About Us:

The Fossett Laboratory for Virtual Planetary Exploration is an innovative facility for teaching and research managed by the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences and housed in Rudolph Hall. In the Fossett Lab we collect, analyze, visualize, and explore three dimensional data from the atomic to the planetary scale. To do so, we use traditional and UAV (“drone”) photography, multi-spectral imaging, and LIDAR; remotely-sensed planetary data; photogrammetry; and Microsoft’s HoloLens Augmented Reality (AR) platform. We collaborate with faculty across Washington University to collect and analyze geospatial data and to incorporate AR into their teaching and scholarship.

For more information about our services please contact Phil Skemer (Director of the Fossett Lab) or Bill Winston (Geospatial Technology Specialist).

Recent projects include:

OnSight HoloLens app developed by NASA/JPL in collaboration with Microsoft
  • Building augmented reality phase diagrams with Mike Krawczynski (EEPS)
  • Mapping the Johnson Shut-ins bedrock river channel with Claire Masteller (EEPS)
  • Indonesia slow loris habitat with Leslie Paige and Emily Wroblewski (Anthropology)
  • LIDAR image analysis of silk road structures in Uzbekistan with Michael Frachetti (Anthropology)
  • Confluence farm landscapes with Eric Ellingsen/Meghan Kirkwood (Sam Fox)
  • Visualization and comparison of crystal structures for teaching mineralogy
  • Construction of outcrop scale (meters to kilometers) holographic models for visualizing 3D geologic structures
  • Construction of holographic models of minerals from the Rudolph Collection
Screenshot of the Virtual Earth app in Microsoft Hololens

In the press

(most recent first)

Augmented reality allows students to practice Italian in a virtual classroom

Experiencing architecture in augmented reality

GeoXplorer in Ars Technica

GeoXplorer in the EPS departmental news and the uses of GeoXplorer for hybrid learning

Blog post about the iOS and Android GeoXplorer application from WUSTL Center for Teaching and Learning.

Listen to Martin Pratt and Alex Boghosian be interviewed on The Versatilist podcast.

Boghosian, A.L., Pratt, M.J., Becker, M.K., Cordero, S.I., Dhakal, T., Kingslake, J., Locke, C.D., Tinto, K.J. and Bell, R.E. (2019), Inside the ice shelf: using augmented reality to visualise 3D lidar and radar data of Antarctica. Photogram Rec, 34: 346-364. doi:10.1111/phor.12298

With graduate student Amanda Price, Grand Prize winner of NASA’s 2019 Data Visualization and Storytelling Competition. Video.

Virtual Reality Comes to the Classroom in The Chronicle of Higher Education

The latest from the Fossett Lab in Washington University’s The Ampersand

The Fossett Lab being used in the classroom from Inside Higher Ed

Read about the Fossett Lab in Washington University’s The Source