Luther Fant

Home Institution Clemson University

Clemson Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Collaborative Data Visualization Applications Summer 2014

Home Institution

Clemson University
Clemson, SC

Clemson Research Mentor

Stephen Moysey
Research Area

Clemson Visualization Mentor

Vetria Byrd

About Me

I found myself at Clemson University after a childhood filled with the tinkering and breaking of electronics, some of which belonged to my parents. This youthful fascination with circuits led me to pursue a degree in Computer Engineering. Outside the scope of computers, I enjoy reading, internet surfing, and collection of uesless information during my Wikipedia binges.

Project Description

My work with Dr. Stephen Moysey attempts to answer the following quesiton: "How can 3D virtual tools and geographic data be used to create interactive environmental visualizations?". To explore this, I have been tasked with creating geographic landscapes in the Unity 3D Engine using real-world data. This landscape will be visualized with the Oculus Rift VR headset, and aims to be explorable by the user.

Week 1

The first week of the REU began with Orientation and introductory workshops. My work began with the familiarization of the Oculus Rift. I began to seek out a copy of Unity Pro for my work. My overall achievement this week was having a general workflow setup.

Week 2

I began to make actual progress this week. I discovered the command-line utility GDAL which has the ability to convert between various formats of geological data types. After downloading a sample of Elevation data from the USGS, it was converted into a format Unity is able to handle. I rendered a portion of the Grand Canyon in the environment and laid a simple texture over it. My next task was camera/perspective setup. After this I began to learn about camera path animation.

Week 3

This week began with a meeting with all three of my mentors where we disscussed current progress and the next steps. My goals for this week are to have the Oculus controlling the camera angle inside the engine and take the first steps to demonstrating and reporducing a workflow.s

Week 4

After making little progress on imagery I switched to enabling user movement in the software. I am hoping to integrate the PlayStation 3 Controller into camera movement. There are a few tutorials available on various platforms so I should be able to figure something out.

Week 5

This week was mostly oriented on the presentations we gave on Thursday. I discovered a utility called GraphicsMagick that should be able to view the HRO files from the United States Geological Survey and find the color in them. One of my current struggles is that the JPEG2000 format used for these files has weak support on OSX and I am only able to view them in Greyscale at the moment. On Thursday we gave our presentations

Week 6

Still working on the issue surrounding the lack of color in the landscape imagery. Also starting to put a poster together for next for the XSEDE14 conference in Atlanta, GA. I recompiled GDAL, a command-line utility I used earlier for the heightmaps. This time, with another library, called JasPer that has the ability, when modified, to open GEOJP2 format files. Once I have a better idea of its abilities to convert these files I would like to make a batch script to generate an entire landscape from dozens of smaller pieces.

Last updated: 07/8/2014