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G. Coeur, L. Moccozet

University of Geneva (SWITZERLAND)
Wiki is nowadays a quite widespread collaborative information editing system popularized by Wikipedia and all the related projects promoted and developed by the Wikimedia foundation. Our proposal is to introduce a wiki as a user-interface to develop a collaborative editing and visualization system for assigning large textual annotations to 3D models. We propose some directions to associate an information system with a 3D virtual space to create an enriched global information space combining abstract and perceptual information. The purpose is not to edit the 3D model, but to assign, edit and browse the annotations. Therefore, we consider that the 3D model has been previously designed and edited. Annotating 3D models with abstract information to visualize and interact with the resulting integrated information space is an appealing way to aggregate and integrate knowledge. It is therefore attracting more and more attention and interest, particularly for activities such as collaborative product design and some dedicated systems have already been proposed. We adapt a standard wiki information system as a user interface to develop a collaborative integrated information 3D space to 1) collaboratively annotate 3D models with large text annotations; 2) browse the annotations and visualize them synchronously with the 3D model. This results in an integrated information space where different sources and representation of knowledge are aggregated and integrated for further dissemination. We describe and discuss about the design of such a system, and propose a prototype implementation. The annotation environment involves two main activities: the annotation edition task as such and the annotations browsing task. The annotation edition task consists of providing the user with functionalities in order to: first select directly on the 3D model where the annotation is located or anchored and then edit its content. The annotation browsing task implies enabling the user 1) on one side to search and browse the annotations while keeping a continuous synchronization with the visualization of the associated 3D data and 2) on the other side to navigate and interact with the 3D model while keeping a continuous synchronization with the visualization of the associated abstract data. A typical use case scenario is the collaborative edition of a user manual for a product: in this scenario, a document describing a product has to be organized and edited. A collaborative edition process can be setup where the final virtual 3D replicate of a product is made available online and a team of users can collaborate to annotate it. In the real or physical world, the representation of an object is not limited to a 3D model or shape, but it also includes different types of related abstract pieces of information. The main issues are to assign and associate abstract information to 3D or more generally perceptual information and to be able to synchronize perceptual data and abstract data in order to convey the relevant information to the user to create Integrated Information Spaces. We therefore move from purely 3D visualization to information visualization. We expose the background of our research from the most general context, particularly related to 3D annotations, to our particular context and motivate the relevance of our proposal. We describe the design and implementation of our system and provide a brief summary of our achievements and discussion for further improvements.