Benny Onrust


MSc thesis topic: Procedural generation and interactive web visualization of natural environments


Interactive 3D visualization of natural environments can help ecologists, policy makers and the broad public in general to better understand, promote and protect both existing and developing environments. The creation and exploration of virtual worlds can be very helpful for this purpose. However, current techniques are not able to generate sound complex natural environments from ecological data for the use of interactive web-based visualizations. In this thesis, we approach the challenge of developing and interactively visualizing in real time ecologically accurate and visually convincing models of complex natural environments over the web. For this, we propose a framework that (i) is able to combine landscape maps and ecological statistical data, translating them to an ecologically sound plant distribution, and (ii) creates a detailed 3D representation of the natural environment and provides for its fully interactive visualization in real-time over the web. The main contributions of this research are a procedural method to generate complete and sound natural environments and a web-based renderer that is able to real-time visualize complex natural environments with their high density and variability of individual organisms. The vegetation model combines and improves techniques from procedural ecosystem generation and neutral landscape modeling. It is able to generate diverse ecological sound plant distribution directly from landscape maps with statistics about coverage and patchiness of plant species. The visualization model uses several existing level-of-detail and illumination techniques to achieve interactive frame rates and improve realism. Validation of the results with ecology experts led us to conclude that our framework provides convincing interactive visualizations of large virtual natural environments.

Thesis report:
As part of my graduation project, I had to write a thesis report that explains the method that I developed to generate my results.

Web3D 2015 conference paper:
A paper has been submitted to and accepted for the Web3D 2015 conference in Heraklion, Greece. The stay and trip to the conference was made possible thanks to the finanical aid of the EEMC faculty and the Universiteitsfonds.

For the Web3D 2015 conference paper, we created a video demo that shows the various results.

WebGL visualization:
Two webGL visualizations were created of two different areas.

The first visualization is of the Paulinapolder.
The second visualization is based on an area generated by an ecological model.

The code developed during my master thesis is also available on github.

The code for the generation of plant distribution.
The code for the webGL rendering.



Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Department of Intelligent Systems
Computer Graphics & Visualization Group
Mekelweg 4
2628 CD Delft
The Netherlands