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The GLOBAL CHANGE exhibition
and developments to be seen as prerequisites and points on the way towards the design of the Cognitive Panorama. [check]

Earth Survey and Spacial Information System  (GIS)

This is text taken from a flyer brochure which I desigend and help produce in 1988. Little needs to be changed or added. Important is for the auther beside the spacial embodied approach to issues and objects, the pilot project to integrate analog and dgital data along and across scales, subjects, issues, and terminologies.

The TOPOGRAMM system monitors changing situations in great detail and maps them with precise allocation. This is achieved through repeatable measurements and identification. Variability and context in nature are assessed and expounded.
A common space/time framework bridges subjects and scales. It permits the penetration of professional and spatial perspectives for insights and further query.
For immediate practical use generally accepted conventional procedures and work-flows are given preference.

The Approach
TOPOGRAMM includes among others in its chain of methods an innovative close-range sensing and spatial information system. An open system-architecture allows the processing of information from other sources and creates a common definition system independent of different scales. This system is adjustable to specific tasks.
A major target is the acquisition of reliable and repeatable information with high definable resolution of space, time, and area of interest. This is of extreme importance for planning and execution, administration and research.
A flying sensor platform provides informations from different bands of the spectrum which can be assigned via real-world coordinates to spheres and topics. Data from field surveys and remote sensing can be integrated into one common definition system and format. The emphasis is on interdisciplinary surveys and documentation.
TOPOGRAMM includes spatial oriented picture sequences with selectable resolution. Objects are approached from different viewpoints allowing fast and easy identification. Professionals of different disciplines co-operate using conventional means like visual inspection and measurements. Use of data-processing is restricted to analysis, modelling, administration, and documentation of results later on.
Ergonomic workflow and human imagination are supported by specific user interfaces, presentation tools, and (geo-) statistics. The highlight of the system is data-reduction by restriction to observed and obvious, but not by interpreted facts. Results can be checked immediately, statistically processed, merged or overlayed with e.g. surface information.
The wheather-independent survey guarantees up-to-date, accurate, and economically feasible results at any time desired. Repeated surveys and the attribution of existing data as well as the concurrent information along and across ecological scales plot change and structure. In this way new perspectives and insights are created.

The Objectives

Analogic Representation and Conventional Procedure
A single view of nature permits only an incomplete reconstruction. The synopsis of different view-points, the periphery of the object in question, and further intelligence allows a professional quest for solutions.

Nature Projections

Trees: Front view
Trees:  top-view  / Birds Eye

The top-view (super-vision) provides sometimes results hardly distinguish. They are governed by the usually large distance and changing atmospheric conditions.
The combination with a front view secures already a better identification. Common procedures do not allow the attribution of spatial aspects. Therefore, geo-objects and species should be addressed additionally by "walking around" (e.g. sight oblique images and other sensors. Stereo-interpretation and a task-specific approach with an individually defined range of resolution provide demanded, qualified, and verificable results. Of equal importance is the use of established procedures and work-flows A the possibility to handle only selected data. Visualizing spacial variability allows the definition-of new sections.
sual perspectives ease reconnaissance and measurements ; part of the analysis, but only the succeeding synthesis creates recognition and understanding.

Erprobung von Fernerkundungs-Methoden für die Dauerbeobachtung der Vegetation im Wurzacher Ried

I have later used some of the TOPOGRAMM project results to document the challenges ahead in the GEO_ECO_DYNAMICS Magazin  ******* (LINK)
and for posters for the UNEP Harmonization center in Munich. (HEMIS design):
for more see and article form 1996 on "THE PHILOSOPHY OF WHOLENESS"
and this poster which was presented first at the LOCAL AND GLOBAL CHANGE exhibition and during the ISY International Space Year:

as you can see the scale platforms are just one dimension when you want to see issues in a conceptual superstructure like the Blackbox "Nature" - Rubics Cube of Ecology" in the GLOBAL CHANGE exhibition from 1990 and where the levels or paltforms can be connected with the outside "world" of different representations. Towards a mapping of concepts and contexts.  which opens up to new ways of asking questions (see COUNCIL OF EUROPE exercise on "new ideas and new spaces", and ends up with a "Cognitive Panorama" or conceptaul superstructure, a 3 Space/Time ordering schema or spaces composition.

Why take the trouble? Maybe in my Comment "Show or Schau?" you can find the answer, but it you can't wait, just see how children reacted to my invitation to go jointly in conceptual and real worlds at the same time, and share our experience along and across scales in a "HOUSE OF EYES" - or how we can come to "culture navigation" a way to bridge multi-media multi-lingaul repositories in order to find what is needed wether it is stored in books, libraries, exhibitions, museus, or somewhere on the web.
Why the trouble? as we do not need to know all this and we are flooded with information anyway?
The challenges is to have overview and orientation, knowing where we are and going and waht we are talking about. We do some exercises called OPEN - FORUM ( to bring different people assumptions, positions and perspectives onto ONE ROUND TABLE. If this "TABLE" is real, conceptual, virtual, or ideal does not matter, imortant is to be able to see with other people eyes and be discuss where their stand, what they ahve seen, which situations they refer to and which categories they use for what! in order to cope with the challenges of a "broader" world.

I was working as a consultant with the developer of the TOPOGRAMM method Dr. Heiko von Braun from 1987-1990. I moved on to UNEP's Harmonization Projekt and the GLOBAL CHANGE exhibition and lost contact to this very important but also very expensive pilot project. To my knowledge the costs ivolving airplanes, cameras, sensors, and so on where to high to be covered by a privarte comapny and to may deep sorry were not taken on by international research funding agencies.
In my view analog and digital data are needed and "hybrid" systems will have a broad future, as we need visible and invisible data humans can perceive and verify.

Heiner Benking