Virtual Skiddaw Public Access

Subject Earth Env

A virtual field trip in the Lake District of the UK.

Welcome to the Virtual Skiddaw download page. This is a resource developed by The Open University which now is freely available to use during the current COVID-19 situation. We initially will keep this free to use until 01 September 2020.

Background and nature of the task

Virtual Skiddaw presents geological fieldwork in a 3D immersive digital landscape created using real world data from part of the northern Lake District in the UK. The experience is focused on the rocks around an outcrop of the Skiddaw granite, and takes the form of an investigation into the metamorphism that has affected these rocks, and the structural features that provide evidence for how the rocks were deformed, around 400 million years ago.

We have used a digital elevation model derived from airborne LiDAR data and terrain imagery to reconstruct the landscape faithfully enough to provide a real sense of presence for the user. The application is based around a 10km x 10km low to medium detail model of the terrain around Skiddaw with overlaid photogrammetry-derived mesh and textual imagery, and augmented with in-built Unity terrain and flora. The sense of immersion is heightened by ambient audio recorded on location, as well as spoken audio for teaching content.

In this 3D environment, you will be able to explore six sites within the Skiddaw landscape where each site is typically no more than 50m x 50m – on the ground or from the air. You will be able to browse through the map overlays, cruise around the whole area, or dip down to visit geological sites for detailed observations on the geology. You will be able to view the rocks at all scales from a field sketch down to a slide under the microscope. In each of the sites, you will be carrying out a number of activities such as sketching rocks, describing hand specimens of rocks, checking the regional context of the sites, contrasting texture and mineralogy of two rock types, sketching exposures and describing structural fabrics and features, and so on.

Duration and pattern of use

You should allow several hours for a full exploration of Virtual Skiddaw, though you can split that time between several visits if you wish. About 3 to 4 hours should be enough to complete the activities and answer the questions. In your first visit, you will require 20–30 minutes to get oriented with the user interface of the application.

Accessing the resource

If you or your organisation wish to access the software, please contact the OpenSTEM Labs and we will arrange this. Once registered you will be able to revisit here and be directed to the download section.

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