You bring up some good points. I am a bit of computer geek and am
always trying out new things.
When I was making my map I actually looked for a 3 D design program
to. I have used several home design programs before and designed a few
landscapes and home designs with them. Being able to map out in 2d
and then 3d it and virtually walk through it is real treat. The one
program I do have on my computer right now only has basic landscape
abilities that are geared more towards an ornamental 'pretty'
landscape. I spent a little time trying to find a 'freeware' design
program that might work, but I didn't get very far. There are
numerous programs out there but they cost money of course. Many of
them do have demos and I actually jotted one my 'things to do list' to
check out what's available and see if any could work in a permaculture
I have actually used "Second Life' before and there are some really
neat stuff in there already where people have modeled virtual worlds
based on eco designs. There is one called ecotopia which is a whole
island. While I do think there is possibilities there are some what I
think are big drawbacks, one is that 'second life' is tech
intensive...you have to have a really good, fast computer as well as a
speedy connection in order to access it without driving yourself
crazy. If you're on dial-up it's an absolute no go. I don't know the
situation in NZ, but here in rural areas in particular high speed
isn't available to everyone. Also the actual building in that program
isn't the easiest to learn and to model a simple plant can be quite
I do think there are possibilities in other landscape design software,
but most as I mentioned before seem to be oriented to a specific
'type' of landscaping.
I did investigate briefly using a cad type program, like sketch up but
as you pointed out organic shapes are more difficult to
portray...though not impossible and programs like this do take a bit
of time to learn how to use and may not be everyone's cup of tea.
The best type of program in terms of ease of use would be something
like Better Homes Designer software http://www.homedesignersoftware.com/landscaping/
where you map things out in 2d, just add in the objects like plants
and when you go to a 3d view that plants and features are already
modeled. The drawback though is that you are dependent on using
whatever ever objects that already exist and I know you won't find
certain things that one would use in a permaculture landscape.
As I said I was looking for one that might work and while doing
it...saying geez I wish someone had already made oriented to
permaculture and eco design...wouldn't that be great! A program where
you can easily put in swales, map out water systems, chickens and even
things like water barrels, a zone tool...etc etc.
Now I do know that some of these programs can be quite flexible,
allowing for some creativity and give the ability to create new
objects and may be able to be adapted to a permaculture context with
some work. It would just be a matter of taking the time to check the
options out. This is something I do want to do, time allowing and
weigh the pros a cons. I almost started doing just that but I
realized that I could spend a couple of days fiddling and playing and
not get the actual map done. :)
So things brings up the whole low tech vs high tech, cost vs benefit
thing which in my mind is largely a personal decision. Each has it's
pros and cons. Pen and paper is more portable, everyone can access it
easily, it's easy and quick to learn and may be all some people need
to get the job done. High tech options are more complicated by
nature, depend on access to specific and more expensive technology and
have a steeper learning curve, at least initially, but the end result
can be quite useful. When I did my map with inkscape it did take
longer then if I had just drew it because I had to learn how to use
the program and make it do what I wanted and at times it was a little
frustrating. Though for me the end benefit was worth it. For others
it might not be worth it.
On Mar 5, 6:46 am, "Leigh Blackall" <leighblack...@gmail.com
> I'm not satisfied with the way we are doing base maps. No offense Christine,
> your's is way better than
> It was actually your reasoning for authoring digitally that got me thinking
> how ineffective and limited we possibly are by staying with the traditions
> of the plan/map metaphor.
> I have used Google's free and absolutely easy to use
>a bit. But I
> think its only available to Windows operating systems :( I'm
> not sure how good it is at organic shapes, but its ability to spin and turn
> into perspective drawings could be very useful for visualising our 'maps'. I
> have seen people start with a photo and then trace the perspective...
> I also wonder if GoogleEarth
>would be useful too.
> Similar to Sketchup, it has that 3D perspective with
> added features such as ready made terrain and road features, not to mention
> the ability to share and publish what you create as a GoogleEarth file...
> The last thought on this is
>- which the more
> digitally creative among us could really loose themselves
> in... I have seen some amazing Youtube
> collaborating in SecondLife to build concepts up for potential
> or existing clients to walk in and visualise.
> All of these would be miles more effective than the birds-eye-view tradition
> we are following... but all require a little more know how.. ok, in the case
> of SecondLife, a life time of know how :) ...
> Just a thought, if I can find some more go juice, I may even give one of
> these a try myself!