Fort Madison Project began was initiated under the PLACE program at College of Design, Iowa State University. ISU research team and the members of the Fort Madison consortium met several times to discuss the project. A presentation of what the institute could do using the CommunityVizä software was held not only to the members of the consortium but also to the public. This project involved constant communication with the Fort Madison steering committee composed of several agencies such as City of Fort Madison, Fort Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, Fort Madison Economic Development Corporation, Fort Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Riverfront Business District Committee, Daily Democrat, SMID (Self-Supporting Improvement District), Tri-State Rodeo, Lee County Economic Development Group, and Iowa State University-Lee County Extension.
The project started in summer, 2004 taking digital pictures of the downtown area. The objectives of this project are two fold: first, to visualize the downtown area in 3D and be able to make design improvements in the future, and secondly, to find alternatives for economic improvement of the city utilizing the CommunityVizä software. CommunityVizä is an innovative software suite that enables user to perform real-time decision analysis and exploration, interactive 3D visualization and navigation, and long-term policy outcome forecasting within the ArcView GIS environment.
Visualization for Fort Madison started with the construction of buildings, trees, plants, trees, and other existing features of the downtown and riverfront. Overall, 278 files (buildings, trees, plants, etc.) were created and organized to create a realistic three-dimensional model of Fort Madison’s 10 block downtown and riverfront. Many of the models (other than the buildings) are used multiple times throughout the visualization.