3D Model Data Acquisition & Virtual Reality-Based Visualization of Infrastructure

In this activity, students apply Structure-from-Motion techniques learned in lectures by visiting the Geosystems Sensing and Analytics Laboratory (GeoSAL).

Authors: Dimitrios Zekkos, Robert Kayen, Kenichi Soga, Nick SitarProfessors in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Course Number & Title: CE170A: Infrastructure Sensing and Modeling
Grant Type: Berkeley Collegium Grant Program

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Activity Title 3D Model Data Acquisition and Virtual Reality-Based Visualization of Infrastructure
Delivery Format In-person

High Impact Practices (HIPs) Categories

(Review definitions for each category(link is external))

  • Common Intellectual Experiences
  • Undergraduate Research 
Learning Objectives
  • Introduce students to digital twins through Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality that combine 3D models and simulations

  • Hands-on experience in planning UAV autonomous flights with the goal of collecting imagery data for 3D modeling

  • Experience the range of UAV technologies and sensors (lidar, optical, infrared, multispectral) that are available and provide guidance on how to select the most appropriate data collection approach

Brief Summary of Activity As part of the main lectures students learn the principles of creating 3D models from imagery using the Structure-from-Motion technique. In this activity, students visit the Geosystems Sensing and Analytics Laboratory (GeoSAL) and are divided into groups with three Stations. In Station 1, students have the opportunity to see a wide range of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and sensors that are used for data collection. In Station 2, students visualize 3D models of infrastructure impacted by natural disasters using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality and are introduced to the concept of digital twins. In Station 3, students fly outdoors a UAV on autonomous flight mode and learn the hands-on details of flight planning and imagery data acquisition.
Innovative Teaching Reflection

Through this hands-on activity, students learn how data is collected for infrastructure to create 3D models and are exposed to additional experiences (e.g, multi-sensors, VR/AR) that are beyond the main course content. Thus, the objective is to recognize that the course content is a launching point for exciting new professional and research directions.

Activity Length 1.5 hr
Impact & Feedback

Feedback from the students is pending, but it seems that students appreciated the opportunity to see a broader spectrum of applicable science in the field of infrastructure and natural hazard resiliency. Having smaller groups of students going through Stations was valuable, but we need to make sure that all stations have the same duration.