Communicating Complex Engineering Projects Using Holographic Visualization
Communicating complex engineering projects is highly intricate and complicated, especially on multidisciplinary projects that require community engagement and consultation. When poorly communicated, opinions are formed and decisions made on incorrect interpretations or understanding of project details, leading to long lasting impacts and consequences. In extreme cases, mistrust develops amongst project stakeholders which can lead to costly delays and negative publicity. Traditional means of communicating engineering designs involves 2-dimensional (2D) maps and drawings; this is a significant challenge when communicating 3-dimensional (3D) projects – which is nearly every project. 2D maps and drawings require specialized training to properly understand and contextualize. Using 2D mediums to convey sophisticated information poses a barrier to understanding by non-specialized participants, project team members or executives. Humans naturally think in 3D, not 2D, and exploiting this ability can fundamentally change how a project is understood by all stakeholders.
To address this challenge, we brought complex projects to life by developing a process that converts information and data traditionally reported as 2D drawings, to be visualized in true 3D on a holographic visualization platform. The platform allows participants to visualize key elements in 3D at scales from high level overviews to true life boots on the ground viewpoints. Visualizing information in 3D, on a holographic visualization platform, provides project participants with an unprecedented view of a project’s scope, scale, and technical details. Environments can be animated and presented at true scales to immerse the user in a project, from anywhere in the world. Furthermore, users can share environments and explore a design together.
Holographic visualization allows people to interact with, and control their experience, which facilitates the generation of a deeper understanding of 3D environments and their changes over time. This is especially important for the comprehension of non-technical project participants. Holographic visualization is enabling clearer communication and more confident decision making. It will also help identify, anticipate, and mitigate challenges earlier within the project lifecycle by being able to visualize the site in 3D on a boardroom table or standing in the landscape. It creates a shared vision, a common reality that allows meaningful input and decisions to be made based on science, facts and evidence.
We will share case studies from large open pit mining operations with a multinational mining company, a hydro power dam consultation project, and pipeline operation in geohazard prone terrain.