2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 35-3
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


GIORGIS, Scott1, MAHLEN, Nancy1 and ANNE, Kirk2, (1)Geological Sciences, SUNY Geneseo, 1 College Circle, Geneseo, NY 14454, (2)Computing and Information Technology, SUNY Geneseo, 1 College Circle, Geneseo, NY 14454, giorgis@geneseo.edu

Students often struggle with the 3D visualization skills necessary to interpret a 3D data set (landscape) from a 2D, flat expression (paper topographic map). In a similar way, students struggle to correctly visualize the interaction between planar features (e.g. faults) and topography (i.e. the “rule of V’s”). The augmented reality sandbox, conceived by Oliver Kreylos at the UC-Davis Institute for Data Analysis and Visualization, attempts to bridge the gap between 2D and 3D visualization by projecting a digital topographic map directly onto a landscape created in a sandbox. As that sandbox landscape is altered, the topographic map dynamically adjusts in real time to match the landscape, giving students the opportunity to discover how to read topographic maps on their own. We present a demo of an augmented reality sandbox that (1) uses the original topographic software developed by Kreylos and (2) incorporates an altered version of the software that explores the relationship between dipping planes and topography. The value of this approach is that it allows students to dynamically investigate topography and concepts like the rule of V’s simply by playing in a sandbox. Students do not need to directly engage with the technology, making this a powerful tool for kinesthetic learners and those students who are intimidated by high-tech interactions. We hypothesize that the augmented reality sandbox is a more effective tool for teaching topographic maps and dipping planes on geologic maps than the more traditional approach which relies primarily on 2D maps. As the project progresses, we hope to test this hypothesis by comparing data collected on students taught with our traditional 2D map curriculum to a group of students who have had the opportunity to use the augmented reality sandbox.