How has a city evolved over time? In which way has the urban space changed? What kind of social networks existed then? These are the questions the virtual research environment TOPORAZ (Topographie in Raum und Zeit- interactive historical urban space) tries to answer. As an example, the topography of a quarter of historical Nuremberg is displayed at four time levels (1620, 1810, 1910 and the present). The representation consists of geo-referenced 2D maps and 3D models that serve as a structure for navigation.
TOPORAZ serves as a platform for merging extremely heterogeneous research data. The novel approach lies in the fact that the 3D objects of the interactive city model are directly linked to research literature and source material (texts, images, sound) via hotspots. The virtual research environment supports interdisciplinary research approaches and transdisciplinary networking. It also functions as an Open Access publishing platform and offers direct access to research data and results, thus supporting the concept of Open Science.