Northeastern Section - 53rd Annual Meeting - 2018

Paper No. 45-10
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


HEATH, Brenton J. and WILLIAMS, Kevin K., Department of Earth Sciences, SUNY Buffalo State, 1300 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222

This project uses video recording and editing tools to examine creating interactive virtual field trips that can be experienced in immersive environments such as a VR headset and a digital planetarium. Many fine geology virtual field trips exist and are important for students who are not able to take part in a field trip due to physical or other limitations. These virtual field trips often contain still images combined with text describing what objects or features to observe. Although no virtual field trip can entirely replace an actual field trip, students can be further engaged by replacing static 2-dimensional images with 360 degree images and videos. These 360 degree resources can be combined with descriptive audio, and if a student will be using a web site or virtual reality (VR) glasses, the images and videos can be collected as a full sphere instead of only a hemisphere.

We began by exploring various cameras that can capture 360 degree and spherical images and videos. Based on online reviews, colleague recommendations, and available resources, we purchased a Kodak PIXPRO SP360 4K system which includes two 4K 360 cameras that can be used individually to record a hemispherical image and video or can be used together to record a spherical image or video. With the anticipation of the added benefit of acquiring airborne views of geologically interesting locations, we purchased a Solo drone as well as the Kodak PIXPRO “Action Cam Aerial Pack” that includes accessories including a bracket for attaching the cameras to the drone.

A protocol for processing hemisphere and sphere images and videos will be presented as well as a sample virtual geology field trip of a location in Western New York rich in sedimentary layers. We will also discuss benefits and drawbacks of viewing these virtual field trips on a computer vs. with VR glasses vs. in a digital planetarium, and we will present plans for development of more immersive virtual field trips.