Completed in May 2013, the Geovisualization Laboratory (Jordan Hall 5111) is the Center’s flagship, state-of-the-art research and teaching environment designed to visualize real-world geospatial data through abstracted mediums, including, including 3D imagery, collaborative touch-screen displays, immersive virtual environments, and interactive decision-making systems. This outstanding facility enables the Center and the College of Natural Resources to attract internationally acclaimed faculty, postdoctoral and visiting scholars, and talented graduate students.
The Geovisualization Laboratory houses a variety of tools and instruments dedicated to representing and interacting with geospatial data collected through projects dedicated to research, extension, and teaching. Specifically, these advanced tools and instruments include:
• An Immersive Virtual Environment includes a 360° high-resolution camera designed to collect full-motion image sequences of research settings such as natural landscapes or urban environments. The immersive virtual reality system also includes virtual simulation stations, which allow researchers to simulate external environments within the lab setting via the use of head-mounted displays synched to the previously collected image sequences.
• The Tangible Landscape allows researchers to build a physical 3D-scale model of a landscape, scan it with a laser that feeds data back to a geographic information modeling system where it can be analyzed. Subsequently, the researcher can alter the physical, scale model and rapidly reanalyze the altered landscape, thus allowing rapid development and analysis of alternative scenarios.
• An Ocular Tracking System with specialized hardware and software enables researchers to measure eye movement over digital maps and other media in order to increase the efficiency of visual communications.
• A 3D-4k Projection System provides researchers the capability of presenting data and research findings via large-screen, extremely high definition, 3D images and special 3D goggles. Potential applications include not only visualizing complex data in a large format at resolutions exceeding standard HD monitors, but also developing and sharing high-quality visualizations of research findings, such as fly-throughs of remotely sensed data, among industry and government representatives and other stakeholders.
• A SimTable Modeling Environment combines existing geospatial data with agent-based modeling and ambient computing to transform traditional sand table exercises into interactive digital maps and simulations projected onto any surface. SimTable provides a straightforward and interactive approach to displaying research results to fellow researchers, management, stakeholders, and the public alike. (Image credit: Stephen Guerin)
• Several 3D GIS Workstations allow researchers to display and navigate through complex geospatial data such as high-resolution satellite imagery and LiDAR data. These stations also have the capability of allowing researchers to manipulate these data via motion sensing devices that capture hand gestures and movements.
• An Interactive Multitouch Tabletop Display functions as a workspace where groups can collaborate on problem-solving that requires a geographic information system. The displays enable groups of researchers and collaborators to share ideas and visualize existing data in a digitally-integrated and socially-interactive setting.