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Video: Ed Triplett on Unreal Spaces and Real Places

October 12, 2018

From Ed Triplett’s presentation at the October 12, 2018, Visualization Friday Forum:

Unreal Spaces and Real Places: Visualizing the Virtual World of the Book of Fortresses



This lecture will trace the progress of a virtual reconstruction project that has wrestled with a spatially complex primary source. The Livro das Fortalezas, or Book of Fortresses contains 120 perspective drawings and 57 plans of castles and fortified towns on the border between Portugal and Spain in 1509-1510. The book’s creator, a Portuguese squire named Duarte de Armas, was a surveyor and military architect whose methods for visualizing the castles involved an inconsistent combination of precision and cartographic license. His tendency to measure walls precisely, yet improvise the scale, shape and position of towers, hills, rivers and other landscape features, makes the “world” of his book particularly difficult to recreate. Nonetheless, these challenges make it possible to move past hypothetical reconstructions of the fortresses in favor of an analysis of Duarte de Armas’ license to represent what he saw. This lecture will outline a variety of spatial approaches to the problem that have been attempted over the past year, including the use of 3D GIS and landscape-scale “world building” software.