GEOG 497
3D Modeling and Virtual Reality

1.6 Examples


1.6 Examples

There is an almost infinite number of examples of VR content that is pushed on the market with new and exciting opportunities being added on a daily basis. We have selected a couple that we are looking at in a little more detail.

Google Cardboard / WITHIN

We have sent you a Google Cardboard. It is actually a slightly more advanced version than the standard one and it does help to adjust the distance between the lenses. If you are using Google Cardboard, there are many, many options to choose from that offer you content from Google itself but also other VR companies such as Within. You are strongly encouraged to explore content on your own! As one of the assignments we would like to give you, please watch the 360° video offered by Within called Clouds over Sidra. You can watch it either in the Cardboard viewer, or, if you prefer or have not received your viewer yet, you can also watch it on your phone without the viewer, or through other VR headsets, or on your computer via the web. The video Clouds over Sidra has been embedded below for your convenience.

Video: WITHIN 360° Video, Clouds Over Sidra (8:35)

Click here for a transcript of the WITHIN 360°, Clouds Over Sidra video.

We walked for days crossing the desert into Jordan. The week we left, my kite got stuck in a tree in our yard. I wonder if it is still there. I want it back.

My name is Sidra. I am 12 years old. I am in the fifth grade. I am from Syria and the Daraa Province in (inaudible city name). I have lived here in the Zaatari camp in Jordan for the last year and a half. I have a big family, three brothers one is a baby, he cries a lot. I asked my father if I cried when I was a baby and he says I did not. I think I was a stronger baby than my brother. [Music] We like to keep our bags and books clean and without rips. It is like a game to see who has the nicest books with no folds in the pages. [Music] I like cloudy days. I feel like I am under air cover, like a blanket. Our teachers sometimes pick students who do not place their hands to answer. So everybody raises their hand even if they do not know the answer. But I do my homework and I know the answer if she calls on me. [Music] There is a bakery not far from school. The smell of bread on the walk to class drives us mad sometimes. [Music] Some kids don't go to school. They want to wait until we are back home in Syria. I think it is silly to wait. How will they remember anything? And there is nothing better to do here anyway. Computers give the boys something to do. [Music] They say they are playing games but I don't know what they're doing because they won't let girls play on the computers. I don't understand computer games [Music] or boys. Many of the men say they exercise because they want to be strong for the journey home. But I think they just like how they look in the mirror. A lot of them make funny sounds when they lift the weights. [Music] The younger boys are not allowed in the gym so they wrestle or they try to wrestle.[Music] Even after everything, boys still like to fight. [Music] We have to play football quickly because there are so many kids waiting to play, especially now. Unlike home, here in Zaatari girls can play football too. That makes us happy. [Music] My mother makes sure we are all together for dinner. I still love her food even if she doesn't have the spices she used to. [Music] [Applause] There are more kids in Zaatari than adults right now. Sometimes I think we are the ones in charge. [Music] [Music] I think being here for a year and a half has been long enough. [Music] I will not be 12 forever and I will not be in Zaatari forever. My teacher says the clouds moving over us also came here from Syria. Someday the clouds and me are going to turn around and go back home. [Music]

To watch this 360 video you can click on the video, visit WITHIN or download and use the WITHIN app for a cardboard experience (recommended).

When watching the video, especially in the Cardboard / immersive headset option, take note on a couple of things:

  • How does filming a 360° video change how you follow the storyline of the video. Take note of aspects of the video that may or may not be unintentional.
  • What is the role that audio plays in watching the video and providing guidance on what to focus on (it is best to use headphones).
  • What does being immersed add to the video, how do your attention and your connection to the place change?
  • Did you try watching the video standing? I personally feel that it adds to my sense of place (and the camera was at a somewhat higher viewpoint).
  • Anything else?

Google Expeditions

All major technology companies are investing heavily in 3D/VR technology. Google’s Expeditions Pioneer Program is one example. Expeditions is a professional virtual reality platform that is built for the classroom. Google has teamed up with teachers and content partners from around the world to create more than 150 engaging journeys - making it easy to immerse students in entirely new experiences. Feel free to explore. This tool is geared toward classroom experiences but may offer some insights into how geography education may change in the future. Maybe geography will return to the K12 curriculum?

Screenshot of Google's Expeditions Pioneer Program
Screenshot of Google's Expeditions Pioneer Program

New York Times Virtual Reality (NYT VR)

The New York Times, as one of the first major news providers, has created an NYT VR app that can be downloaded for both Apple and Android platforms.

The app can be used in combination with Google Cardboard or any other viewer that accepts your smartphone. By now all major news corporations have 360-degree video offerings.

Screenshot of the NYTVR website with content examples.
Screenshot of the NYT VR website with content examples. While 360-degree videos can be watched as a desktop version, the main purpose is to provide content for immersive experiences using a combination of the mobile phone app and viewer (e.g. Google cardboard).
Credit: NYT VR

Graded Assignment: 3D/VR Project Review


Find two examples of 3D/VR projects other than the ones discussed above and write a short paragraph about each. In this exercise, you should select projects that you find exciting and reflect on why you think they will change the geospatial sciences, how information is communicated or made accessible, how people will be able to understand places across space and time differently, etc. Projects do not have to be movies but can address any 3D/VR topics somewhat related to geospatial.

Due Date

Please upload your assignment by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

Guidelines and Writing Rubric

In your reflection make sure that you answer the following questions:

  • Which aspects of the geospatial sciences will be affected most?
  • There are many other aspects to consider such as communicating and sharing health information, fostering social engagement, communicating climate change. Which field do you think will be affected most?
  • Does the length of the videos play a role? How long can you watch movies as immersive experiences?
Grading Rubric
Criteria Full Credit Half Credit No Credit Possible Points
Examples provided are different from course examples. 2 pts 1 pts 0 pts 2 pts
Link to the website/app and description of the platform through which the student experienced the movie is provided. 1 pts .5 pts 0 pts 1 pts
Reflection is well thought out, researched, organized, and answers the questions posed in the lesson. 4 pts 2 pts 0 pts 4 pts
The document is grammatically correct, typo-free and cited where necessary. 1 pts .5 pts 0 pts 1 pts
Total Points: 8