We were approached by info4eco to create an immersive simulation that visualises flooding in real-world locations using big data sets.
The simulation is designed to help Canberra’s homeowners and government advisers understand and mitigate flood risks for both existing properties and new developments.
A collaboration between our two companies, info4eco contributed their expertise in hydro-engineering and risk management, while we applied our game development experience to create an immersive world that accurately simulates the environment.
The project came with an ambitious set of technical goals that we were eager to meet:
- Terrain and water geometry to visualise 1 data point every 50cm.
- Terrain and water height to be accurate to within 1 mm.
- Realistic water appearance and behaviour.
- An open world area that covers the whole of the ACT (without significant loading times).
- Visually recognizable environment using automated tools.
- Deployed on a website via WebGL.
The scale of the land area and input data that we worked with is ambitious, but essential to how the tool is intended to be used.
The three main challenges we faced were:
- Processing, storing and serving large datasets.
- Creating a visually recognizable environment using automated tools
- Optimising the project to run in a web browser.
We approached the problem by breaking the project into a series of testable milestones:
- Develop the tools required to process the data
- Develop the core technology and functionality (user controls, user interface, data importing)
- Generate a constrained area to conduct user testing
- Develop the tools to serve large data sets
We leveraged asset packs, editor extensions, and prebuilt tools to construct all generic systems. For use cases that were unique to this project we developed custom components in collaboration with info4eco. A technical case study, including lessons learned, can be found below.
The next phase of the project is to process and serve data sets for the whole of the ACT. This will be completed once we have finished user testing.
During user testing, we were invited to the ‘SimGov: Future Ready Forum’ to discuss the technical implementation and learning outcomes. Chaos Theory co-founder Nico King and info4eco founder Philip Prentice presented at the 2018 forum in March.
You can find the slides from the presentation here.
We are still speaking to government and industry stakeholders about requirements and additional features. If you would like to take part in user-testing, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org