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Monday, April 9 • 3:45pm - 4:00pm
SYMPOSIA-07: Immersive Experiences for Grounding Environmental Decision Making

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AUTHORS: Alexander Klippel, The Pennsylvania State University; Jiawei Huang, The Pennsylvania State University; Melissa Lucash, Portland State University; Robert Scheller, North Carolina State University; Erica Smithwick, The Pennsylvania State University

ABSTRACT: Decision makers in environmental sciences around the world face the dilemma that planning for the future often requires abstract data as the primary basis for selecting a certain solution. The problem of abstract information is even more pronounced when the general public or lay people are part of the process as for them putting an environment they are used to interact with naturally into numeric (and at best graph-like) form is challenging. What does it actually mean that the biomass of tree species X is 16K cbm according to, for example, using climate change data from X to run a model on LANDIS II? We are in the position to offer decision-makers access to such an empirical experience based on recent development in 3D and immersive technologies. We modeled the composition of species in Wisconsin. The climate models used as input were made available through ## and taken as input for ecological modeling using LANDIS – II. Landings output was amended by ecological rules that allowed for deriving procedural rules necessary to guide, for example, the transformation of biomass into a distribution of trees in a specific area including assumptions about age distribution and spatial contagion. Using CityEngine as a bases for this modeling the resulting information and 3D models can be accessed through game engines such as Unity or rendered further using tools such as Lumion to increase the realism of the 3D model. We will discuss the overall approach, will offer insights into challenges such as how to address uncertainty in a 3D representation of the future of a natural environment, will showcase access modalities such as mobile phone based applications for head-mounted immersive experiences, and will discuss evaluation plans for assessing the value of immersive, embodied experiences for environmental decision making.

Monday April 9, 2018 3:45pm - 4:00pm CDT
LaSalle 1 (7th Floor)