Smart Vidente: advances in mobile augmented reality for interactive visualization of underground infrastructure


Many civil engineering tasks require to access geospatial data in the field and reference the stored information to the real-world situation. Augmented reality (AR), which interactively overlays 3D graphical content directly over a view of the world, can be a useful tool to visualize but also create, edit and update geospatial data representing real-world artifacts. We present research results on the next-generation field information system for companies relying on geospatial data, providing mobile workforces with capabilities for on-site inspection and planning, data capture and as-built surveying. To achieve this aim, we used mobile AR technology for on-site surveying of geometric and semantic attributes of geospatial 3D models on the user’s handheld device. The interactive 3D visualizations automatically generated from production databases provide immediate visual feedback for many tasks and lead to a round-trip workflow where planned data are used as a basis for as-built surveying through manipulation of the planned data. Classically, surveying of geospatial objects is a typical scenario performed from utility companies on a daily basis. We demonstrate a mobile AR system that is capable of these operations and present first field trials with expert end users from utility companies. Our initial results show that the workflows of planning and surveying of geospatial objects benefit from our AR approach.

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This work was funded through the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) under the contract no. Bridge 811000 (Vidente) and FIT-IT 820922 (Smart Vidente), ALROEWPCO417/07 (POMAR3D) and the Austrian Science Fund FWF (W1209). Moreover, we thank our industrial project partners GRINTEC GmbH, ÖBB Infrastruktur Bau AG, Salzburg AG and Wienenergie Stromnetz for providing both real-world test data sets, hardware and network access, and valuable inputs to our research activities from the end-user perspective.

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Correspondence to Gerhard Schall.

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Schall, G., Zollmann, S. & Reitmayr, G. Smart Vidente: advances in mobile augmented reality for interactive visualization of underground infrastructure. Pers Ubiquit Comput 17, 1533–1549 (2013) doi:10.1007/s00779-012-0599-x

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  • Mobile augmented reality
  • 3D GIS
  • Geospatial interaction
  • Location- and context-aware computing
  • Surveying