Hyperspaces for Research: Interfaces and Enhanced Publications of Multiple Perspectives

How to interact with 3D virtual interiors in a research context, and to provide sufficient context on involved uncertainty?
How to use annotation in 3D spaces as a means of storytelling in a research and museum context?
And, how do we integrate 3D spaces, 2D maps and contextual (linked) data in a demonstrator of a Virtual Research Environment (VRE)?

These are some of the questions that Hugo Huurdeman will tackle in the Virtual Interiors “Hyperspaces for Research” project stream — in close collaboration with the other project members. Hugo’s postdoctoral research takes place in a Human-Computer Interaction context, and focuses on the design and evaluation of tools for historical research purposes.

Specifically, the project aims at:

  • The design and evaluation of trustworthy user interfaces and interaction paradigms to interact with heterogeneous and ambiguous sets of 2D and 3D data.
  • Creating and evaluating annotation structures for 3D sources at different levels of granularity (e.g. historical houses, rooms, objects and parts of objects), as well as researching their utility for storytelling in research and museum contexts.
  • Translating demonstrators of specific 3D reconstructions of interiors of historical houses and 2D historical maps into a more generic, multidimensional VRE demonstrator, which integrates rich contextual documentation. This VRE can form the basis for further enhanced publications.

VRE outline

Figure 1: VRE demonstrator outline

Figure 1 shows an outline of the proposed VRE demonstrator created in the Virtual Interiors project. It is composed of three main modules:

  1. The 3D module allows for the exploration and analysis of 3D scenes, 3D objects and for basic navigation. Visualization layers allow for showing variables such as uncertainty and lighting.
  2. The 2D maps module makes it possible to show 2D geocoded historical maps, and geospatial visualization layers based on linked datasets.
  3. The Documents and Data Sources module alows for viewing contextual documents and (linked) data sources.

These modules build upon previously developed frameworks, such as the 3D framework BabylonJS and 2D maps library OpenLayers.

Since not all of the aspects of the VRE can be anticipated in advance, this project takes up an agile approach to creating elements of the envisioned VRE. Moreover, a number of “sprints” will be carried out — set periods of time during which a certain task is completed and reviewed, often involving heavy collaboration with the involved stakeholders.

Research at partner institutions

As a postdoctoral researcher partially embedded at the two partner institutions of the project, Hugo will focus on specific sub-projects:

  • At the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (NISV), Hugo will collaborate with project members, historical experts and an intern focusing on 3D design (vacancy) on an interactive experience for accessing 3D historical radios, as well as contextual information
  • At Brill, Hugo will collaborate with local publishing and programming experts to create various building blocks, such as enhanced historical maps. He also focuses on further developing the concept of enhanced publications in relation to the envisioned VRE.

Researcher: Hugo Huurdeman