DEVELOPING A STRATEGY FOR PRECISE 3D MODELLING OF LARGE-SCALE SCENES FOR VR
In this work, we present a methodology for precise 3D modelling and multi-source geospatial data blending for the purposes of Virtual Reality immersive and interactive experiences. We evaluate it on the volcanic island of Santorini due to its formidable geological terrain and the interest it poses for scientific and touristic purposes. The methodology developed here consists of three main steps. Initially, bathymetric and SRTM data are scaled down to match the smallest resolution of our dataset (LIDAR). Afterwards, the resulted elevations are combined based on the slope of the relief, while considering a buffer area to enforce a smoother terrain. As a final step, the orthophotos are combined with the estimated Digital Terrain Model, via applying a nearest neighbour matching schema leading to the final terrain background. In addition to this, both onshore and offshore points-of-interest were modelled via image-based 3D reconstruction and added to the virtual scene. The overall geospatial data that need to be visualized in applications demanding photo-textured hyper-realistic models pose a significant challenge. The 3D models are treated via a mesh optimization workflow, suitable for efficient and fast visualization in virtual reality engines, through mesh simplification, physically based rendering texture maps baking, and level-of-details.