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The use of immersive real-time 3D computer graphics for visualisation of dilution of precision in virtual environments

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Dilution of precision (DOP) is a fundamental concept in satellite navigation and surveying. A deeper understanding of this concept can be achieved through the means of 3D immersive visualisation. In this article, we present a method for visualising and exploring the spatial variation of DOP and discuss its presentation within an immersive virtual environment. The work demonstrates a real-time simulation of global positioning system (GPS) satellite geometry, modelled and visualised within a virtual representation of the university campus. The number of satellites visible to the receiver is modelled in real time as a user walks through the university campus. During this process, the changing satellite geometry is visualised in both 3D and aerial views. Various DOP values update to the screen against a pseudo-realistic building backdrop as the user travels. Both the aerial views and the changing volumes of the tetrahedra drawn in 3D provide an effective way of interpreting why exceptionally large or small horizontal DOP and vertical DOP values can occur in an urban context. Because the factors affecting DOPs are inherently 3D, communicating the spatial uncertainty of global positioning system coordinates within an immersive stereo environment has been viewed as a particularly powerful communication tool by both undergraduate and postgraduate students studying GI Science.
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Keywords: education; global positioning system; immersive visualisation; virtual reality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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