Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Creating a High-Fidelity Interactive Simulation of the Timpanogos Cave System from a Terabyte-Scale Terrestrial LiDAR Dataset
by LaSala, Blase, M.S., The University of Arizona, 2019, 108; 27672206
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis presents an “end to end” workflow that documents the steps taken to create an interactive high-resolution simulation of the Timpanogos Cave System. The majority of the cave system, including areas that are not open to the public such as sensitive crawlways and pits, has been digitally reconstructed at resolutions high enough for users to see sub-centimeter formations that the caves are famous for, such as soda straws and helictites. This application, which renders the cave in real time and is optimized to run on consumer level hardware using a computer game rendering engine, has been designed to be used for public outreach and research, and is compatible with both flat screens and virtual reality head mounted displays. After describing the site and motivations for creating this application, all steps of the project are covered and justified. These steps include budget planning and scope, equipment selection, data collection methodology, pointcloud processing, and implementation. A novel approach to converting clouds exceeding several billion points into a simulation, using high performance computing (HPC) solutions, python scripting, and an open source meshing algorithm is also presented. A final application allowing visitors to explore the caves from the National Monument’s visitor center will be installed in 2020. In addition, a discussion on future features planned, possible improvements to the workflow via automation, and alternative uses for interactive applications beyond a virtual cave tour are covered. User interface developments to make the simulation compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act are also touched on.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kemeny, John M.
Commitee: Levine, Joshua A., Momayez, Moe
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Mining Geological & Geophysical Engineering
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 81/7(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Geotechnology, Geological engineering, Remote sensing
Keywords: Cave, Geoinformatics, Karst, LiDAR, Simulation, Speleology
Publication Number: 27672206
ISBN: 9781392496367
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