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Scientific Journal of Earth Science
June 2014, Volume 4, Issue 2, PP.140-145
Design and Implementation of 3D Virtual
——A Case Study of Shandong JianZhu University
Hao Liu
, Zimin Zhang
, Ying Zhou

1. School of Transportation Engineering, Shandong Jianzhu University, Shandong 250101, China
2. Department of Civil Engineering, Shandong Jianzhu University, Shandong 250101, China
Three-dimensional virtual campus is a hot shot in current digital campus construction, and will become a new platform to support
campus information management in the future. Thematic data involved in three - dimensional virtual campus also with many
layers, complex structure and difficult construction. The paper analyses the current techniques of three-dimensional modeling
systematically, especially the accuracy of model and the appropriate spatial scale. Selected a modeling program meets the virtual
campus and designed the acquisition and integration methods of the thematic data layers for three-dimensional virtual campus,
formed technical processes of building a three-dimensional virtual campus. We took Shandong Jianzhu University as a case three-
dimensional modeled architecture, the Vegetation and water, transportation and underground pipelines and other monomers
respectively. By integrating thematic layers and attribute information created a three-dimensional virtual campus of Shandong
Jianzhu University, verified the feasibility of the methods proposed and the technical processes.
Keywords: 3D Virtual Campus; 3D Modeling; 3D Virtual Environment; Virtual Reality
Since the basic idea of virtual reality proposed in 1965 virtual reality technology has been rapid developed. U.S. first
make use of VR technology in the military field; Britain in a leading position in the parallel processing, applied
research and auxiliary equipment design in Europe; Japan targeted the construction of large-scale virtual reality
knowledge-base and virtual reality games. In China, the field of virtual reality is still in the exploration and technical
track stage, some domestic colleges and universities have also established a virtual reality system or a virtual campus
but did not get good practical effect. Virtual campus construction overall still remain in the original software and
hardware construction and there’s no substantial breakthrough. The research and application based on three-
dimensional virtual reality campus has great potential. Construction of virtual campus in foreign countries has
achieved virtualized completely while in China it generally dependent on physical campus. On the construction of
digital campus in foreign countries focuses on open educational management while the current focus in domestic is
on campus cultural awareness and 2D and 3D interface display.
Campus as an important part of urban culture, it
plays an important role in building an ecological city, reflecting the geographical features and heritage campus
Culture Root. To build a harmonious coexistence between man and nature and picturesque campus environment with
a profound cultural heritage has become the primary target in planning and construction of campus. Meanwhile the
digital campus is an important part of the digital city. Many universities have established their campus geographic
information system (GIS) along with the widely adoption of information technologies, which have played an
important role in the campus management. These systems are usually two-dimensional, and have difficulty to depict
the campus truly and intuitively despite of their useful functions. With the spread of virtual geographic environment
technology, 3D GIS and virtual realistic techniques are used more and more extensively in campus GIS. In other
countries the earlier VRGIS system is the Georgia Institute of Technology’s campus GIS. Its supporter and
developer Faust also described a perfect campus with characteristics that VRGIS should have.
The 3D scene

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replaces the abstract symbols of traditional map with the view of 3D features and terrain, so that the map goes
beyond the original and traditional category of geography space information. The 3D virtual campus system making
a vivid view of the campus scene provides a 3D platform for digital campus. The 3D campus model can reappear the
whole campus in computers virtually and inside which we can observe the outlook of campus buildings, examine the
layout and space design.
The system provides a scientific and simple visual human-computer-interaction platform
for the campus management and service.

Modelling natural and artificial features in campus is an important foundational work of 3D virtual campus. At
present, several methods are developed and utilized with the help of modern survey and map technique. They are
different in the quality and accuracy of resulted model, as well as the suitable scope.
2.1 The Digital Photogrammetric Technique
Using the digital photogrammetric technique has significant advantages with the characteristics of perfect accuracy
and high modelling speed especially suitable for wide-range 3D modelling.
For example, Xiaojun Cheng and Zhu
Li from Tongji University once made the 3D model for a campus and its periphery utilizing this method. However
this method is more applicable to a wider range of three-dimensional modelling such as the establishment of digital
city. It is difficult to use in establishing a three-dimensional model of the campus because the high price of the
system equipment.
2.2 The Laser Scanning Technique
With the laser scanning technique, original multi-view point cloud data of different building surfaces are obtained by
laser scanning, and further matched and filtered. Get the point cloud data required for three-dimensional modelling
of buildings surface. Then make a three-dimensional model of the building according to each separate part of the
building with the point cloud data processed.
A case is the digital campus of Tsinghua University, which is
implemented by the Earth Space Information Institution of the Civil Engineering Department. In this work, a laser
scanner with huge inclination angle is used to scan the campus from the sky then the 3D point cloud data of
buildings and terrain are obtained. Processing and analysis the buildings’ and terrain’s three-dimensional point cloud
data obtained, Sketching the wire frames of buildings, rendering the model after attach the material, then forming a
three-dimensional model.
However when the techniques used in three-dimensional modelling the campus the fine
is not enough, and the side texture is costly and difficult to obtain comprehensive.
2.3 Using 3D GI S Softwares
With the development of digital city, 3D GIS have become a hotspot of GIS. Some GIS software have provided a
series of 3D modelling modules suitable for different applications, such as modelling earth's surface scene,
modelling the cities and modelling the geologic structures.
In these softwares, 3D models are usually established
by stretching according to 2D profile lines and DEM. Therefore, this method is suitable for the rapid modelling of
features in brief, for example the building box models, but it is difficult to the features with complicated surfaces.
2.4 3D Modelling Software
Presently the 3D modelling softwares are very mature. We can make very vivid feature models and accurately
express the materials and fine structures of features using them. The three-dimensional model we get is close to
reality completely. Especially when making the models of some irregular structure (such as bridge, arbour, dome and
tower-like buildings) and natural features (such as tree and lake) this method has obvious advantage. Three-
dimensional software has a lot of ancillary facilities model, such as trees, green belts, single building, etc.
simplifying the workload of the modelling greatly.

The area of campus is small and the features of campus are usually complicated such as roads, apartments,

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playgrounds, infrastructure, landscape, etc. but the accuracy requirement of models is high. Therefore it is reasonable
to select 3D modelling software to build virtual campus. In this case, 3Ds MAX is utilized to make 3D models and
paste the corresponding texture on the corresponding building model. The GIS software ArcGIS is used as the 3D
scene integration platform.
3.1 Technique Process
3D virtual campus consists of multiple information layers, the key layers in which include 3D feature models, DEM
and image. In addition, 2D vector layers can also be overlaid according to requirements. Campus plan and design
maps are the important data sources to 3D feature modelling. DEM and image layers constitute the 3D scene model
together. According to these characteristics, a technique process for implementation of 3D virtual campus is
designed as shown in figure 1.
1) Obtain and process data. Main data obtained include the plan map, high resolution images, the contour line map or
DEM, and related attribute data of features, for example the name, age and accommodated departments of a building.
From the plan map, some feature layers are abstracted including buildings, water and vegetation, transportation
facilities and underground pipelines.
2) Make feature models. The 3D structure models of abstracted features are built respectively according to feature
layers with the 3D modelling software. Then take pictures of different monomers facade with a camera. After image
processing and cutting, form the texture about size of 128×128 or 256×256. Then map onto the Monomer structure
model. Finally set uniform lighting for all feature model for rendering.
3) Make 3D landscape model. Take use of scene integrate software to integrate the campus’ image and DEM and
create a three-dimensional model of the campus landscape.
4) Create attribute database to collect information on campus attribute corresponding to each single layer and give
them a unified coding. Establish the campus’ attribute information database with scene integrate software.
5) Integrate 3D virtual campus. Integration the feature model and 3D landscape models as well as attribute
information to constitute a three-dimensional virtual campus. The feature models with independent elevation
information can be added on the 3D scene model as independent layers directly, otherwise it will as the form of a
floating layer added on the 3D scene model. Feature models are associated with attribute information by consistent
3.2 Modelling Features
1) Building. The buildings are the main body of 3D virtual campus with the largest workload. In order to achieve a
better realistic effect, intensive modelling method should be adopted when process buildings. All structure surfaces
bigger than 0.5 meters should be modelled while others can be expressed by texture pictures. All the texture pictures
Image DEM
Layer Extraction
Integrate Integrate

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are real view photographs, and processed by colour balance and stain removal. Arcuate building’s wall requires the
use of projection mapping, otherwise the textures will be deformed. It will not achieve the desired results.
2a is an example of a building’s 3D model generated with the method above.
2) Transportation facilities. The transportation facilities in campus mainly include sidewalk, roadway, signpost,
street lamp and stand hall, etc. The main body of transportation models is sidewalk and roadway. For a more realistic
expression and reflect of the different functions of the road, universal texture images should be combined with
texture pictures from real view photographs when select the materials and textures for the road surface. Select or
make a high degree of similarity with the actual materials as texture. For other facilities, 3D symbols can be used to
express them. For the key sections, create realistic models based on the actual style. Figure 2b gives a road model
3) Vegetation and water. Vegetation includes forest, wayside green trees and independent trees such as ancient trees
and scenery trees. The count of the patches of a 3D tree fine model is very large generally from thousands to ten-
thousands. To simplify the modelling method can use cross-patch form, the model just need several surface and the
shape of the tree can be expressed by textures. It is suitable to use the simplified modelling method when modelling
the forest and wayside trees, the cropping patterns can be piece and rows planted. To the scenery trees and ancient
trees a fractal method is utilized to establish the fine models. We can select similar trees from the model database, or
use other method to create tree models manually. Additionally, the three-dimensional modelling capabilities of
ArcGIS can further simplify the process by the method chip planted and rows planted. The specific method is render
two-dimensional layer of vegetation with the selected trees in the form of a three-dimensional model of symbols. For
the lawn and water, patches with texture are used to express them. Figure 2c a combination of a simplified and fine
model of trees.
4) Underground pipeline. Build a three-dimensional model of the underground pipe network can help to manage the
pipelines and ancillary facilities as well as planning and design of new pipeline in campus greatly. Limited by the
data the case study only modelled the water supply network for the campus, focused on the supply line and its
interface. Figure 2d is a part of the pipeline model created.


3.3 I ntegration of 3D Virtual Campus
ArcGIS is one of the most extremely perfect geographic information platforms, which also provides a three-
dimensional geographic information features and software, including ArcScene and ArcGlobe. ArcScene is suitable
for three-dimensional modelling the small areas, such as a campus and ArcGlobe is applicable to a wide range of

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area such as city, region and so on. In ArcScene, a three-dimensional scene usually consists of three parts, terrain,
images, models and vector layers. Terrain can be the TIN or raster format providing ground elevation information
for other layers as the basic layer. Superimpose terrain layer on the image to obtain the elevation data for each pixel
and then present real surface view. Model and vector layers are used to express a variety of surface features. They
can determine their placement height with the Z coordinate values stored or superimpose to place on the terrain layer.
In addition, we can also integrate the attribute information of the features with the model and vector graphics by
associating operation. Besides the creation of three-dimensional scene, ArcScene also offers a lot of three-
dimensional manipulation and analysis functions including vertical stretch the layer, three-dimensional animation
production and playback, scene’s backgrounds and lighting effects settings and so on.
The software ArcScene is selected to integrating the 3D virtual campus. Firstly, overlay the campus images onto the
DEM as a floating layer. DEM acts as the original elevation source to provide the heights for each pixel of the
images. Then integrate the feature models onto the scene model as overlay-layers one by one. As the each feature
model consists a elevation information, it can display on the landscape model independently.
It is necessary for the feature’s attribute information to get a unified coding in order to support the management and
multi-user concurrent operation of the spatial data.
As showed in Figure 3 the code designed comprises 6 digits.
The first two digits delegate the type of features, such as JZ represents the buildings. The last four digits stand for the
order code which increases continuously along with the data input sequence, such as JZ0003 stands for the third
inputted building.

According to the coding rule above, a corresponding code is added to the attribute record and the feature model at
the same time. Then take the use of attribute associated function to establish the correspondence between models and
attribute. In this way corresponding attribute information can be found when check the model, and model will be
selected when check through the corresponding attribute.
3.4 The Results Demonstrate
The designed Shandong Jianzhu University’s three-dimensional virtual campus to achieve a information inquiry
function when a Feature selected as goals in the map, the basic information about the target will displayed in the GIS
interface. Furthermore it can also inquiry when enter the destination information via a query window. The results
Queried will become highlighted feature goals in the figure. The 3D virtual campus for Shandong Jianzhu University

Type Code
(two digits)
Order code
(four digits)
Building: JZ
Water: ST
Underground pipeline: GW
Vegetation: ZB
Transportation facilities: JT

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is created based on the work above. Figure 4a gives a scene of the teaching zone, the layer integrated include DEM,
images and feature (buildings, meadows, roads and vegetation, etc.) models respectively from bottom to top. Fig.4b
demonstrates the search functions about the building attribute information. The attributes and photographs of buildings
related with the 3D models by codes, therefore users can achieve bi-direction data query. In addition, the transparency
of each surface layer can be adjusted to show both underground and surface models at the same time.
THE construction of three-dimensional virtual campus is a long and arduous systematic project. The paper studied
the main technical processes and key technologies used in three-dimensional model of the campus and the process of
system construction. Designed and implemented a three-dimensional virtual campus of Shandong Jianzhu University
and achieved satisfactory test effect. However cause technical conditions and restrictions of raw data, the present
work remains to be further improved. To develop and improve the three-dimensional virtual campus system further
following work is also needed: (1) Improve the sophistication of the campus’ three-dimensional model and achieve
the building interior three-dimensional inquiry function and the roaming function; (2) Integrate with the existing
digital campus’ information technology functions so that lots of campus services and management functions can be
ported to the three-dimensional virtual environment.
The research work was supported by Shandong Province Natural Science Foundation under Grant No.
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Hao Liu (1991-) female, han nationality,
master, research field: Traffic GIS
technology and applications, Shandong
Jianzhu University.

Zimin Zhang (1976-) male, han nationality, doctor, main
research field: Emergency simulation and digital city etc. Email:
Ying Zhou (1977-) female, han nationality, master, research
field: Economic Geography and digital city, Shandong Jianzhu