Facts about Fly-Through Animations

Hi, It seems to make sense to expand the use of the  iPads, solely and specifically to allow more visitors to see the fly-throughs based on the laser scanning efforts led by Nick and Louise. I’m not going to go into who and what and when here and now, but while I have access to wifi, I want to share my notes and have anyone add details and tips that might help others give rich interpretation of these animations. We can supplement the notes below with the 1-pager about laser scanning on the STEM part of the website. By the way, I found this link–http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/lidar.html This looks to be a great all-purpose source about laser scanning and its applications. Here are my notes from our sessions with Nick and Louise. Please add your thoughts by end of the day Tuesday 12/23. Thanks, Martha

Facts about Fly Through’s

About laser scanning technology. See background. Brand name is FARO LIDAR stands for light detection and ranging. About collecting data for these scans 350 scans were collected by Nick Hristov, Louise Allen, their students, and Cave interpreters June 2012 Dec 2012 Jan 2014 June 2014 Additional scans collected in Dec. 2014, bringing total to approximately 550 scans.  This covers between 30-50% of the visitor portion of the cavern. Each scan collects more than a million data points (possibly as high as a million a second, but for Hristov and Allen’s research, the scans don’t need to be that accurate). At this point (prior to Dec. 2014 data collection), we have over 55 billion data points. The scans were collected during work sessions of 4-8 hours over about 10-12 days. The process of stitching the scans together is labor-intensive and time-consuming. Takes about twice as long to stitch as it does to collect the scans. What to notice in the images, particularly in the animation of the passage to bat cave: • Dark round spots—tripod • White spheres—styrofoam markers set out by researchers to act as reference points. The person stitching the scans together highlights the reference points. The software matches the markers, overlays the images and you get a seamless connection between scans • Dark areas on the ground—guano piles • Rope—historic. Formerly scaffolding stood near the rope that was removed. Researchers saw evidence of bat skeletons around it. Seemed as though in a dense emergence bats were impaling themselves on it. Using the scans, we can get exact measurements of height, width, distance. We can compare the dimensions to other caves that bats call home, especially those in central and west Texas where thousands of bats congregate. This makes it easier to study the similarities and differences in places bats call home. Questions to ask visitors: Before showing scans Are you familiar with 3D mapping? What kinds of maps do you use? What are some challenges about mapping a cave? Imagine the feeling when you could get such a rich result with speed. After showing some or all of a fly-through What stands out for you? What are some advantages and disadvantages of this cave as a home? (disadvantages, lots of people and some unpredictable noise. Food can be a distance away; cave is cool for a mammal. Advantages: ample space to roost with hundreds of thousands of friends. Safe from predators. Not too far from Mexico border for migration (?)

2 thoughts on “Facts about Fly-Through Animations

  1. I think using the iPads will be a valuable tool for all the interpreters to have access to, so I’m excited to think about the implications. I’m not that good at using iPads myself, so I don’t think I can lend any good tips to other people, but I’m planning on practicing. It will be very useful when roving the Visitor Center. The fly through animation can help people maybe make decisions about hiking down the natural entrance. Or, if they just can’t hike down, for example if they’re in a wheelchair, they can get a virtual tour of that area. I also think a younger audience will be drawn to the iPads.


  2. Has Amanda mentioned this at morning meeting? Any peer-to-peer teaching going on yet (iSWOOP interpreters showing others the fly-throughs, sharing the facts sheet)?


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