Virtual Campus Modeling

Students this summer will be using sophisticated 3D scanners to virtually map the USF Tampa campus.


                                                                                                                                     Video: Katy Hennig | USF News

By Katy Hennig

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (May 24, 2013) – Scientists from the Alliance for Integrated Spatial Technologies, or AIST, are shifting their focus and are now working on an extensive project virtually mapping the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida.


“The idea is to give them sort of a living classroom,” said Collins, “this is going to make USF one of the smartest campuses.”


AIST directors Lori Collins and Travis Doering are teaching a course this summer that will build on the concept that the team has in place. Using 3D scanners, global positioning systems, geographical information systems, and high tech computer software, the high school students enrolled in the STEM course will produce a real-world project, a “virtual campus model” of USF.


The team has documented monuments and artifacts around the world ranging from lost treasures in Guatemala to decaying forts around the state of Florida. The scanning technology records and preserves some of the most imperiled architecture in the world.


“As part of our center function we work with a lot of agencies and a lot of people that are interested in how we can protect and preserve the world around us in ways that in case we do lose something we can always recreate it or continue to understand it and share it, and this kind of technology is allowing us to do that in ways that we’ve never been able to do,” said Collins.


The cutting edge techniques perfected by USF alums Collins and Doering have come a long way since the pair initiated the research as graduate students. Now, they are branching out and applying the methods to more familiar locations, mapping the campus for virtual tours, sustainability, efficiency, and security among numerous other uses.  


The 3D Campus Project will be a “living document” that will continually be updated and stocked full of current and historical information about the locations. The virtual tour will have an augmented reality feature, which allows users to access the site with a mobile device and learn more about that particular location.


“So you can take the 3D model of the library, you can come into our campus and look at the library and through your own device, through a phone or a tablet, tag that spot with information, which we can do, we can then view things about that building so the building can talk to us, the building can tell us its story,” said Collins.


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Katy Hennig can be reached at 813-974-6993.