30 April 2007


LandSerf is a freely available Geographical Information System (GIS) for the visualisation and analysis of surfaces developed by Dr. Jo Wood. Since its release at the giCentre, City University, LandSerf has been downloaded over 27,000 times. Potential applications include visualisation of landscapes; geomorphological analysis; gaming development; GIS file conversion; map output; archaeological mapping and analysis; surface modelling and many others. LandSerf allows for integration with Garmin GPS receivers and runs on any platform that supports the Java Runtime Environment.

Some of the most important features include the handling of multiple surface models - raster digital elevation models (DEMs), vector Triangulated Irregular Networks (TINs), contours and metric surface networks (MSNs). In addition, interactive 3D viewing and 'flythrough' of surfaces is supported on platforms that use the OpenGL API. A range of powerful and interactive visualisation techniques used in LandSerf include lighting/shade models, multiple image blending and dynamic graphical query. Other features include raster and vector transformation such as image rectification and map projection as well as multi-scale surface processing based on quadratic regression.

More information:


24 April 2007

Sun in 3D

NASA's Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) satellites have provided the first three-dimensional images of the sun. For the first time, scientists were able to see structures in the sun's atmosphere in 3D using stereoscopic glasses.

The 3D visualisation will greatly assist scientists' ability to understand solar physics and there by improve space weather forecasting. A number of 3D images, animations and video are also provided by the websites illustrated below.

More information:



21 April 2007

Pedestrian Virtual Navigation

Recently, I have performed some pilot testing regarding the VR component of the LOCUS multimodal interface. Specifically, I have experimentally tested the behaviour of the VR interface using assisted GPS and a digital compass in a residential area close to City University campus. The GPS is embedded on the mobile device (HP 6915 PDA) while the digital compass is a separate component hidden inside a blue cylinder communicating through Bluetooth technologies. An example of how a pedestrian could use the prototype system in practice is shown below.

Using the LOCUS VR application, pedestrians can navigate intuitively within the real environment using both position and orientation information on a mobile virtual environment. Additional functionality such as dynamic switching of camera viewpoint from the pedestrian view to a birds-eye view can be accessed from the menu buttons. It is worth-mentioning that the digital compass can be also used as a virtual pointer to provide useful information about the surroundings.

08 April 2007

Laval Virtual 2007 Article

In a few days (18-22 April) the latest paper I have co-authored with members of the giCentre will be presented in the 9th International Conference on Virtual Reality at Laval in France. The title of the paper is 'Automatic Modelling, Generation And Visualisation Of Realistic 3D Virtual Cities For Mobile Navigation'. The paper presents a comprehensive procedural 3D modelling solution called Virtual City Maker, which relies on scripting algorithms for automatic generation of photorealistic virtual urban content. This solution uses the combination of aerial images, terrestrial photographic input and 2D ground maps in conjunction with a user-friendly customized interface allowing for automatically and interactively generating accurate georeferenced textured 3D virtual city content from this information, specially optimized for use with mobile devices and navigation.

The paper also discusses the development and introduction of an innovative mobile virtual reality visualisation engine operating on a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), called Virtual Navigator, which supports the import of 3D visualization file formats and also includes a front-end user-centered interface for fully immersive virtual 3D navigation. Finally, experiments with the resulting models, the engine and a number of human subjects have been conducted in order to gain insight on the issues of efficient modelling for mobile navigation but also assess some of the usability issues of the interface. Ten volunteers, seven male and three female, participated in our experiments which were tested on the Dell PDA running Virtual Navigator. The results from this study showed that users found Virtual Navigator most appropriate for learning an unexplored environment and reasonably easy to use.

The original article may be accessed online from here.