The session explored a broad spectrum of approaches to the authentication of citizen video.  Situ Studio presented its work for B’tselem that used multiple video sources for the spatial reconstruction and analysis of Bassem Abu Rahme’s death in the West Bank village of Bil’in. Also presenting were Sarah Knuckey – Director, Project on Extrajudicial Executions, New York University, Harlo Holmes – mobile developer and media scholar currently working for The Guardian Project, and David Clinch, Editorial Director of Coming from the vantages of vastly different disciplines, each of the panelists provided unique approaches to the challenges of authenticating video footage. Notes from the session can be found here.

Hydrofracking Profitability

fracking players

A series of three consecutive articles by Ian Urbina have recently appeared in the New York Times exposing what appear to be the natural gas industry’s inflated promises on hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, is a relatively new technique of pumping large amounts of water and ‘fracking fluid’ at high pressure to crack shale formations and extract natural gas. Though the natural gas industry has become the economic hope of many communities across the US, providing jobs and “sustainable” energy, it has drawn criticism for the environmental consequences of hydrofracking.

Several activist groups have emerged over the course of the industry’s growing popularity, imparting environmental awareness and advocacy for those negatively affected by drilling and fracking. The website has made data sets publicly available for users to interpret and create their own maps. The map below overlays levels of natural gas collected, environmental violations, and poverty across Pennsylvania and the Marcellus Shale, one of the largest shale formations in the US, containing large deposits of natural gas.

With the recent public release of 487 emails and internal documents, the profitability of the industry is under question. The information published by New York Times reveals insecurities among industry officials behind their “bullish” predictions. Further examination of data shows that within vast zones of shale gas formations, a small percentage of wells are actually productive, as made clear in the map above –only the areas outlined in green are noteworthy. Even the active wells are depleting more quickly than predicted, and operating and drilling the wells therefore costs more than the gas is worth, ultimately making for higher consumer energy bills, a reversal of the industry’s claims. Companies including Chesapeake Energy Corporation and Petrohawk Energy are accused of intentionally and illegally overbooking their production, effectively misleading investors who try to assess a company’s strengths and banks that use reserves as collateral for loans.

After the report late Friday on the reconsideration of the hydrofracking ban in New York, activist groups and protestors will convene in Albany on Thursday, July 7 to call for a statewide ban on the practice.

Computational Forensics

Forensics Model Grid

Not unlike the technology used for Google Street View, rasterphotogrammetry reconstructs spatial relationships from basic ground-level photographs of an environment or event. Specialized self-calibrating and panoramic equipment merges the technologies of lasers and cameras, automatically generating 3D models. The digital model geometry is determined by compiled coordinates, collected through polyline tracing and point clouds of repeated objects over several photographs, and the model’s surface is textured with photograph imagery.

The full model maintains accurate measurements of the original environment and allows unlimited re-measuring, particularly useful in crime scene investigation. This reconstruction nearly eliminates the need for exhaustive data collection from disparate sources, including records, reports, and witness testimonies. Forensic models have proved instrumental in court cases that involve highly detailed or physically deconstructed scenes, or in cases that have resurfaced with new questions or unanticipated possibilities. (Images: DeltaSphere)

Bil In Report

Situ Studio’s report instrumental in reopening investigation into death of demonstrator during April 2009 West Bank protest:

View B’Tselem’s Press Release
View Situ Studio’s Report

This report was created by Situ Studio for Goldsmith’s College London’s Forensic Architecture Project and the human rights organization B’Tselem.

Project Team: Situ Studio with Therese Diede & Shiouwen Hong

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