VRscan3D - Virtual laser scanner simulator for digitalisation of teaching environment

The objective of the project is to develop a software tool for creating simulated mass data of objects that are recorded by a terrestrial laser scanner. These instruments create 3D point clouds from different stations which further have to be registered (geo-referenced) and processed to higher level information such as 3D models, architectural drawings, orthophotos or maps.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Dr. h.c. Thomas Luhmann (Leitung) [IAPG, Jade Hochschule]

Dr. Darius Popovas [IAPG, Jade Hochschule]

Dr. Julia Gorkovchuk [KNUCA, Ukraine]

Dr. Denys Gorkovchuk [KNUCA, Ukraine]

Prof. Dr. Mona Hess [Universität Bamberg]

Dr. Maria Chizhova [Universität Bamberg]

Mykola Trehub [Dnipro University of Technology]

  Funding source

Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD)

Project is financed under DAAD program: support for the internationalisation of Ukrainian higher education institutions – shaping the digital future together: German-Ukrainian higher education institution collaborations.

Please visit the project webpage http://vrscan3d.com/ and our Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNpChpZzutYr_I-_U5OuE-Q

The program for the virtual laser scanner has won the first prize of the ISPRS CATCON Award during the ISPRS Congress 2022 in Nice. Additional information can be found here.

Ukrainian universities teaching courses related to digitization in engineering practice (e.g. geoinformation sciences, cadastral mapping, geodesy) should educate their students according to modern needs and demands from the professional market. However, there is a lack of knowledge among many teachers, out of-date equipment (hardware and software), insufficient ICT infrastructure and insufficient finances for necessary investments. University curricula in Ukraine need to be updated to accommodate these new technologies. For this purpose, appropriate tools and data have to be provided, otherwise neither teachers nor students have realistic chances to adapt to new methods in due time, and they will not be able to contribute to further developments by themselves.

The main goals of this project is to cover engineering digitization by two major project parts:

  1. Development of a virtual environment for creation and processing of digital 3D scan data
  2. Digital teaching and e-learning material with interactive tools and practical experiences

Part 1 will be solved through the development of a virtual system that allows users to create realistic data in the absence of a real measuring device. The virtual scanner will be based on existing open source software packages. This enables users to use the software free of charge and to apply future developments within the open source community. It will be part of a general e-learning concept that will be implemented in both Ukrainian and German partner universities.

Part 2 is addressed through an integrated teaching concept that includes interactive learning tools (for both teachers and students) and practical exercises (for example project weeks, summer schools) where the theoretical and virtual education is connected to practical experience with real instrumentation and data. One outcome of the experimental work is additional e-learning material based on the experiences and results of the project work. In addition, international intensive project weeks for students will be organized.

Project objectives 2021-2023:

  • Enhancement of VRscan3D software functionality: It is planned to optimise the current version of the software and implement some new features. This optimisation will include faster simulation speed, custom scanner simulation and enhanced noise simulation. The enhanced functionality will allow the application of gamification of the learning approach and automatic assessment of the quality of the virtual scan.
  • Integration of the developed software VRscan3D in education: It is planned to implement the integration in education in three steps: 1) testing of the software by Ukrainian students, 2) development of the learning course "Terrestrial Laser Scanning based on VRscan3D" and 3) inclusion of the use of VRscan3D and the developed course for distance learning at Ukrainian partner universities.
  • Sustainability: The great interest in the developed simulator shows that the tool has great potential for use in university teaching even beyond the project participants. All data and documents are stored in a cloud service provided by the project-leading university. They will be accessible to all universities beyond the project duration, i.e. for a future period. It is expected that teachers and students will continuously use and improve the virtual TLS simulator and the resulting results for sustainable curriculum development and modernisation in all participating universities. The final step will be the creation of new digital teaching material with practical exercises (using VRscan3D), for an enhanced learning and e-learning environment in multiple languages. This teaching material is valuable not only for the Ukrainian partner universities, but also for universities in Germany and other countries.
  • Involvement of further Ukrainian partners: The Dnipro Technical University will participate in the project as a new Ukrainian partner and integrate the project results into its curricula. This will further increase the sustainability of the project.
  • Dissemination of the software: During the dissemination phase, an internet platform for software availability, support, user forum, etc. will be created. The software will continue to be promoted through social media platforms and scientific publications, conferences and workshops.

Project partners

  • Kiev National University for Construction and Architecture (KNUCA), Faculty for Geodesy and Land Management, Ukraine
  • University of Bamberg, Institute of Archaeology, Heritage Sciences and Art History, Germany.

Funding volume

400.000 €