The Bosnia Network Newsletter,

Fall 1995 / Winter 1996


A Global Network for Rebuilding
A Message from the Founder
An Interview with Clark Nelson of SPOT Image
A Note from Old Friends
UMass-Amherst Charette "Arms" Sarajevo with Roses
LSU Students Plan Sarajevo Orphanage
A Business Conference on Bosnia
Many Thanks to These Corporate Sponsors

A Global Network for Rebuilding

The "global network" is a place where distributive computing and distributive education combine to provide local students with the chance to learn on an international level, to interact with peers and professors from other schools, other disciplines, other cultures, to share ideas on topics of common interest, on shared projects. It is the future.

Pioneered by Dr. David Johnson (UT-Knoxville) and associates, the "global university" concept is a product of the Internet Age, made feasible by the proliferation of high-speed communications nodes connecting universities. It would have been impracticable before the all-reaching Internet made it possible, and economical, for student designers virtually anywhere in the world to merge their complementary talents on behalf of a common goal.

The Bosnia Network welcomes that future, because this new capacity to transmit large quantities of digitized information enables us to enlist the aid of many participants in the simultaneous production of various overlay map layers necessary for guiding reconstruction planning and design.

With the availability of fast, inexpensive binary data transmission, students from member universities working in parallel can readily combine their information and continually update their perspective on work in progress as it evolves. As well, data submissions from extraneous sources (such as government agencies or corporate GIS software vendors) can be efficiently introduced into the Network. And most importantly, potential end-users in faraway lands like Bosnia have the ability to contribute site data on an as-needed basis and inspect Network product during the various stages of its production cycle.

There are no doubt many scholastic disciplines through which the "global university" paradigm can be applied, but the data base building requisite in land planning studies makes it especially appropriate for our purposes. And much of the groundwork has already been prepared to put the Global Network for Rebuilding theory into action.

The Bosnia Network has volunteer affiliates at a score of landscape architecture and architecture schools throughout the Eastern U.S. and Canada. We have gained the active support of the Bosnian Embassy; the U.S. State Department; leading G.I.S. software producer ESRI, Inc.; noted digital map maker LandInfo, Inc.; foremost satellite imagery experts S.P.O.T.; various relief agencies active in Bosnia; municipal, military and religious authorities in Sarajevo; and Bosnian design students and professionals both here and abroad. We have constructed a simple, cost-effective high speed communications scheme through which to connect remote participants by modem, enabling students and faculty to share data as they prepare reconstruction plans for Bosnia.

While the combination of distributive education with distributive computing that characterizes the Global Network for Rebuilding concept represents a bold and distinctive departure from the past, also unique is the value added both to contributors and recipients of our work, since student participants learn to input and interpret the high-tech G.I.S. mapping data that will help provide Bosnian planners the information they need to restore economic productivity to a shattered land.

A Message from the Founder

The Global Network for Rebuilding extends its thanks and congratulations to all parties responsible for the peace accord recently signed in Dayton. We hope that the agreement reached by former combatants signals their renewed commitment to a peaceful and productive future for their children and repudiation of the relentless destruction and brutality characterized by that most atrocious of non sequiturs: "ethnic cleansing."

While we regret that the new borders legitimize gains won by aggression, that the resultant entities will be largely segregated, and that outside force will be required to help guarantee implementation, a peace agreed to by all sides offers the only hope for a new beginning. Peace opens the door for the many organizations waiting to assist in Bosnia's reconstruction; and only in a revitalized and prosperous Bosnia will reconciliation have a chance to take hold.

Rarely has a nation as powerful as ours sent troops to a foreign shore to make peace rather than war. Regardless the result, history will judge us by our humanity; and the example of our commitment to peace will strengthen our position among the good people of the world.

Jay Craig

An Interview with Clark Nelson


BN: How is SPOT's satellite imagery used in urban design?

NELSON: It's a unique view of the world, a very accessible source of information. If you are looking at an urban area in Bosnia or another location anywhere in the world, you can call us up and get a very detailed, up-to-date view of that location. It's also useful for regional planning...satellite imagery gives you a very synoptic, comprehensive ecological view of a city along with the surrounding areas interacting with it. Images from a satellite platform five hundred miles in space can often give you more accurate, current information than what you could get from the ground or an airplane. With the software packages for GIS available today, digital satellite mapping gives you a very accessible, functional source of information.

BN: How does SPOT fit into urban and regional planning and GIS?

NELSON: In the GIS environment there is a lot of digital data available--demographic data, census data, land use databases--all of which is important to GIS applications, but satellite imagery is often an underlying reference layer for all this. Those databases are pretty abstract, in a put one up on a screen and what you have is an abstract representation of reality. You put a satellite image up there, either by itself or behind other data, and you're going to have a true representation of what's on the ground, and it's going to help you interpret your other data. It's going to put it in context visually, as well as informationwise, it's going to show you where that other data is out of date...Satellite imagery, surprisingly enough, is probably the most accurate database you're going to get.

The very simplest form of satellite imagery is as a visual its most complex form, you can go into satellite imagery and extract land use information and create databases, you can extract elevations and get three-dimensional views--but that's really the "image processing" part of it. So it's more than a single data layer, it's a much more pregnant, comprehensive data source.

In Bosnia, one of its main uses will be to give you an up-to-date view of the infrastructure, cities, that you can compare with archived historical data very quickly to show where change has occurred, to see where roads exist, where they need to be developed during the rebuilding.

BN: What do you want student participants in the Global Network for Rebuilding to know about SPOT?

NELSON: Not so much about SPOT as about the family of technology, geo-technology that SPOT is a part of...I'm talking about GIS, desktop mapping, the Internet, the transmission of information data around the world...These are very powerful tools for dealing with information, the most valuable commodity today.

BN: Why did you offer to help the Global Network for Rebuilding?

NELSON: I think the Global Network for Rebuilding is a wonderful means through which to take advantage of the technologies available students experience working with technology not in an abstract way but in a real way. It's a wonderful effort for Bosnia. Plus, in all honesty, we're a commercial entity; it will help us promote and develop our technology.

BN: What benefits will SPOT Image provide for the Global Network for Rebuilding?

NELSON: We will provide satellite images for the areas we have been talking about, to use as a backdrop for your other GIS applications. Also, to help you interpret all the other data, the other maps you've gathered. Hopefully, to allow you to realize the real benefits of satellite imagery.

BN: What do you think of the Bosnia Network concept overall?

NELSON: Great concept. Helps draw people together, supporting this effort. Brings it out of the hands of big government, to the extent possible, down to the human level. We here in the US are bombarded with news of Bosnia, but it's really quite foreign to us, it doesn't really touch our lives directly. This is a way for us to contribute directly to the recovery process...And because of the damage to traditional communications infrastructure, Bosnia's reliance on high-tech alternatives might well cause her to leap-frog other developing nations in the utilization of things like GIS and the Internet.

A Note from Old Friends

We would like to send our greetings to our friends Nedim Spahic and Jay Craig in Birmingham. We are students of architecture from Sarajevo currently in Paris, France.

We have made an exhibition at the University Paris Nanterre about the architecture of Sarajevo. It is called "Start for Action," and it is a part of the Sarajevo Reconstruction Workshop. For the moment we don't have an E-Mail address, but you can contact us by telephone at (1)42654127.

Our address is 22 rue de la Boetie, Paris 75008. We are hoping to have a Web page soon with further information about the exhibition. Hoping to hear from you. You can fax us at Paris (1)42820264.

Boris Cindric, Nehad Basic

UMass-Amherst Charette "Arms" Sarajevo with Roses"

Professor Annaliese Bischoff hosted a charette at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in September focusing on difficult urban design problems represented in Bosnia. Student groups explored design solutions for Sniper Alley and the Riverfront.

Student Alit Balk designed a compelling environmental sculpture titled "Armed with Roses." Student Rana Al-Jammal proposed construction of a pedestrian bridge across the Miljacka River originating at a university center along Sniper Alley. The bridge would be decorated with ornamental ironwork reflecting the city's history.

Al-Jammal also suggested planting evergreen trees along both sides of Sniper Alley that will emphasize the boulevard's linearity and "resemble the wall that once stood in the face of the snipers' bullets."

See more of the students' work in Portfolio Three of our new Studio section.

LSU Students Plan Sarajevo Orphanage

In October, Louisiana State University hosted a studio workshop devoted to site planning for an orphanage in Sarajevo. Dr. Reich did a wonderful job of motivating this group of 5th-year students of his special studio.

Though the subject matter was serious, it was a fun class. Dr. Reich was most effective in imparting his understanding of the design needs of child habitat and the more specific requirements of orphans who have lived through tragedy such as that in Bosnia.

To broaden their understanding, the class visited a local kindergarten school and interviewed a social worker experienced in dealing with children who have suffered trauma. Many innovative site design ideas resulted from the workshop, whose goals were (1) to make the orphanage grounds less bleak, (2) increase vegetation, (3) minimize the conflicting architectural character of the two main buildings, (4) provide better recreation areas, and (5) link the site with areas immediately surrounding it. Innovative designs included a vegetable garden, plants that attract butterflies, a fruit orchard, and manmade tunnels and caves.

We look forward to the continued involvement of Dr. Reich and his students in Network projects. See more of their work in Portfolio Two of our Studio area.

A Business Conference on Bosnia

On January 23, engineers and suppliers met with government and NGO officials in Washington, D.C. to discuss business opportunities in Bosnia's rebuilding.

The program included a military update by DOD and a political update by the State Department, as well as an overview of reconstruction opportunities from a panel including representatives from East European Affairs, USAID and Bosnian Affairs. Keynote speaker was Bosnia's Ambassador, Aliki Sven.

Many Thanks to These Corporate Sponsors

SPOT Image, Inc.

SPOT Image, headquartered in Reston, Virginia, markets data from Satellite Pour l'Observation de la Terra (SPOT), the European earth observing satellite system. Its data is obtained from High Resolution Visible (HRV) sensors carried on the SPOT-1 and SPOT-2 satellites operating from a sun-synchronous, near polar orbit 517 miles above the earth.

Some current uses of SPOT data include: preparing basemaps for environmental impact studies; merging SPOT data with elevation information to produce a perspective view used in geologic exploration; assessing natural disaster damage; and preparing thematic maps for cartographic, urban and regional planning or transportation needs. Over one gigabyte of sample data is available from SPOT via an anonymous FTP account at the EROS Data Center.

SPOT Imagery is donating satellite images of Sarajevo, Mostar, Banja Luka and Tuzla to the Bosnia Network data base.

Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc.

ESRI, of Redlands, California, is a worldwide leader in providing geographic information system (GIS) technology and services for public, private, and educational organizations, enabling clients to create, access, and manage geographically referenced information.

ESRI dedicates significant resources to supporting and assisting its users in implementing GIS technology, employing more than 800 people in the United States and 400 internationally to serve their users. ESRI leads the worldwide GIS software market and was the only GIS company rated by Information Week magazine as one of the top 50 software vendors in the world.

ESRI has provided the Bosnia Network software and technical support, through its Washington, DC office and Birmingham product rep Geographical Information Services.

The Land Information Technology Company

Land Info of Aurora, Colorado has built a comprehensive worldwide digital map library, earning universal recognition for its "off the shelf" approach to providing a wide range of mapping products compatible with widely used GIS and CAD programs. The Land Info database includes color raster map images, geo-referenced and seamless tiles of color raster images, 3D vector contours and digital elevation maps. It focuses on 1:50,000, 1:100,000 and 1:250,000 scales, nationally and internationally. Data is offered in a variety of media.

Land Info has scanned and geodigitized maps for the Bosnia Network database.

Return to The Bosnia Network Home Page

Or See:

A Prayer for the Balkans
The Newsletter, Winter 1995
The Newsletter, Spring 1995
The Newsletter, Fall 1996
The Studio
A Note from Sarajevo
Classes and Workshops
A Letter from the Founder
A Peaceful Mobilization
An Endorsement from the ASLA President
Sarajevo Survival Guide
Additional Resources
To Contact Us