Frederick, MD (August 16, 2006) – EarthData International, Inc. (EarthData) announced its role in last week’s release of the critically-acclaimed, World Trade Center, Oliver Stone’s portrayal of five Port Authority police officers who battle the devastation of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Central to the movie are three-dimensional renderings of the collapsing towers, which Stone uses to recreate the police officers’ perspectives and help audiences comprehend the horror of being trapped in the underground inferno. The renderings were created by integrating architectural blueprints of the twin towers with aerial-based laser (lidar) terrain models and imagery acquired by EarthData in the days immediately following 9/11. The film’s studio, Paramount Pictures, also used EarthData’s three-dimensional model of Manhattan for scene planning in advance of filming and to visualize the final effects shots for the film.
Paramount Pictures’ Visual Effects Supervisor, John Scheele, was especially impressed with the realism of the various data sets. “The level of detail and completeness of the laser, image, and 3D data made it possible for us to accurately portray the scene confronting the police and rescue workers.”
EarthData CEO Bryan Logan, who led his company’s response team at Ground Zero, credits the movie’s realism with the origin of geographic data itself—aerial-based mapping designed to precisely depict geographic locations on the Earth’s surface. “Unlike most geographic data designed solely for animation and visual effect purposes, the data used in this movie was originally created for rescue and recovery operations (as well as engineering and design applications, in the case of the 3D city models), all of which required very precise and detailed information.”
Hours after the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, EarthData was tasked with gathering mapping data over Ground Zero. For the next 2 months, EarthData conducted twice daily aerial over-flights to create maps that gave detailed information to the recovery workers on the ground. The laser (lidar) profiler provided highly accurate three dimensional maps of the site and allowed measurement of the rubble and shifts in the surrounding buildings. High-resolution digital imagery and thermal data complemented the laser data and enabled rescue and recovery workers to monitor the movement and temperatures of the fires burning below the surface. Maps were produced and delivered in record time, less than 8 hours after the over-flights occurred.
EarthData’s urban 3D models have also been used in other films, including Sony Picture Imageworks’ Spider-Man and Twentieth Century Fox’s The Day After Tomorrow.
About EarthData International
EarthData is an airborne mapping and remote sensing company providing a full range of mapping and GIS services to support customers’ needs in a wide variety of natural resource management, urban planning, economic development, national defense, and engineering activities. EarthData’s Solutions Division is known as a leading provider of web-based, spatial information management (SIM) solutions. It develops highly accurate two and three-dimensional city models and is unique in its ability to link databases of information from any source (for example, real estate or insurance related) to its 2D and 3D maps. EarthData has completed ten major US cities, including New York, Chicago and Washington, DC, with other US cities in production.