ICC Programming

Immersive realities

3611.3 - Geospatial augmented reality for the interactive exploitation of large-scale walkable orthoimage maps in museums

Monday, July 3
3:30 PM - 3:50 PM
Location: Hoover

In this paper we present an app framework for augmenting large-scale walkable maps and orthoimages in muse-ums or public spaces using standard smartphones and tablets. We first introduce a novel approach for using huge orthoimage mosaic floor prints covering several hundred square meters as natural Augmented Reality (AR) mark-ers. We then present a new app architecture and subsequent tests in the swissARena of the Swiss National Transport Museum in Lucerne demonstrating the capabilities of accurately tracking and augmenting different map topics, in-cluding dynamic 3d data such as live air traffic.

AR has been on the verge of becoming a major factor in a rapidly developing market for mobile communication. In marketing, AR has already become a widely used asset, for example, to enhance printed material with interac-tive features. However, extending this functionality to entire printed maps or even to large scale walkable floor prints of orthoimages or maps – without a need for prominent and often annoying artificial markers – provides some serious challenges. In our case, a 200 square meter orthoimage map of entire Switzerland in the Swiss Nation-al Transport Museum served as a test field a) for researching and developing a large-scale robust visual tracking so-lution and b) for evaluating possible map contents and representations suitable for augmentation. The goal of the project was to develop a prototype AR app for smartphones and tablets. The prototype should allow visitors of such a museum or exhibition space to explore spatio-temporal information and phenomena such as live traffic or live weather in an impressive large-scale map environment.

In order to address the large dimensions of the map surface to be augmented, an adaptive hierarchical Quadtree-based approach for generating and selecting a set of AR markers was chosen. Also memory consumption and lim-ited computational resources on user devices had to be taken into account. The resulting multi-marker needs to bal-ance accuracy and stability of the augmentation. In case of our test map, a multi-marker with a total of 51 individ-ual markers was generated, providing a sufficient density of trackable features on the aerial photo while still cover-ing the entire map surface. Subsequently, three different content modules were designed and implemented. First, re-al-time transponder data was used for a true-to-scale live animation of current air traffic above the floor map. The animation includes 3d models of the respective aircrafts together with simulated condensation trails so that visitors can explore real-time flight information and trajectories of individual aircrafts. Second, recent weather data was used to create weather status information at specific locations as well as a cloud layer simulation with particle ef-fects. The third module provides geocoding functionality, giving app users the ability of targeting and querying loca-tions on the orthoimage map. The resulting prototype was tested with everyday visitors of the museum to get feed-back on the usability of the AR app and to identify pitfalls when using AR in the context of a potentially crowded museum. The prototype is to be rolled out to the public after successful testing and optimization of the app. We were able to show that AR apps on standard smartphone devices can dramatically enhance the interactive use of large-scale maps for different purposes such as education or serious gaming in a museum context.

Robert Wüest

Research Associate & Lecturer
FHNW University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland; Institute of Geomatics Engineering

Living in the city of Basel located in northwestern Switzerland. Working full-time as a research associate and lecturer at the FHNW University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland; Insitute of Geomatics Engineering. Primary research topics are software engineering, 3d visualization, location based services and augmented reality. I'm also lecturing in computer sciences topics such as web technologies and database management systems


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Stephan Nebiker

FHNW University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland; Institut of Geomatics Engineering

Stephan Nebiker is Professor for Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Geoinformatics at the FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland. His research interests include various aspects of 3D geoinformation technologies such as 3d imaging, 3d vision mobile mapping, and geospatial augmented reality.


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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.


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3611.3 - Geospatial augmented reality for the interactive exploitation of large-scale walkable orthoimage maps in museums

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