Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 281–291 | Cite as

Handheld Augmented Reality for underground infrastructure visualization

  • Gerhard SchallEmail author
  • Erick Mendez
  • Ernst Kruijff
  • Eduardo Veas
  • Sebastian Junghanns
  • Bernhard Reitinger
  • Dieter Schmalstieg
Original Article


In this paper, we present an Augmented Reality (AR) system for aiding field workers of utility companies in outdoor tasks such as maintenance, planning or surveying of underground infrastructure. Our work addresses these issues using spatial interaction and visualization techniques for mobile AR applications and as well as for a new mobile device design. We also present results from evaluations of the prototype application for underground infrastructure spanning various user groups. Our application has been driven by feedback from industrial collaborators in the utility sector, and includes a translation tool for automatically importing data from utility company databases of underground assets.


Handheld Augmented Reality Mobile spatial interaction Geospatial modeling Online 3D reconstruction 



This work was sponsored by Österreichische Forschungs-förderungsgesellschaft FFG under contract no. BRIDGE 811000 and ASAP ARTIST 815531, the European Union under contract no. FP6-2004-IST-427571 and the Austrian Science Fund FWF under contract no. Y193 and W1209-N15. We thank VRVis Graz group for providing the 3D reconstruction library. We also thank GRINTEC GmbH and Innsbrucker Kommunalbetriebe AG for providing the relevant geospatial data.


  1. 1.
    Höllerer T, Feiner S, Hallaway D, Bell B, Lanzagorta M, Brown D, Julier S, Baillot Y, Rosenblum L (2001) User interface management techniques for collaborative mobile augmented reality. In: Computers and graphics, vol 25, pp 799–810Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Viega J, Conway M, Williams G, Pausch R (1996) 3D magic lenses. In: Proceedings of ACM symposium on user interface software and technology, pp 51–58Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Mendez E, Kalkofen D, Schmalstieg D (2006) Interactive context-driven visualisation tools for augmented reality. In: Proceedings of ISMAR’06, Santa Barbara, 22–25 Oct 2006, pp 209–216Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Furmanski C, Azuma R, Daily M (2002) Augmented-Reality visualizations guided by cognition: perceptual heuristics for combining visible and obscured information. In: International symposium on mixed and augmented reality (ISMAR), pp 215–224Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bane R, Höllerer T (2004) Interactive tools for virtual X-ray vision in mobile augmented reality. In: Proceedings of international symposium on mixed and augmented reality, pp 231–239Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Roberts GW, Evans AJ, Dodson AH, Denby B, Cooper SJ, Hollands RJ (2002) The use of augmented reality, GPS and INS for subsurface data visualization. In: Proceedings of XXII international congress of the FIT, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Feiner S, MacIntyre B, Höllerer T, Webster A (1997) A touring machine: prototyping 3D mobile augmented reality systems for exploring the urban environment. International symposium on wearable computers (ISWC’97), Cambridge, 13–14 Oct 1997Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rekimoto J NaviCam (2001) A palmtop device approach to augmented reality, In: Barfield W, Caudell T (eds) Fundamentals of wearable computers and augmented reality. Laurence Erlbaum Associates Publishers, MahwahGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wagner D, Schmalstieg D (2003) First steps towards handheld augmented reality. In: Proceedings of the 7th international conference on wearable computers (ISWC’03), USA, pp 127–135Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Reitmayr G, Schmalstieg D (2004) Collaborative augmented reality for outdoor navigation and information browsing. In: Proceedings of symposium location based services and telecartography, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Schmalstieg D, Reitmayr G, Schall G, Newman J, Wagner D, Ledermann F, Barakonyi I (2007) Managing complex augmented reality models. In: IEEE computer graphics and applications (CG&A), Special issue on 3D documents, no 4Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Reitinger B, Zach Ch, Schmalstieg D (2007) AR scouting for interactive 3D reconstruction. In: Proceedings of IEEE virtual reality, pp 219–222Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Schall G et al (2007) Handheld geospatial augmented reality using urban 3D models. In: Proceedings of the workshop on mobile spatial Interaction, ACM international conference on human factors in computing systems (CHI2007), San JoseGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bier E, Stone M, Pier K, Buxton W, DeRose T (1993) Toolglass and magic lenses: the see-through interface. In: Proceedings of SIGGRAPH, pp 73–80Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kruijff E, Veas E (2007) Vesp’R—transforming handheld augmented reality. In: Proceedings of international symposium on mixed and augmented reality (ISMAR’07), NaraGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Zhai S, P Milgram, Buxton W (1996) The influence of muscle groups on performance of multiple degree-of-freedom input. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI’96Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Reitmayr G, Drummond T (2006) Going out: robust model-based tracking for outdoor augmented reality. In Proceedings of IEEE ISMAR’06, Santa BarbaraGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kalkofen D, Mendez E, Schmalstieg D (2007) Interactive focus and context visualization for augmented reality. In: Proceedings of international symposium on mixed and augmented reality (ISMAR’07), NaraGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Julier S, Lanzagorta M, Baillo, Y, Rosenblum L, Feiner S, Hollerer T (2000) Information filtering for mobile augmented reality. In Proceedings of ISAR 2000, Munich, 5–6 Oct 2000, pp 3–11Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Fröhlich P, Simon R, Baillie L, Roberts J, Murray-Smith R (2007) Mobile spatial interaction. In: Extended abstracts of CHI2007, conference on human factors in computing systems, San JoséGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerhard Schall
    • 1
    Email author
  • Erick Mendez
    • 1
  • Ernst Kruijff
    • 1
  • Eduardo Veas
    • 1
  • Sebastian Junghanns
    • 2
  • Bernhard Reitinger
    • 3
  • Dieter Schmalstieg
    • 1
  1. 1.Graz University of TechnologyGrazAustria
  2. 2.GRINTEC GmbHGrazAustria
  3. 3.Microsoft PhotogrammetryGrazAustria

Personalised recommendations