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Building a Better Map
the 4-d map includes a time slider that shows day-by-day development through 2018

In recent months, the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center’s online map has transformed how New Yorkers understand the changes taking place downtown. The map features “4D” technology that provides models of what Lower Manhattan will look like in the years to come. The project was conceived after the agency found the quantity of information exceeded its original ArcGIS web map’s capabilities, and turned to its own internal 4D model.

“It was a logical step to bring the functionality of our 4D model into a more accessible environment,” said Robert Harvey, executive director of the LMCCC. “The world is used to looking at things in Google Earth. It’s much easier to understand where you are in the urban fabric.”

Early this year, the LMCCC team, headed by Andrew Chattaway of Detroit-based PMA Consultants and Tunc Gundogdu of LiRo Group, transferred their existing database—including building type, owner, developer, architect, start and end dates, and 3D building models—to Google Maps. Google Earth and the 4D time slider, which uses time stamps on SketchUp models to provide a snapshot of Lower Manhattan at any given date, were added in June.

A third phase will include street closures and real-time readings of air quality. (Currently, the map indicates major street projects in purple, along with street impacts from construction, with moderate street impacts in orange and severe impacts in red.) The database also includes a few long-stalled developments whose fate remains unknown. “The challenging part,” Harvey said, “is making sure that the data is the most current.” To that end, information from weekly meetings with stakeholders and contractors is fed directly to the map.

“We look at Lower Manhattan as one big project,” Harvey added. “This gives us an ability to look at everything in context as opposed to dealing with the abstract.”

Katherine Lindstedt