F. Ramos, P. Yagol

Universitat Jaume I (SPAIN)
The idea of Virtuality is not new, as research on visualization and simulation dates back to the early use of ink and paper sketches for alternative design comparisons. As the technology has advanced so the way of visualizing simulations as well, but the progress is slow due to difficulties in creating workable simulations models and effectively providing them to the users.

Many applications are being developed regularly to visualize 3D models of buildings, historic monuments, cities and so forth in virtual environments. Software packages such as CAD, Maya, 3DMax, Revit, etc. enable us to create a 3D model with a desired accuracy with a huge modeling effort, skilled manpower and particularly loads of time. An example is Google Earth, basically a map viewer providing 3D views of cities with limited functionalities, where the user can control the way to perceive the representation, but it lacks tools and a system for the coordination and integration of real urban plans. Thus, in order to have an immediate impact on the development plans, holistic and collaborative urban planning tools should be created and stakeholders should be effectively engaged in decision making processes. In 2006, it was presented the Virtual 3D city model of Berlin, a system for integrating, managing, presenting, and distributing complex urban geo-information using CityGML, making it more interoperable. Based on XVR technology, In 2005, it was presented a guided tour through history of Pizza dei Miracoli in Pisa. These modes of visualizing a 3D city are web oriented or web enabled and are based on 3D scanning techniques and 3D modelers required a high level of precision, accuracy and time in modeling. But all these visualization methods lack the sense of interactivity. Video recordings and pictures can be used for replicating the real life situations, but they also lack of interaction within virtual worlds.

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are great examples of such visualization methods which are booming in this digital era, either by being immersed in simulated virtual environment or by adding a new dimension of interaction between digital devices and the real world. Both methods have something similar, though slightly different and equally significant in their own ways providing experiences and interaction being detached or blending together with the real world, making real and virtual alike. The process of replacing and supplementing the real world according to the requirements, is what converts these methods into more desirable and increasingly popular. With tremendous exciting innovation in smartphone, AR and VR are often confused, even though they are different technologies with dissimilar practical functions and uses.

In this work, we demonstrate the potentials of AR in a smart campus context. We will outline considerations from a comparative study about the effectiveness and user performance of in a real environment with augmented information, everything in the context of a smart campus. The evaluation results from the participants show promising results, providing opportunities for improvements and implementation in smart cities.