American Meteorological Society (AMS) 99th Annual Meeting, 2019

Designing an Augmented Reality App to Communicate and Engage Users in Real-Time Satellite Data [Click here to view the presentation]

Abstract: The Merge Cube was launched in 2017 by Merge Labs, Inc. as a toy for Augmented Reality (AR). Originally meant more for children’s games, the Merge Cube shows promise in becoming a simple data visualization platform by which scientists can communicate their data to the general public, citizen scientists, and the K-12 classroom. Apps such as HoloGLOBE and MountainMetCube have been developed to render both raster and vector data to the Merge Cube. MountainMetCube, a prototype AR app for the Merge Cube developed at Millersville University, is used to visualize 3D concepts in fluid dynamics and cloud structure in the field of mountain meteorology. HoloGLOBE is the first AR app to render real-time data to the Merge Cube. The app shows real-time weather, earthquakes, fires, surface temperatures and more, making for a dynamic, ever-changing experience for the user each time the app is started. Available for both Android and iOS, HoloGLOBE has been well received by many, including educators, and is proving useful in getting NASA and NOAA satellite datasets to classroom students and quite literally to the palm of their hands. NASA has also designed an extension module to HoloGLOBE for their ICESat-2 satellite. A number of design considerations have been made during HoloGLOBE’s development cycle. Two particular challenges were to: 1) Design an AR framework for Big Data visualizations that balances mobile performance and data resolution; 2) Design a simple and intuitive user interface bounded to a restricted digital volume, inherent to the single target AR method. HoloGLOBE is a product of the Institute for Earth Observations at Palmyra Cove. The Institute continues to investigate various mixed reality technologies as well as design and prototype apps that allow users to explore real-time satellite data at the Institute’s Environmental Discovery Center and onboard the Institute’s Mobile Science Lab. Pre-college teacher training to use and assess these apps have been made possible by the National Science Foundation (NSF DUE-1610911).

American Meteorological Society (AMS) 98th Annual Meeting, 2018

The Use of VR and AR Applications for Meteorological Education

Abstract: Virtual reality (VR) immerses users in a simulated environment created by computers and has a long history. Recently, augmented reality (AR) has gained in popularity through its merging of simulated objects with the real word. Both technologies can be useful to students learning meteorological concepts if they are applied in the right way. AR devices, such as the new Merge Cube, are ideal for allowing students to easily alter their view angle. Relevant applications previously created for VR include thermal wind balance, barotropic pressure systems, and trowals. The Merge Cube is also most convenient for interacting with a single object, such as a supercell thunderstorm or mountainous island. To link different concepts together and see how they appear to the people impacted by them, a more immersive VR environment is preferable. Virtual worlds can be created from standalone displays with a similar theme. Examples include basics of mountain meteorology and actual observations from large field campaigns. This presentation highlights the current progress in creating all of these VR and AR applications.

Engaging Students in Real-Time Geovisualizations through Augmented Reality: A NASA Mission Earth Project [Click here to view the presentation]

Abstract: GLOBE Mission EARTH is a collaborative of multiple institutions across the United States formed to increase involvement in the GLOBE Program ( GLOBE Mission EARTH is funded by NASA Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) #: NNX16AC54A. In addition to the members from our partner institutions, our group includes hundreds of other individuals including teachers, students and citizen scientists, located throughout the United States. Our mission is to improve education and involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by increasing participation of students and citizens in the GLOBE Program ( introduction of an Augmented Reality app, HoloGLOBE, can literally place real time data sets into the hands of teachers, students, and citizen scientists taking geovisualizations to a new level. HoloGLOBE is an evolving concept that utilizes the Merge Cube (Merge Labs, Inc.) to “blend” NOAA’s Science on the Sphere (SOS) with the concept of Google Expeditions. Various SOS programs are being ported to HoloGLOBE. Combined with NASA and NOAA data visualizations and near-real time satellite imagery of our planet, users will be able to explore earth’s systems. Through additional expansion packs, currently under development, users will investigate global precipitation, surface temperatures, weather and more.

Planned for future release, users will virtually visit other parts of the world through participating in the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) network of schools ( HoloGLOBE is currently intended for K-12 students, teachers, and citizen scientists to learn about satellite remote sensing and earth systems. 3D panoramic views of GLOBE study sites are in the works and will be integrated into HoloGLOBE.

HoloGLOBE is envisioned to be a “mixed reality” node where participants post and share their interpretations of satellite imagery along with their own field observations with other participants worldwide. Participants will be introduced to 3D geovisualizations of NASA and NOAA datasets that allow for investigations and data displays by GLOBE students from around the planet through this new and emerging technology which holds dramatic potential in the study of the atmospheric and oceanographic sciences.