A location based information visualization interface for VR

Type: 
BA/PR/DA
Persons: 
1

Description

Google earth VR impresses as a tool for the immersive exploration of urban and natural environments at any scale, no matter if taking a pedestrian’s perspective in Google Street View or if flying over the satellite image of a 3D reconstructed mountain range. Imagine the potential of depicting and interactively exploring additional information in relation to the displayed virtual scenes, such as demographic data of a city, or flight paths and schedules around the world etc.  Location based data exploration would offer an intuitive and engaging way to convey such information.

Currently developers can create such visualizations for 2D maps thanks to open APIs such as leaflet and mapbox. While Google provides lots of meta information to various points of interest as well as certain API functionalities, their VR toolbox is still closed.

WRLD (https://www.wrld3d.com) however, offers a similar user experience as Google Earth while also offering a public API that supports Unity and VR. Still, integrating additional information with the VR scene requires extensive programming experience with the WRLD API, Unity, C#, as well as VR.

The goal of this project is to create an information visualization interface to the WRLD API that is targeted towards usage in VR - and that allows users without the previously extensive coding expertise to load and display geocoded data within this environment.

 

Tasks

Your task will be the implementation of the described interface in Unity3D. This includes but is not limited to implementing support for:

  • displaying infographics “on top” of the three dimensional scene, e.g., a histogram on local information next to the corresponding building/street etc.
  • displaying information by changing the existing scene, e.g., scaling a building in size / changing its color to convey information
  • displaying information on a floating (context sensitive) overlay, i.e. a head-up display
  • interactions with the visual elements and the scene
  • import of tabular data and simple script commands for specifying data display & interaction options

These tasks can be partitioned into smaller work packages or scaled up, depending on whether the implementation is carried out within the scope of a bachelor or master thesis.

 

Requirements

  • Knowledge of English language (source code comments and final report should be in English)
  • Knowledge and interest in computer graphics (realtime rendering) and visualization
  • Basic knowledge of C# (used in Unity) and GPU programming
  • Knowledge of Unity3D is advantageous, but not required
  • Interest in and (optimally) experience with VR applications / programming
  • Experience with location based services, such as the Google Maps API, leaflet or mapbox is advantageous

Environment

This project will be realized in a collaboration between the Institute of Visual Computing &
Human-Centered Technology (formerly Institute of Computer Graphics and Algorithms) at the TU Wien and the Complexity Science Hub (CSH) Vienna.

You will be mentored during regular meetings at the CSH where a state of the art VR setup for testing the implementation is available. The duration of the implementation and writeup of the thesis depends on the prior knowledge and commitment of the student, but the estimated duration is one semester for a bachelor thesis and two semesters for a master thesis.


Please contact sorger@csh.ac.at if you are interested in joining this project.

You can find more information on the Complexity Science Hub on the official webpage:
https://www.csh.ac.at