Illinois State Geological Survey Chooses Virtalis’ GeoVisionary

The First US user of GeoVisionary is the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS). The sale is hot on the heels of the expansion in the US by Virtalis and the opening of its Ohio office. In addition to the initial order for five floating licenses, the ISGS has installed a 16’ x 9’ screen as part of a high-resolution StereoWorks VR suite from Virtalis.

Virtalis, Europe’s leading Virtual Reality (VR) company, developed GeoVisionary 3-D landscape visualizing software in collaboration with the British Geological Survey (BGS). “GeoVisionary is simply stunning in its ability to visualize and interpret massive spatial datasets”, commented Bruce Napier, project leader, British Geological Survey Virtual Field Reconnaissance. Version 1 of GeoVisionary was released last year and Version 1.1, featuring a 3D GUI along with a host of more technical features, is expected to be available by the summer.

The ISGS, a division of the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability (INRS) at the University of Illinois, employs approximately 170 people over a range of geologic disciplines. The ISGS is one of the largest and most technologically advanced of all the US state surveys. Over 10 years ago, the Survey decided to expand its detailed geological mapping program with a goal of developing a fully-computerized, 3-D mapping program.

Don Keefer, Director of the ISGS’ Geologic Mapping and Hydrogeology Center, explained: “Over the past few years, we developed a modular software solution to managing our 3-D mapping efforts. We have developed new logistical and data management solutions and identified several modelling packages that meet our needs. We also needed software that could provide high-resolution visualization of common earth-science data types over the large range in spatial scales in which we work. Most high-resolution visualization applications load everything into RAM and cannot manage large projects. Applications that can handle the large data sets typically provide degraded rendering quality, or they provide limited support for the data types we use. GeoVisionary was developed to view a wide range of earth science data types. It provides high-resolution 3-D and 3-D stereo visualization that is limited only by the resolution of the data. It is highly scalable and is able to provide “fly-through” viewing of mid-continent-scale data sets at full speed. In addition, Virtalis has built linkages between GeoVisionary and ArcGIS, allowing for dynamic updating between the two software packages.”

“We are using GeoVisionary as the 3-D and stereo visualization software for our new INRS Earth Systems Visualization Laboratory. The software pulls disparate mapping data together under one high-resolution 3-D visualization environment, integrates dynamically with a suite of custom tools we’ve already developed for use with ArcGIS and works with logistical and data management solutions already in place. With GeoVisionary and the opening of the INRS Earth Systems Visualization Laboratory on the University of Illinois campus, we are able to provide a host of high-resolution visualization and analysis solutions to a range of earth science research applications.

Illinois State Geological Survey Web Site:
Virtalis Web Site:
GeoVisionary Website:

Photo captions: top, ISGS Site Discussions; bottom, Lake County Boreholes viewed in GeoVisionary