Landscape Visualization of the Voyages of John Smith and the Chesapeake of the Early 17th Century

Funding Agency: Chesapeake Bay Program - Gateways Network
Project Dates: Fall 2005 - 2007
Primary Researchers: Timothy Enderlein, Leah Wasser


Employing a combination of GIS and the latest photorealistic landscape visualization software, the Penn State Cooperative Extension, Geospatial Technology Program in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution and two major Chesapeake cultural institutions are developing a powerful new web-based attraction focused on the 400th anniversary of John Smith's "Voyages of Exploration" through the Chesapeake region. The project will give computer users in schools, homes, and libraries around the country--and the world--a chance to see vibrant and realistic images of the Chesapeake environment that so impressed Smith on his 1607-09 journeys and then compare them with images of the Bay environment today. This exciting interactive experience will allow visitors to track the progress of Smith's journeys, learn about the Native American inhabitants he encountered along the way and explore the dramatic changes in the Bay.


This project utilized a combination of 3d Nature's Visual Nature Studio 2.6, ArcGIS 9, Poser 6, 3d Studio Max 8, Xfrog and even Vue to create photo realistic renderings of the Chesapeake Bay during the time of John Smith's travels. A few pilot images can be seen below. Stay tuned for updated images and an online interactive website!

Pilot Images

The images below are representations of what John Smith may have seen during his voyages. Stay tuned for more refined images.

John Smith's Route Through Chesapeake Bay
Part of Smith's route around the bay.

Chesapeake Bay 2
Aerial oblique view of the bay.

Chesapeake Bay 3
Shoreline view of the bay.

June 3, 1608. A view from the Bay towards the mouth of Old Plantation Creek. Smith entered here in search of the village of Accomac. He was directed here by fisherman he encountered further south who told him their chief would answer his questions.

Calvert Cliffs
View of Calvert Cliffs.

John Smith
Rendering of potential John Smith character.

Native American

Native American Female
Test renderings of potential Native American character.