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Google on board for another Town of Tomorrow competition

Town of Tomorrow set to ‘go global’

Google commit to 2012 involvement with innovative competition

Michael Duffy

THE Town of Tomorrow competition, piloted by Westport Town Council in 2008 in conjunction with local 3D software specialist Brendan Hafferty, will ‘go global’ in 2012, when second level students from all over the world will have the opportunity to futuristically redesign Westport town via a newly-formed website.
Westport was the first town in Ireland to have been modelled in 3D and hosted on Google Earth and this will be the fifth year that students can come up with new designs in the Town of Tomorrow Urban Design Competition 2012.
Since the competition’s inception in 2008, hundreds of students have taken part in this innovative competition sponsored by Westport Town Council, The Mayo News and actively supported by one of the world’s biggest companies, Google.
Mr Hafferty, the competition’s main organiser and a 3D specialist, is delighted to be able broaden the wings of the competition to innovative students outside of Mayo.
“Of course, our main focus will be on the students from Westport and the rest of Co Mayo but through the internet, we can reach so many other students.
“The competition, which will once again be judged by two members of the Google team from Boulder Colorado, involves the re-design of the centre of ‘virtual’ Westport using the popular architectural software Google SketchUp.”
The competition is based on the ground-breaking photo-realistic 3D computer model of Westport commissioned by the Town Council who are pioneers in the use of such 3D digital technology for both urban planning and online tourism.
Ann Moore, Westport’s Town Clerk commented, “Each student (or team) can choose a section of the town to work with. Their design brief is purposely rather loose so they can take full advantage of the Google software, whilst enabling them to make the maximum use of their imagination.
“I’m very pleased to announce that the judges for this year’s competition are both extremely well qualified Google executives. Once again we are honoured to have the services of Ms Nicole Drobeck and her colleague Craig D’Andrea a 3D Data Specialist from Google in Colorado USA.
“Westport is extremely privileged to have secured the services of two such professionals and trust that our students will give them a hard job in picking the winners.”
Current Mayo County Council Manager Peter Hynes was one the pioneers behind the initial competition back in 2008 when he was Westport Town Manager.
He said: “It is great to have Google back on board and we were also impressed with Nicole Drobeck from Google, who visited Westport twice last year, to launch the competition and also judge it.
“It is something special to have a company the size of Google involved in a competition that ultimately can put Westport in the spotlight on a world stage.
“I have seen many of the entries over the last past few years and if those entries are anything to go by we are expecting some fabulous new ideas on how Westport, as a Heritage Town, could be developed in the years to come.”
The Town of Tomorrow 2012 competition site can be accessed at https://sites.google.com/site/townoftomorrow2011/. Registration for this year’s competition can be made via the Web Site or directly with Brendan Hafferty at bphafferty@anu.ie.