According to recent news by the Times of Malta, Cloudisle – a series of baseline 3D maps of Malta that will serve as the base for research in cross-thematic fields – were recently launched by the University of Malta and the Planning Authority. The two entities have successfully brought government entities together to create integrated spatial information systems through a 2007-2014 ERDF project called SIntegraM.
The 3D map tools cover the whole of the Maltese islands and up to one nautical mile offshore. Users of the tools can fly around the data and view their zone of interest in new ways, including newly-published marine zones, such as underwater artifacts. For example, they can see sea-level rises and ancient coasts around the Maltese islands. The tools can also be used to measure and calculate heights, distances, and areas.
University rector Alfred Vella said the specialized and multi-disciplined approach used by the new tool will allow scientists and practitioners to interact and lead to knowledge-based policy making. Prof. Vella said the tool could be useful for environmental scientists, transport, NGOs, forensic experts, virtual tourism, virtual museums, civil protection preparation and post-disaster management as well as leisure and recreation, diving enthusiasts, gaming enthusiasts and other beneficiaries.
The laser data was integrated with aerial imagery to produce a realistic depiction of the Maltese islands. The results depict interactive landscapes and seascapes in realistic point-cloud 3D.
The project also resulted in some new discoveries, such as the Ghariebel doline, an offshore land feature off the northeast coast of Malta discovered by Prof. Formosa on May 1, 2014.