VITASCOPE: Extensible and Scalable 3D Visualization of Simulated Construction Operations
In the domain of operations design and analysis, the ability to see a 3D animation of processes that have been simulated allows for three very important things: 1) The developer of a simulation model can ascertain that there are no errors in the coding (Verification); 2) The experts, field personnel, and decision makers can discover differences between the way they understand the operation and the way the model developer understands it (Validation); and 3) A model can be communicated effectively which, coupled with verification and validation, makes it "credible" and thus used in making decisions. In the case of simulated construction operations, the existent body of knowledge and understanding did not generally permit modeled processes to be accurately visualized in 3D. The purpose of this research was to remedy this situation and find methods of describing animated 3D worlds that show how construction operations modeled using Discrete-Event Simulation were/can be carried out, using simple text statements and references to 3D CAD drawings. The fundamental question the work addressed was how to achieve accurate, dynamic, smooth, and continuous 3D animation of arbitrarily-complex simulated construction processes, based on meager pieces of operational information that can only be communicated when discrete events occur in simulation runs. The end result of this effort is VITASCOPE, an acronym for VIsualizaTion of Simulated Construction OPErations. VITASCOPE is a simple, parametric-text animation description language that is meant to be written out by end-user programmable software such as discrete-event simulation tools. Sequential instructions written in this language allow a computer to create a 3D virtual world that is accurate in time, space, and appearance; and that shows people, machines, and materials interacting as they build constructed facilities.