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It's More Than Just VR

Posted by Tomas Orlik on Jul 31, 2019 1:17:09 PM
Tomas Orlik

The support of virtual reality becomes essential for decision makers using 3D GIS models. And it’s fun!

Google Earth is no Match for Skyline's 3D VR Environment

“Oh, this is the place by the river where I proposed to my wife a few years ago! And now let me go to see our favorite park.”  The young GIS professional asks for more time with the VR viewer. His friend tells him he’s taken enough time and should let others have a chance to experience it. “Why don’t you use Google Earth later on?” says the friend. “Because, I was told this is the most current and accurate 3D model of Berlin available,” the young professional replies while reluctantly passing the Oculus Rift VR device to his friend.  His excitement is obvious and infectious to the others waiting. This was the scene in the DAT/EM Systems Europe (business partner of Skyline Software Systems in Germany) booth at the 3D Forum Lindau. The big attraction? Skyline’s TerraExplorer Pro’s new support of VR devices.

TerraExplorer’s VR Integration Draws Attention in Europe

It is May 7, 2019 just before lunch in Lindau, Germany. The 3D Forum Lindau is celebrating its 18th occurrence, and its success as a major event for 3D GIS users, vendors and developers. SkylineGlobe GmbH, local representatives of Skyline Software Systems for German speaking countries and Eastern Europe, has brought a computer connected to the Oculus Rift VR device and it quickly draws a large, curious crowd.  Some of those gathered have heard about the project from Skyline’s customer, Aerowest GmbH. Aerowest announced that they had processed the new 3D mesh model of Berlin recently in close cooperation with Skyline, using its PhotoMesh modeling multiprocessing engine in the Cloud. Since Aerowest was to present the details of this project the following day, many wanted to see it up close in advance.

But even the interest at this event was incomparable with what happened at the following event; the GIS Conference held on June 4 and 5, 2019 in the mountains in the middle of the Czech Republic. As soon as the organizer, 3D GIS provider TopGis announced that attendees could try Skyline’s Terra Explorer Pro with Oculus Rift, the queue filled up so quickly it reminded some of the older locals of a time when one needed to wait in a queue for almost everything, except, maybe a life behind the iron curtain!

European Municipalities See Real Value in VR Integration

Using Occulous Rift VR with Skyline TerraExplorer ProThe audience at both events consisted of of municipal planners, GIS managers, and professionals taking care of GIS systems by the police and fire brigades. And though they may not buy the 3D modeling and data-streaming solution from Skyline solely because it supports virtual reality, it was obvious that they saw its value.

“Even if we use the Oculus Rift device twice a year during discussions about city development plan in our city board meeting, the system must be able to work seamlessly with the proper 3D software. It is absolutely a different experience if the Mayor views buildings next to the main square in virtual reality as opposed to looking at it on a flat computer screen. She can walk, look around, fly through and see additional data sources like traffic or air pollution live in the streets,” a team leader from the GIS department of an Austrian city explained.

Municipal officers in the Czech Republic share the same views. Some of the users of Skyline technology already deploy the 3D GIS models fully in their environmental planning projects with data, and tailored applications from Skyline’s local reseller. The possibility to observe these 3D environments in virtual reality can make planning and completing projects more effective.

With this new integration by Skyline, VR is quickly becoming a “reality” for GIS professionals looking to make their work and projects more successful. And it helps that many of these users regularly use VR in their spare time in gaming environments. Adopting and applying this technology to the real world just confirms that it’s more than just VR.  

If you want to know what all the excitement is about, you can experience Skyline’s TerraExplorer Pro integration with Oculous Rift VR in Stuttgart, September 17 - 19 at INTERGEO. Skyline will be in booth #D1.052 and will have a VR station set up for attendees featuring Berlin, Leon, London, Nottingham, Monaco, & The Hague.


About the Author: Tomas Orlik is Managing Director of SkylineGlobe GmbH (a subsidiary of Skyline Software Systems) and manages the sales territories for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Central and Eastern Europe. If you are located in any of these areas and would like more information on our products contact Tomas directly at

Topics: PhotoMesh, 3D Virtual Reality, 3D VR for Geospatial Production