2014-06-17

Co.Exist

Simulating The Damage If The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man Actually Ravaged Midtown

Don't worry, it's just a drill. But mapping the Ghostbusters monster's collateral damage could actually help first responders figure out how disasters (and ectoplasm) impact cities.

The last time Mr. Stay Puft went on a good ol’ New York City rampage, it was 1984 and ghosts were on the loose. He’s made a comeback in 2014, as part of 3-D modeling company Cube Cities’ visualization of how much damage he’d be able to incur in Midtown.

Cube Cities CEO Greg Angevine explains that he doesn't actually expect a Mr. Stay Puft in New York City any time soon. The point of the exercise was to show how this kind of 3-D mapping, built on a Google Earth platform and detailing damage down to the individual floors of a building, would work in any disaster scenario. Imagine a gas main breaks in the street, or an 18-wheeler goes careening into a glass lobby. Angevine says that Cube Cities builds these kinds of maps so they can partner with municipal fire or police departments, which then can use them to communicate damage to the press or other response teams.

As for Stay Puft: “It’s iconic New York imagery,” Angevine says. “You really can’t put the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Miami and have any context.”

Disaster mapping has made major strides in recent years, incorporating satellite data and drone imagery to get information to emergency teams quickly. We’ve seen these everywhere from the Philippines to post-quake Fukushima. But particularly dense, vertically stretched cities pose unique challenges. The next time a Mr. Stay Puft decides to visit, we’ll be ready.

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