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Science Nation: Geo-Immersion Makes Maps Come Alive

3 minutes

(Describer) Streams of light collide to create a globe filled with water. Title: Science Nation. A 3D map shows various buildings and a baseball stadium.

(male narrator) This virtual map of the USC campus in Los Angeles feels rather life-like. It's pulsing with moving cars and moving people. It's part of a new computing concept called Geo-Immersion, that blends the real and virtual worlds together.

(Cyrus Shahabi) The idea was to capture the real-world environment and then render it virtually, so it feels like you're there. So, you're immersed in that geographical area.

(narrator) Cyrus Shahabi is the director of USC's Integrated Media Systems Center. The National Science Foundation's support keeps the center on the forefront of multimedia and Internet technology. Shahabi says what makes Geo-Immersion unique is its capability to mesh existing information databases and integrate them with maps. Like what's called "The Clever Transportation Project." These are our real-time data that we collect. We're showing how the trend of traffic changes from morning to afternoon. This is a time slider. One application is to find shortest path. We calculate the blue, Google calculates the green, and they're different because we consider traffic. As we change the time of the day, our shortest path changes.

(narrator) Another prototype application is iCampus. It gives users on campus real-time locations for tweeters logged on to Twitter, building floor plans, even energy usage inside those buildings, just for starters.

(Shahabi) We have a bunch of applications who are iCampus. One application is the tram data.

(narrator) USC trams are outfitted with GPS units that transmit a signal every two seconds.

(Shahabi) One of my students built an iPad application where you can check when the bus reaches the closest stop.

(narrator) iCampus could be tailored to campuses or small cities.

(Describer) A camera points down from a building.

Shahabi says another application being developed, called iWatch, could also benefit law enforcement as an enhanced surveillance tool. This is what we are integrating into our iWatch application. Instead of having this view, which is usually for surveillance, this view is integrated, fused on top of a 3D model.

(narrator) Bringing the virtual and real world a little closer together through Geo-Immersion.

(Describer) The globe turns.

For Science Nation, I'm Miles O'Brien.

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Imagine a virtual computer simulation that reflects the world in real-time. The current virtual reality technology center has been creating and implementing this technology at the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles. It is called Geo-Immersion. Center director Cyrus Shahabi envisions the technology being used at other college campuses and institutions for applications ranging from social networking to enhancing security.

Media Details

Runtime: 3 minutes

Science Nation
Episode 1
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Science Nation
Episode 2
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Science Nation
Episode 3
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Science Nation
Episode 4
4 minutes
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Science Nation
Episode 5
4 minutes
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Science Nation
Episode 6
4 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Science Nation
Episode 7
4 minutes
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Science Nation
Episode 8
4 minutes
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Science Nation
Episode 9
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Science Nation
Episode 10
4 minutes
Grade Level: 10 - 12