The purpose of this white paper is to demonstrate the utility of Immersive Internettechnologies, including Virtual Worlds, for accomplishing the mission goals of theNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The paper will seek todemonstrate the value of the technology for improving NOAA’s education andoutreach activities, streamlining and reducing cost in our existing businessprocesses, as well as fostering a sense of corporate community and innovation toguide the agency through the next century. The Immersive Internet combines 3-D Internet technology with directcommunications and social networking to produce a new and cost-effectiveenvironment for learning and business applications. This environment facilitatesinstant, sometimes spontaneous, collaboration and interaction, which allowparticipants to take advantage of each other’s unique perspectives and input tounderstand complex issues and solve problems. The business and technicalnetworks that result can be an ongoing resource for future organizational problemsolving.NOAA has its own virtual space on a technology platform called
(http://secondlife.com/). This first NOAA exploration of Virtual Worlds andImmersive Internet started as a way to expand and promote OAR’s Earth SystemResearch Laboratory exhibit,
Science on a Sphere
. The virtual
Science on a Sphere
used the same visualizations and data as the real world Spheres but allowed accessto people who may not have been able to get to one of the real world installations.In addition to the virtual Island on Second Life, NOAA has also expanded its reachinto more mainstream websites, such as YouTube through the use of a virtualtechnology called
. Machinima uses the 3-D rendering capabilities of Virtual Worlds and combines it with a video editing functionality to create machinecinema or machinima.
Why Immersive Internet and Virtual Worlds?
First, and most importantly, Immersive Internet technology is cheaper and moreeffective than many existing tools NOAA currently uses to support its missionfunctions.Secondly, NOAA has already made an initial investment in development time andhuman resources to create a Virtual World. Although this is not a justification forcontinued expenditure per se, the expertise gained will allow for a more rapiddevelopment cycle and a quicker return on investment in the future.3 |Page