Virtual Geomorphology


Augmented Reality Sandbox

Augmented Reality Sandbox Copyright: © G. Stauch

The Augmented Reality Sandbox allows the direct capture of surfaces changes, which are translated into a color map and contour lines directly back on the surface. As a surface in the AR Sandbox at the Geographical Institute, a special sand (kinetic sand) is used. Geomorphologic landforms such as meanders, dunes or volcanoes are rebuilt. In addition, a simulated water (or lava) flow on the surface can be produced. Changes in the topography can change the movements on the surface in real time. This serves, among other things, for a better understanding of surface dynamics.

The AR Sandbox at the Department of Physical Geology and Geoecology consists of a 100 x 75 x 20 cm sandbox filled with 80 kg of kinetic sand. The surface is scanned with a Microsoft Kinect 3D camera with infrared sensor. The data is processed in a NIVIDA Geforce GTX 1070. The open source software AR Sandbox is used. The software has been developed at the W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in Geosciences (KeckCAVES) of UC Dacis and runs in a Linux environment.

The AR Sandbox was funded by the Teaching Award (2016) of the students of the Geographical Institute for the lecture Cartography of Mr. PD G. Stauch.

First Clips made by students in the course Augmented Reality in Geomorphology are available on Youtube.

The AR Sandbox can also be used in schools. Bericht der Bischöflichen Liebfrauenschule Eschweiler (in German).



Georg Stauch

Akademischer Oberrat


+49 241 80-99381