© 2017 by Luleå University of Technology

RWTH Aachen University

RWTH Aachen University participates in the Visual3D project through the research group on “Numerical Reservoir Engineering” by Prof. Florian Wellmann. This group develops novel approaches for both modeling and simulation of subsurface processes. In this project, the group contributes software and knowledge on 3-D geological modeling with quantified uncertainties and the access to 3-D visualization infrastructure. These two aspects are described below in more detail.

3D/VR hardware:

Several research groups at RWTH Aachen University are directly involved in the development and facilitation of 3-D visualization infrastructure. In the framework of this project, we specifically aim to make three parts available:


- The Picasso 3-D immersive flipchart:

This system is a stereo back-projection wall with the possibility to enable 3-D visualsiation through polarized projection and 3-D glasses. Navigation in 3-D is possible through the use of a 3-D mouse. It is a small-scale system and therefore suitable for meetings and discussions in small to medium-sized groups

- The Powerwall at the Graduate School ACIES:

This system is similar to the Picasso flipchart in its basic setup, but provides high-resolution 4k projections in 3-D on a large VR wall (5m wide, 1.5 m high). This system is therefore ideal for inspection of complex 3-D models and datasets, as a large amount of detail can be projected and visualized at the same time.

- The AixCAVE:

This system is the highest level 3-D visualization environment that is currently accessible at RWTH. It is a five-sided immersive virtual reality environment with rear projection on 4 walls and the floor through 24 HD active stereo projectors. With a floor size of 25 sqm, it was the largest system with these specifications world-wide at the time of construction (Aug. 2012).


All of these systems operate on the basis of a dedicated Virtual Reality Toolkit (ViSTA), an in-house development by the RWTH research group on “Virtual Reality and Immersive Visualisation” (Prof. Kuhlen). The translation of conventional geological and geophysical datasets for presentation in these environments remains a challenge, but first steps to visualize a 3-D geological model have been successful (see Fig. 1), and we expect further progress for the automation of visualization as an outcome of this project.

Developed and used 3D/4D modelling software:

The research group is developing the open-source, 3-D modeling software GemPy (https://github.com/nre-aachen/GeMpy), which allows fast, implicit model creation from geological input data. It includes support for probabilistic modeling approaches to analyze input parameter uncertainty on the modeling result and allows automated analysis of geological topology. As the 3-D visualization of geological models is essential for their qualitative analysis, but also for the successful collaboration with other scientists, GemPy provides in-built 3D-visualization based on available open-source solutions. In this regard, the package makes use of Visualization Toolkit (VTK) for the visualization of input data, model realizations and, in the future, the direct modification of the input data in 3-D.

Recent/ongoing projects:

- Virtual Reality and Immersive Visualisation

- Automation of visualization of geophsical and geological datasets

Fig. 1: 3-D Visualisation of a geological model of the Perth Basin, Australia, and discussion of mesh quality. © Peter Winandy


Prof. Dr. Florian Wellmann

RWTH Aachen University