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How Virtual Reality is enhancing Trail Management

How Virtual Reality is enhancing Trail Management

patrickrisa May 1, 2019

Blacksburg, a team of tech researchers from Virginia demonstrated how Virtual reality, 3D printing and GIS data can be used to management of footpaths known internationally. The team of researchers was able to show using their tools how this technologies play a role in trail management to a team from National Park Service and Appalachian Trail Conservancy. According to Peter Sforza, a director at the Tech Center application of Augmented Reality in trail management will not only improve the science but also the whole practice of trail resources management. This according to Sforza has the long term benefit of improving tourism and footpaths health. “We can bring traditional techniques with humans and paper and do the technology and data driven study alongside them” Peter Sforza said.

The team of researchers demonstrated a view shed simulation using the trail digital models together with surrounding landmarks. “How people interpret trail views is important to its maintenance.” Explained Jim Von Haden, manager, Appalachian National Scenic Trail Integrated Resources.” About 90 percent of people who use areas managed by the National Park Service, which oversees the National Scenic Trail, come for the views” further added Von Haden. Combining AR technology with actual field work has been a big challenge for computer scientists.  According to Nicholas Polys, Visualisations for advanced research director, the team might be having some good visualization ideas for the elements but they may not be practical in real situations. Nicholas Polys demonstrated how researchers can utilize Viscube, a low cost but highly performing cave that is projected on the front and utilizes Virtual Reality Technology. It has the capabilities of showing view sheds to individuals studying different aspects of a particular footpath. “If we can design a system that takes advantage of the human and the strengths of the technology in the right ways, we can enhance both sides,” concluded Sforza.


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