ICC Programming

Immersive realities

3611.1 - Immersive Tangible Modelling with Geospatial data

Monday, July 3
2:50 PM - 3:10 PM
Location: Hoover

Recently, the importance of integrating human perceptions and preferences in geospatial modeling has been broadly acknowledged. Therefore, a new type of interfaces is needed to enable experts and non-experts to collaboratively model landscapes and explore the impacts of “what if” scenarios on both environmental and experiential dimensions. Separate modes of representation, however, are needed for more effective communication of these two dimensions. While perceptions of landscapes are best represented through photorealistic renderings viewed at human-scale perspectives, geospatial simulations are best represented more abstractly to enhance readability.

We propose a framework, Immersive Tangible Geospatial Modelling, to couple tangible interaction and simultaneous representation of realistic perspectives and 3D augmented geospatial analytics. It leverages natural interaction of Tangible User Interfaces (TUI) and realistic representation offered by Immersive Virtual Environments (IVE). The framework is implemented using Tangible Landscape, a collaborative tangible user interface for GIS that allows multiple users to reshape a tangible model of the landscape by hand and receive real-time, projection augmented feedback of geospatial simulation. We paired Tangible landscape with state-of-the-art 3D modeling and rendering software to allow real-time high-definition rendering at the viewport which can be projected as stereoscopic images into head-mounted displays. We programmed the 3D content of the virtual landscape to become adaptive in a way that each element of the 3D world has specific agency and behavior which is linked to that of the corresponding tangible object. Now, instead of typical cartographic elements and symbols, users interact with tangible objects and - in near real-time- perceive 3D augmented geospatial simulation on the tangible model, and realistic renderings of human-scale views rendered on a computer display, and head-mounted displays.

In the first layer of framework’s architecture, different modes of interaction (e.g, sculpting the terrain with hand, adding felt pieces, adding and replacing symbolic trees, tracing large vegetated surfaces patches or water bodies with laser pointer) with tangible objects (e.g, Kinetic sand, wooden place-markers, symbolic foam trees, felt pieces) are translated into basic geospatial features (points, patches, continuous surfaces). Using GRASS GIS, an open source GIS platform, these data are used to parametrize geospatial simulations (e.g. water flow, sedimentation, erosion, least-cost-path) which are then projected back on the tangible model. An open source 3D modeling and rendering pipeline (i.e. Blender) is loosely coupled with GRASS GIS to update composition (location, size, pattern, texture) and vision (camera position, viewing direction) parameters of a geo-referenced 3D semiotic model, based on corresponding tangible objects. In Blender, the shading parameters such as ambient occlusion, ambient lighting, anti-aliasing and raytrace shadows are set-up (OpenGL shading) to support real-time viewport rendering. Using an open-source API for immersive technology (i.e., OpenHMD), the viewport is projected in a head-mounted display with built-in head tracking (Oculus Rift DK2 or CV1).

In this paper, we will first provide an overview of the TUIs, IVEs and adaptive 3D modeling and the rationale behind our proposed framework. Then, we will describe the framework’s architecture and the workflow for transforming the interaction with tangible objects to realistic representation of landscape features. We demonstrate the framework’s implementation with a collaborative landscape design case study in which users explore optimal solutions between aesthetic (e.g., viewsheds and vantage points) and ecological dimensions (e.g., waterflow).

Payam Tabrizian

PhD student
North Carolina State University

Payam Tabrizian is a student of Ph.D. in Design program at College of Design in North Carolina State University. He is also a research assistant at Center for Geospatial Analytics in the College of Natural Resources. He holds an advanced Masters Degree in Urbanism and strategic planning and a Bachelor of Architecture. His research explores the relationships between ecological performance and human’s cognitive and affective experience of urban landscapes. He employs Immersive Virtual Environments, Tangible user interfaces, and Geospatial analytics to bridge the research and practice gaps between macroscale ecological functioning and human scale perceptions.

Presentation(s):

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Brendan Harmon

PhD student
North Carolina State university

Brendan's research explores the role of creativity in traditional and digital design processes for landscape architects.Brendan is exploring whether advances in digital design, tangible user interfaces, and computeraided manufacturing can enable a more intuitive design process that tightly couples creativity and rigorous analysis. Brendan is a member of the NCSU Open Source Geospatial Research and Education Lab in the Center for Geospatial Analytics where he is part of a team developing Tangible Landscape, a system that couples a physical landscape model with a digital model through a realtime cycle of 3d scanning, geospatial analytics, and projection.

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Anna Petrasova

PhD student
North Carolina State University

Anna is a PhD student at the Center for Geospatial Analytics at NCSU. Her research interests lie in interactive visualizations of multi-dimensional geospatial data using open source technologies. She also integrates dynamic geospatial modeling with tangible user interfaces and is a lead developer of Tangible Landscape project, a tangible user interface for GIS. Anna is an active member of the international community of scientists developing open source GRASS GIS. Her peer-reviewed contributions, including tools for dynamic spatio-temporal data visualization, facilitate teaching and research throughout geospatial disciplines.

Presentation(s):

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Vaclav Petras

PhD student
North Carolina State university

Vaclav is a PhD student in the Department of Marine Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (MEAS) at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and a member of the NCSU GeoForAll Lab and the Center for Geospatial Analytics (CGA). He is also a member of the GRASS GIS development. His research includes point cloud data analysis, landscape evolution analysis in coastal areas based on spacetime cube concept, GISbased environmental modeling of natural phenomena, webbased spatiotemporal visualizations for communicating research, and finally geospatial software quality assessment, which allows he and other scientists to test the proper functionality of various geospatial algorithms.

Presentation(s):

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Helena Mitasova

Professor
North Carolina State University

Dr. Mitasova is a Professor in the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Associate Director of Geovisualization at the Center for Geospatial Analytics at the North Carolina State University (NCSU), Raleigh, NC, USA. Her expertise is in spatial interpolation and topographic analysis, lidar and UAV data applications, hydrologic and erosion modeling. She is also interested in geovisualization and tangible interfaces. Dr. Mitasova is active in the open source geospatial community as a vice-president and member of the OSGeo Foundation Board of Directors and the Open Source GRASS GIS Project Steering Committee. Her NCSU GeoForAll Laboratory is a core laboratory at the Center for Geospatial Analytics. She teaches a graduate course focused on Geospatial Modeling and Analysis and advanced special topics courses including UAV/LIDAR Data Analytics and Multidimensional Geospatial Modeling. Her Dipl. Ing and PhD degrees in Geodesy and Cartography are from Slovak Technical University, Bratislava, Slovakia

Presentation(s):

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Ross Meentemeyer

Director
Center for Geospatial analytics, North Carolina state University

Ross Meentemeyer is Professor of Geospatial Analytics in the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program and faculty member in the College of Natural Resources. Prior to joining NC State, Ross was Professor of Geography and Executive Director of the Center for Applied GIScience at UNC Charlotte. He has been principal investigator of numerous research grants from the National Science Foundation, USDA, RENCI, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, among others, which have produced innovative decision-making tools ranging from spatial-temporal simulations used to detect the spread of infectious forest diseases to forecasts of alternative futures of urban sustainability over large megaregions.

Presentation(s):

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Alexander Savelyev

Assistant Professor
Texas State University

Alexander (Sasha) Savelyev is a cartography and geovisualization scholar who focuses on issues of text (geo)visualization, Big Data visualization, user study design and human cognition in visual environments.

Presentation(s):

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