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Toward an Immersive 3D Virtual BoK Exploratorium: A Proof of Concept


  • Acknowledgement: Funding for this research was provided by National Science Foundation Grant #0964563.

Address for correspondence: Michael DeMers, Department of Geography, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA. E-mail:


The UCGIS GIS&T Body of Knowledge document provided an opportunity for the GIS educational community to link course content and curricular sequencing to a catalog of subject matter. Focusing on learning objectives, a selection of relevant citations, and basic background for each topic, it has been used to a limited degree for both course topic selection and curriculum development. However, the static format of the document, lack of an index, and dated nature of the material limit its utility for education. Based on the success of our research team in developing a virtual platform for a new, more interactive, and collaborative environment to catalogue and interactively add to the body knowledge (Ahearn et al. 2013), this article describes efforts to develop a multi-user virtual user environment that will add social presence to the experience. It describes the successes and failures of using Second Life as the initial platform for this work, illustrates the available interactions and limitations, and depicts ongoing efforts to move beyond Second Life for this development. Finally it discusses a possible methodology to leverage the power of virtual crowd sourcing within competitive gaming environments such as Unity to allow for the creation of on-demand virtual 3-D visualizations of GIS&T concepts in a digital Exploratorium.

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