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This virtual reality visualization laboratory uses active stereo eyeware to make an object rear-projected on a screen look truly three-dimensional. The lab can be experienced at Bureau headquarters in Austin, or at remote locations by special arrangement. The content includes results of Bureau research and presentations of public interest.

Virtual Field Trip: Big Bend area: "Fly" over five contiguous U.S. and Mexican parks to investigate the relationship between vegetation and topography. In this arid region, water is the limiting factor in plant growth. We processed a LANDSAT image to mimic color infrared (so growing plants show in red) and draped it on a 3-D topographic base derived from a digital elevation model (DEM) so that the mountains "pop up" in 3-D. Viewing this VR model, students will discover the relationships between elevation, rainfall, and vegetation. Plants are found both on mountains and along the Rio Grande river bottom.

Edwards aquifer: This VR model will take you on a trip though the prolific Edwards aquifer, the source of water for many important public uses: farming, ranching, drinking water for the people of San Antonio and many more. You'll see the aquifer's connection to the beautiful San Marcos, Comal, and Barton Springs, and the habitat of many living things. Students see the aquifer from both above and below the ground surface and understand how the aquifer connects all these users together.

Exploring for Oil: Students will see the results of Bureau research in oil and gas exploration. They will see underground using seismic, and watch an oil reservoir be depleted through time. We always have a great new model of a reservoir that we are currently working on to see.

LIDAR: The Bureau's state of the art equipment uses a laser to make very detailed maps of the land surface elevation. Take an online field trip with the LIDAR team to their most recently visited exotic locale, and learn how new maps are made.

VIVE: Virtual Imaging and Visualization Environment. A state-of-the-art prortable modular virtual reality laboratory supported by Shell and Hillcrest Foundations. For more information about the VIVE lab, contact Scott Rodgers by e-mail or call 512/471-2949.

Send questions or comments to Sue Hovorka or Sigrid Clift.