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Co-located Collaborative Use of Virtual Environments*


Thorsten Holtkämper1, Sascha Scholz1, Armin Dressler1, and Manfred A. Bogen1


Search and Discovery Article #40259 (2007)

Posted September 23, 2007


*Adapted from oral presentation at AAPG Annual Convention, Long Beach, California, April 1-4, 2007


1Fraunhofer IAIS, Sankt Augustin, Germany ([email protected])



Reservoir characterization and modeling is a multi-disciplinary task with many experts from different fields involved. Virtual Environments (VEs) can support such kind of collaborative tasks. This presentation is about the research done in the VRGeo Consortium to inspire and improve the collaborative use of VEs.  

Central to VEs for co-located collaboration are display systems that can be used by multiple users. However, it is not only about the bare hardware, but it is also about the combination with special rendering techniques and interaction concepts that makes a system a real collaboration environment. Since 2001, we have developed two different projection-based systems, especially with co-located collaboration in mind. One system is a wide panoramic display called i-Cone® with enhanced multi-user properties, such as omni-directional stereo and multi-viewpoint images. The other system is a multi-viewer display called TwoView, which projects an individual stereoscopic image for each of two users, enabling the sharing of the physical as well as the virtual space for precise collaborative work. We also did research in coupling on-site nearby displays running one application spanned over two VEs.  

In general VEs are not only viewers for an application but also include means for system control. We introduced a PDA-based, hybrid interaction and input/output device, which is especially useful in a multi-user context for instructor/learner sessions and for the differentiation between private and public data. We also designed a wireless stylus which is both an interaction device and a pen for shared tablet PCs. For multi-user interactions we developed the bent pick ray technique, which deals with the merging of multiple inputs and giving visual feedback on this process.  

Our presentation is about these collaboration techniques and the experiences made in the VRGeo Consortium.



  • Panoramic display system in combination with omnidirectional stereo and multi-viewpoint images are suitable for collaborative tasks of multiple users.

  • Real multi-viewer displays deliver the highest quality collaborative environment.

  • Co-located collaboration needs techniques for concurrent manipulation to avoid object locking.

  • Usability of system controls and interaction devices is essential to the user experience.

  • VRGeo is doing virtual reality and advanced visualization research for the oil and gas industry.

    • Open to new members.