UCSB Campus Modeling and Visualization

Lihua Lin, Tobias Höllerer

Perspective View of UCSB Campus 3D Model


The goal of this project is to:

  • Build an accurate environment model to be used in outdoor Augmented Reality (AR).
  • Provide interfaces to support navigation through the campus on different computing devices.
  • Construct a framework for research in 3D interaction and visualization.


AR provides rich information about the environment, combining a real scene viewed by the user and a virtual scene created by computer generated graphics.

Augmented reality user interfaces require accurate registration of the virtual world with the actual world. In order to achieve this, the model must match accurately with the real campus.

In this project different data resources are integrated into the 3D campus model. The data sources include:

  1. CAD data are used as reference for the geometry of the campus model;
  2. Textured 3D models were created with Maya;
  3. 1M aerial photograph is used as texture mapped on the ground and can also be used as a rough reference;
  4. Terrain data contain elevation information of the campus and nearby area.

The procedures involved in this project are shown in Fig 1:

  1. We separated each 3D building model from original scene into VRML files (Fig 2).
  2. Extract the contour for each building and other infrastructure from CAD data (Fig. 3).
  3. The bounding box for each building is used to do the placement correction, making the bounding box from the original 3D building model overlaps exactly with that of the CAD contour.

Fig 1: Steps to Build 3D Campus Model

Fig 2. Original 3D Campus Model

Fig 3. CAD Data for UCSB Campus

The elevation information uses Lambert Conformal Conic projection. In a relatively small area like the UCSB campus, the error resulting from different projection methods is negligible. We assume that the CAD data is based on the same projection as the elevation data, so we can easily find a common coordinate system for both. The terrain data is used to construct the ground mesh. The elevation is applied to each building and other infrastructure.

By extracting roads and paths from the CAD file and importing them into the project we build a network of paths that can be used for navigational guidance.

For convenience, a 2D campus map is included. When the user moves around the campus, the corresponding location information will be highlighted in the 2D map.

Perspective View of Campus

(Elevation Magnified by 10)

Engineering I

Storke Tower

Fig 4. Reconstructed 3D Campus Model

Future Work:

  1. Feature-based matching between the 3D model and CAD file: since the models are not 100% accurately modeled, with this function, we can improve the alignment of the 3D building model with the CAD outline.
  2. Path optimization: to find the shortest paths and provide navigational guidance.
  3. Information visualization (e.g. visualizing WiFi signal strengths), how to retrieve information on time and accurately, how to represent it efficiently.

Related Projects

Ryan Aubry's Urban Simulation Project