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Geopogo AR used to show alternative mega-hospital site

Mike Hoppe used spatial computing technology to build a mega-hospital 3D model

Windsorite Mike Hoppe works and lives in San Francisco, but he still hopes city council will reconsider plans to build a mega-hospital near County Road 42.

Hoppe, the creative director for San Francisco-based 3D architectural design company Geopogo, used his company's technology — as well as official blueprints — to build a 3D model of the future mega-hospital.

Combined with an augmented reality (AR) headset, viewers can place the model anywhere in the real world. 

Hoppe demonstrated the technology by overlaying the model on the former General Motors transmission plant on Walker Road. 

"We discovered by overlaying [the model] … that this building can fit on this site," said Hoppe. "We can place the entire hospital building right up against the train tracks and this faces Walker Road beautifully."

Hoppe added that building the mega-hospital on Walker Road could "transform the area."

"This really gives a new level of density to Windsor, and this is a prime site," he said. "This is a site that is accessible by the city, that is accessible by the county from Walker Road … this is a beautiful hospital, it's a beautiful design and it deserves to be here."

The technology used to map the mega-hospital — as well as other buildings — is called spatial computing. 

"What that means is that I can walk up to this building, I can walk inside it, I can walk around it and I can see it from different vantage points," said Hoppe. 

The designer previously used spatial mapping to demonstrate what the South Cameron woodlot could look like when it's developed. 

"This is a powerful technology that will change how we view architecture and how we can plan cities," he said. 

The technology caught the attention of Philippa von Ziegenweidt, the spokesperson for Citizens for an Accountable Mega-hospital Planning Process (CAMPP), a group that's opposed to the city's proposed County Road 42 location. 

"This is the first time that I've seen what a hospital on this particular site could look like," said von Ziegenweidt. "This site of all the potential sites has really captured the public's imagination."

Von Ziegenweidt said when she was contacted by Hoppe to view the model, she couldn't turn down the opportunity to see what a mega-hospital built on other sites could look like.

"This is something that I wish that the public could see," she said. "In fact, I'd like them to see all the different sites that were … in the selection."

Von Ziegenweidt added that she's specifically opposed to the construction of a mega-hospital in the county.

"Our issues are that it needs to be on a responsible location," she said. "We're looking at it as environmental sustainability, also something that's accessible."

As it stands, Windsor-Essex residents are waiting on a decision from the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal to determine how the mega-hospital project will move forward. 

Hoppe and von Ziegenweidt hope that AR technology will encourage younger residents to take an interest in the mega-hospital project. 

"Young people are a big part of the solution to this," said von Ziegenweidt. "Windsor is aging strongly and we need to attract and retain more young people … I think with this kind of augmented reality, it's something that … young people can identify with."

With files from Amy Dodge

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