San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Wall

In 2012 Obscura Digital developed the 58’ wide Digital Arts Panorama for the new San Francisco Public Utilities Commission headquarters. This educational interactive centerpiece operated in four modes - digital signage/art gallery, media stream photostream, digital infrastructure dashboard, and interactive panoramic mural. The digital dashboard pulled data from many public and internal data sources to give a live picture of San Francisco’s public infrastructure. The panoramic mural told the story of how San Francisco gets its water and electricity and deals with its wastewater. The mural and dashboard also served as an interactive tour tool for docents welcoming visitors to the facility.

However, by 2018, the hardware infrastructure was beginning to show wear, the software running the wall had become unmaintainable, and the data feeding the dashboard had significantly changed. So in the summer of 2018 I was tasked with rebuilding the software from scratch using the original assets. I dove into the existing artwork and code, which had originally been built in ScaleForm and PHP, to rebuild the application using open web standards in a browser-based environment. I also rebuilt the CMS that managed the content and schedule of the wall. The new application provided a near exact visual match to the original and has been much more stable. The CMS is much more user-friendly and has more useful features. We were also able to reduce the number of machines running the wall from ten down to seven.

Technologies Involved: HTML, CSS, Javascript, nodejs, React, Parse Framework, Mongo, Docker, ffmpeg, Lidar-based sensing framework

Developed while employed at Obscura Digital

© Isaac Gierard 2020