Journal cover Journal topic
Proceedings of the ICA
Journal topic
Articles | Volume 5
07 Aug 2023
 | 07 Aug 2023

Exploring the potential of an Augmented Reality sandbox for geovisualization

Rebekka Bärthele, Stefan Sauer, and Jan Wilkening

Keywords: augmented reality, sandbox, geovisualization

Abstract. Geovisualization provides theories, methods, and tools for visualizing processes on the earth’s surface. One of the key challenges of the field is to find interesting and engaging ways to display geographical data. In this paper, we focus on the Augmented Reality (AR) Sandbox. An AR Sandbox combines a box filled with sand with a 3D camera and a projector to explore the topography of the sand terrain in real time and allow water flow simulations. This direct interaction between user and topography makes the AR sandbox a fascinating, explorative tool in the field of geovisualization.

In this paper, we give an overview about how an AR Sandbox is built, what components are required, and how configuration, calibration or adding additional features work. We also discuss ways to improve the usability of the AR Sandbox or change its appearance to make it more suitable for specific use cases in geovisualization. Of particular importance is the DEM tool, which allows real-life data to be remodeled in the AR Sandbox to explore the terrain, create rainfall simulations, or export the current terrain as a DEM. Further advantages of using an AR sandbox for geovisualization are the hands-on methodology and gamification aspects, which motivate people to interact with topography and improve learning effects in the geosciences.

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