Crowdsourcing and virtual reality applications for peacekeeping: study cases in Mogadishu and Tripoli

Room: Auditorium A

Sunday, 09:30
Duration: 20 minutes (plus Q&A)


video on media.ccc.de


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  • Michael Montani (United Nations Global Service Center / UN Mappers)

The United Nations Global Service Center (UNGSC) is developing Virtual Reality applications utilizing OpenStreetMap data. Through a Virtual Reality (VR) pilot project, UNGSC aims to provide UN peacekeepers on the field with 3D digital replicas of the cities in which they are operating, building a sandbox that enhances operational planning with simulations. In order to develop such applications, OpenStreetMap buildings are collaboratively edited, validated and ingested. Field mapping and street-level imagery are also extremely important to add details to the rendered buildings. There could be the possibility to organise a live demo through VR headset.


The United Nations Global Service Center (UNGSC) is developing Virtual Reality (VR) applications utilizing OpenStreetMap data. Through the Virtual Operation Center (VOC) pilot project, UNGSC aims to provide UN peacekeepers on the field with 3D digital replicas of the cities in which they are operating, building a sandbox that enhances operational planning with simulations. Under the umbrella of the UN Mappers community, the areas of interest get mapped by means of Tasking Manager projects. Differently from other building mapping campaigns, those are different, as higher quality of the footprints is needed, as well as better placement at the ground floor level and understanding of tall buildings. Furthermore mapping can be complemented with field mapping with street-level imagery as well as smartphone applications, in order to add details on the buildings characteristics as height, levels, roof shape, color and material. After validation of all the edited data, the buildings are ingested into Virtual Reality software development tools as ArcGIS CityEngine and Unity to develop the sandbox application accessible through VR headset. Buildings get eventually rendered utilizing OSM tags which define the 3D model of each object. The activity has been already tested and developed in Mogadishu, Somalia, and Tripoli, Libya, where the mapping took place engaging with the local communities (OSM Somalia and OSM Libya). At the end of the talk, there could be the possibility to organise a live demo through VR headset.