UMBC’s 2018 Facilities Master Plan

Visualizing UMBC’s Future

The IRC created two new visualizations of the UMBC campus for the 2018 Facilities Master Plan presentation to the Board of Regents on March 28, 2018. Both visualizations were generated in real-time from a single 3D model of campus that incorporated new and proposed buildings, as well as reworked landscaping and vegetation. IRC staff, along with an interdisciplinary group of talented undergraduate students from the Visual Arts and Computer Science departments, carefully rebuilt and optimized each element for real-time playback on a 2D screen and in virtual reality.

The visualization provides an overview of how UMBC has grown over the past nine years, as well as shows how new buildings and recreational spaces would fit into and enhance the campus as a whole. It enabled a presentation assistant to fly through UMBC’s campus and click on new buildings, launching a brief video depicting that new building’s interior and notable features. This helped Master Plan presenters communicate to viewers how these new structures would benefit students, foster research, and make the campus more sustainable.

For the second visualization viewers donned a virtual reality headset to look at UMBC from a birds-eye view in true stereoscopic 3D. Many participants at the meeting had never experienced virtual reality before. They were able to walk in and around UMBC’s proposed buildings and experience the campus from a whole new perspective. This project not only resulted in a new model of campus optimized to run on current and future graphics hardware and software, but it also gave the Board of Regents a preview of some of the latest technology that UMBC researchers are working with to tackle tomorrow’s thorniest visualization challenges.

The IRC also worked on earlier Master Plan presentations in 2009 and 2003