Lake E-ffect Newsletter banner SUNY Oswego logoJuly 2011 • Vol 7 • No 4

Professor, Student Help Map Harborfest in 3D

James Early, an associate professor of computer science, and students have helped create the first all-digital, 3D map of Harborfest, one of the region's largest summer festivals.


The main goal of the mapping project is to move away from a hand-drawn map of the festival's parks, and into a digital tool for organizers to plan space assignments.

"The way they set up the festival was that a person sat down with a piece of graph paper and a pencil and they would draw stuff," said Early.

Software engineering major Michael Kaine '11, Early and at least half a dozen past students used Google SketchUp software to create the digital map.

"I've been playing with the program a lot; it's really powerful and just really cool," Kaine said.

Last year, Early used Google Earth's satellite images to pinpoint each Harborfest venue and create a blueprint for the project. Early then uploaded the satellite images in SketchUp.

Later, Early and several SUNY Oswego students used a GPS locater at each park. The team ultimately figured where vendors could efficiently connect to power and water - an important step to putting on the nearly 25-year-old festival.

"I think the fact that I'm working on something as big as Harborfest will have an impact on work I do in the future," Kaine said.  "This has huge benefits for me all around and I am pretty excited about the project."

The project helps ensure vendors won't get squeezed when things change. For example, this year Fort Ontario was not included in Harborfest plans and each of the other parks hosting activities had to be reconfigured.

"What I'd like to see, ideally, is a vendor (visiting) our Web page, and they say, 'These are the attributes we need,'" Early said. "The Web page would then run our (program), show them a picture of where it would be and ask them, 'Is this acceptable to you — yes or no?'"

J.P. Scullin, vendor and membership coordinator for Oswego Harbor Festivals believes that the biggest benefit is having a good base to go back to each year. Scullin said the 3D digital map saves everyone time, labor and resources.

"We couldn't have done this without the great assistance of Early and his students and additional faculty," Scullin said.  "We are really appreciative of his work."

This year's Harborfest runs from July 28 to 30 and once again Oswego alumni are invited to stay on campus.

Evan Schumrak '11

Professor James Early and Michael Kaine '11 developed this 3D image of Breitbeck Park as part of a project that will help organizers better place and serve vendors. 

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