Immersive Agroforestry

Virginia Tech’s Advanced Research Computing supports computational science in all its forms across the university. As the Division of IT, we support and collaborate with our Faculty and Extension Agents across the institution. For example, supporting world-class capabilities in the technologies for 3D capture, simulation, analysis, and interactive visualization of real places over time. The use of rich data layers, computational models, and 3D rendering have ushered in a new era of research, education, and training toward smart (and effective) Geodesign.

Fall 2019 Forestry Class inspects and discusses their design

Dr. John Munsell, Associate Professor and Forest Management Extension Specialist, teaches his FOR 4334 class with a strong project component. Students must apply the design principles and Best Management Practices (BMPs) they have learned to a real location/ site. This process involves many stakeholders and the effective communication of new spatial and agronomic concepts- a perfect opportunity for immersive, interactive 3D communication. The Fall 2019 student class project presentations were held in the HyperCube immersive projection environment in the Visionarium Lab. A video of his 2018 class in the Visionarium Lab can be seen here. Drs. Steven Kruger, Nicholas Polys, and Lance Arsenault collaborated on the data collection, processing, and immersive visualization.

The latest news includes the award of new $ 590,000 grant, led by Dr. Munsell. This award will further support our Land-Grant mission with a new age of impactful Education and Extension work for Appalachian Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs).

“The funding will continue federal support of the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition (ABFFC), which is based at Virginia Tech and was initiated in 2015. The project receives funding from a variety of sources in addition to the federal government, and which to date totals $1.5 million including the latest grant via a program of the United States Department of Agriculture. ” –

Multiple Stakeholders participate in the simulation and discussion with traditional media and an immersive experience

This collaboration has crossed traditional academic boundaries with great success and impact. The team includes experts in GIS, Remote Sensing, Lidar, Drones, Hydrology, and 3D visualization. The VT collaboration was originally funded with Dr. Cully Hession and Peter Sforza by the ICAT SEAD program through the Fusality project. Partners with ARC in the collaboration include the Center for Geospatial Information Technology (CGIT) and the the Stream Lab (BSE) to visualize and monitor VT campus, Stroubles Creek, and the Catawba Sustainability Center.

See also:

  • Polys NF, Sforza P, Hession WC, Munsell J. Extensible experiences: fusality for stream and field. InProceedings of the 21st International Conference on Web3D Technology 2016 Jul 22 (pp. 179-180). ACM.
  • Polys N, Hotter J, Lanier M, Purcell L, Wolf J, Hession WC, Sforza P, Ivory JD. Finding frogs: using game-based learning to increase environmental awareness. InProceedings of the 22nd International Conference on 3D Web Technology 2017 Jun 5 (p. 10). ACM.
  • Polys N, Newcomb C, Schenk T, Skuzinski T, Dunay D. The value of 3D models and immersive technology in planning urban density. InProceedings of the 23rd International ACM Conference on 3D Web Technology 2018 Jun 20 (p. 13). ACM.