Timm Dapper came to the Media Center as one of the two entrepreneurs that were selected to complete the Berlin Media Residency Program Berlin Capital Region NYC. He is the Co-founder of Laubwerk, a Berlin-based company that specializes in software tools for creating digital vegetation for virtual worlds. Laubwerk’s current customers range from landscape architects to visual effects companies.
His project, Central Park VR, aims to gather a lot of data about Central Park (elevation, land-cover, vegetation types and distribution) and building software tools which will, eventually, turn this data into a a virtual reality version of the real park. This data is available from open sources, such as the United States Geological Services, the United States Department of Agriculture, the New York City OpenData initiative, and many more.
Timm completed his three month residency in July and is now back in Berlin. Before he left, we sat down to talk about his experience at the Media Center.
What were your initial expectations working at The Made in NY Media Center by IFP?
Since I’m not from around the area, all expectations were based on the website and the photos. I also hoped to get some help with quickly connecting with relevant people and of course I was hoping to be able to find infrastructure that allows me to basically just walk in and get started.
What were your business objectives during your time in New York?
I’m co-founder of a company concentration on tools for 3D visualization of vegetation for architecture, visual effects, mapping, games and many more applications. We are working on extending our tools to use survey data to automatically create visualizations of large landscapes with minimal manual work. Central Park was picked as a good showcase project for that, so my main objective was getting all the survey data we need to use for a great demo.
Which resource has been the most helpful?
I think there was lots of help, but it is hard to say which one was standing out the most. If I had to make a pick, it was probably my contact with Eric Sanderson of the Wildlife Conservation Society (and author of the book Mannahatta). He is helping us with data and his endorsement also opened many doors.
What were some of the challenges you had to overcome working in New York?
A big part of my work was getting people to help me with information or data. Figuring out who to talk to and get them to trust me is not trivial in an environment in which I initially had almost no contacts on my own.
What has been your greatest accomplishment working at The Made in NY Media Center by IFP?
There was one particular piece of survey-data that many people pointed me to but at the same time said that the owners are very protective of. We eventually got that data at literally the last day before my flight out.
Were your initial expectations met?
My initial expectation were very fuzzy to say the least, since it was my first time in NYC. However, the space has been great, infrastructure was almost flawless, the location in Dumbo was inspiring and the people (both the staff and other members) were awesome.
We hope that Timm will implement what he learned at the Media Center and the connections he made during his time in NYC to make his business a success! For more information, check out Laubwerk.