A three-dimensional online model of Jersey has won a prestigious award in recognition of its use of technology.
Jersey 3D, which opened up to members of the public earlier this year, helps users to visualise how proposed developments would look. The model includes a changeable sunlight simulator to see how light and shadows are cast at any time of day, and at different times of the year.
The model was recognised at the Information Technology Association Galway (ITAG) Excellence Awards last Friday, where it won the 2019 Digital Project Award. This award celebrates successful and innovative projects that make use of digital capabilities.
Ralph Buchholz, Principal Planner, said: “As far as we’re aware, Jersey 3D is the world’s first 3D planning assessment system – it represents genuine world-class innovation that has been developed by the Government of Jersey and our digital technology partners, and I’m delighted that its contribution to the planning process has been recognised.
“Jersey 3D is a powerful tool that provides a versatile way of showcasing development in Jersey. The Planning department and the architectural industry have been using it since 2012 to help us better understand how proposals will affect major island developments, and we have now extended and developed it to a point where it is possible for the public to use it, too.
“Initially it will be an easy way for islanders to assess the visual and lighting impact of development proposals, but we’re in the process of increasing the model’s functionality to add the fourth dimension of time, so that islanders can compare developments in Jersey from 2012 onwards and see how the built environment has changed – and will change – over the years.”
Jersey 3D, which cost £50,000 to create, was generated from aerial photography and ground-level photo surveys. The model was developed by the Government of Jersey’s planning technology partners, RealSim.
RealSim CEO, Gavin Duffy, said: “We are delighted and honoured to have received this award from our peers in the IT industry. This award is recognition that the 3D planning assessment system developed for Jersey is genuinely world class. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity the Government of Jersey has given us to apply our skills and innovation to how we plan and communicate changes to the built environment. Government in any jurisdiction is generally not associated with innovation, so it is a credit to Jersey that they grasped the challenge and have delivered a solution."
Since its development, the model has been used to assess the impacts of significant proposed developments such as the future hospital and the Ann Court housing development.
The Minister for the Environment, Deputy John Young, said: "I very much hope this important innovation will help developers to better respect Jersey’s special environment in their designs, and our planning officers to better assess the impact of new developments against their immediate surroundings.
“I see it as important as part of my commitment to try to maintain the quality of Jersey’s environment, whether the urban fabric of our built up settlements, or the surrounding landscape, including the green backdrop zone intended to protect views inland from the sea. The model will particularly help to better assess the impact of development on immediate neighbours to avoid unreasonable impact on neighbouring amenities."
The model has also been shortlisted for the Excellence in Tech within Planning Award at the Royal Town Planning Institute, in recognition of the model’s contribution to Jersey’s planning process. The award winners are due to be announced in London later this month.