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Real world–based immersive Virtual Reality for research, teaching and communication in volcanology

Abstract : Direct outcrop observation and field data collection are key techniques in research, teaching and outreach activities in volcanic areas. However, very often outcrops are of difficult or impossible access, such as in areas with active volcanoes or steep cliffs. Classical remote-sensing surveys by satellites or airplanes are expensive, rarely reach sufficient resolution to allow high-quality 3D visualisation of volcanic features and do not facilitate mapping of vertical cliffs. We describe a novel approach that uses immersive Virtual Reality (VR) based on real-world 3D Digital Outcrop Models (DOMs) from images surveyed by “unoccupied aerial system” (UAS). 3D DOMs are built up using the Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetry technique, and a VR scene is created using game engine technologies. Immersive real-time exploration of the environment is possible through a head-mounted display, e.g. Oculus Rift. Tools embedded in the VR environment allow the user to map polygons, lines and point features. Tools also allow to measure orientation, dip, inclination, azimuth, area and thickness and even take virtual photographs. Using three examples of volcanic areas with different geological features, we demonstrate the potential of our approach to allow users to be able to virtually map and measure remotely, and to collect data for research and teaching. Our approach is of paramount importance also for outreach, as it allows non-specialist audiences (e.g. common citizens) to experience and appreciate highly complex volcanic features through customised, hands-on immersive VR tools.
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Contributor : Emmanuel Delage <>
Submitted on : Monday, October 5, 2020 - 5:45:41 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 4:20:18 AM




A. Tibaldi, F. Bonali, F. Vitello, E. Delage, P. Nomikou, et al.. Real world–based immersive Virtual Reality for research, teaching and communication in volcanology. Bulletin of Volcanology, Springer Verlag, 2020, 82 (5), ⟨10.1007/s00445-020-01376-6⟩. ⟨hal-02958327⟩



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