In urban operations, military personnel require a broad situational picture. In addition to the surface, this also applies to underground movement passages (e.g. canals, subway connections, cellar passages) and infrastructure (e.g. fiber optic lines, power cables). Since the operational scenarios in underground infrastructures are often very complex, it is necessary to create a comprehensive situational picture in order to provide decision-makers with a basis for management. The provision of geo-basic data on subterranean infrastructure levels is urgently needed to build up a complete picture of the situation. When collecting the data, primarily available heterogeneous data sources and, if necessary, sensor networks should be used, and new possibilities should be identified to automatically collect this data in larger areas and to visualize it three-dimensionally.
The assessment of an area takes into account many different geo-factors and the development of a systemic way to visualize and combine virtual and augmented reality in a military context, is to be considered a new field that is about to be solved within the project.
The primary goal of this project is to define the relevant geo-factors, infrastructure, and movement passages, to build a three-dimensional representation in a data structure that can be used by the Austrian Armed Forces. For this purpose, a prototype for a small area will be created, which allows the clear representation of a complex spatial structure that will then significantly exceed the visualization of conventional elevations and floor plans. To generate the prototype, the development of new survey methods and survey technologies is necessary. Another goal is to understand the dimensions and complexities of the topic and to be able to prepare an estimation for a rollout in a larger urban area and the use of complex visualization technologies.
The long-term goal, which goes beyond the scope of this project, is to use augmented reality to display additional content (movement information, building information, ...) for military personnel in the area of operations. A second long-term goal is to develop an Austrian-wide underground atlas.
The methods and technologies developed in this project are an essential step towards improving assessment and tactical mobility in urban areas. The detection of underground movement passages is the only way for the armed forces to be able to fully assess the situation in urban areas and react accordingly to it. This project also contributes to improving mixed reality training for emergency services.