Calibrate is an apparatus for registering and perceiving multiple timescales of accumulated environment data gathered from across Columbus and the Ohio River watershed, from geologic time to real-time sensing data. Columbus straddles the edge of the Wisconsin Glacial Limit. Thousands of years of glacial motion altered the landscape, carving the meanders of the Ohio River watershed, producing major aquifers for groundwater, building agricultural land with rich soils, and depositing foundational sediments.

The robotic drawing machine uses data sensing to draw layers that reveal rhythms in the environment, climate, current of the river, and how we move through space. These traces are unveiled through new technologies and provide new information about this familiar place.

Click here for more information on Calibrate’s data.


Natalie Yates
Celeste Drake
Amelia Zaharako
Nathan Horlander
Daniel Eisinger
Janice Shimizu

Fabrication Supporters

Ball State University College of Architecture & Planning
BSU Maker Hub at MadJax
Ball State University Department of Landscape Architecture
FarmBot Inc.

Franklin Square

A residential block since 1870, the buildings and courtyard now known as Franklin Square were purchased and renovated by Xenia S. Miller in 1964 and later donated to the Heritage Fund, The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, which seeks to foster philanthropy and community leadership in all its forms.

Natalie Yates is an Assistant Professor of landscape architecture at Ball State University, and her scholarly work is situated at the intersection of representation and analysis of landscape systems. Her research focuses on dynamic landscape illustration and simulation, using sensing methods in the design process, including Geographic Information Systems, and UAVs (drones) in responsive design, and post-industrial urban landscapes. Yates teaches design studios, design communication, dynamic illustration and simulation, and UAS Technologies. Yates has published research at the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture national conference, and co-authored the book Modeling the Environment: Techniques and Tools for the 3D Illustration of Dynamic Landscapes (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012).

"My research is on representation and analysis of landscape systems with a focus on dynamic landscape illustration and simulation, such as sensing methods in design process, UAVs in responsive design, post-industrial urban landscapes, and urban food systems."

— Natalie Yates

Watch this ten-minute video by Natalie Yates, who presents and describes the design concept for her installation, Calibrate. Yates is a University Design Research Fellow, a participant in the 2021 Exhibit Columbus Exhibition New Middles. This is a previously recorded and archived event, view more on our YouTube channel.

"The concept behind the proposal emerged out of my research interest in sensing methods for revealing and visualizing of landscape systems, coupled with contemplation on the interconnectedness of often hidden networks that shift our territories and our middles.

— Natalie Yates
2021 Design Presentations