Thesis subject

MSc thesis topic: Digital Storytelling with Extended Realities (XR) for Geo-Information Science

Digital storytelling is a fairly new concept involving the use of digital tools to tell a story for the purposes of learning, information communication and often for entertainment. Few digital storytelling models exist, specifically for XR-based applications, therefore many turn to the use of models already deployed within all areas of the entertainment industry (films tv shows, computer games, etc.). For example, well-known and established frameworks include Joseph Campbell’s the Hero’s Journey and Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet. Both are widely employed for the creation of engaging plots and storylines – allowing the viewer to feel embodied into the process. Yet, when using XR, the user becomes an active participant rather than a passive observer. This means, these long-standing human-derived models (established prior to XR technologies becoming mainstream) are not suitably tailored for XR-driven storytelling, especially for serious applications - such as within the Geo-Information Science domain.

This project focuses on researching a novel digital storytelling framework for XR-based application (by means of computational techniques) for use within Geo-Information Science. Thus, an investigation is required into existing approaches for digital storytelling, focusing on common reoccurring patterns in existing models for the design of a new digital storytelling framework. The framework will then be tested/evaluated through the development of an XR application.

XR hardware has become more mainstream, largely due to the advancement of modern-day smart phones and affordability of entertainment headset such as the Oculus Quest 2 and HTC Vive. App construction has also been simplified by Game Engine-based Software Development Kits (SDKs), meaning the creation of XR has become almost code-less. This provides suitable opportunity for the development of research-driven XR applications and the testing of XR-based digital storytelling approaches.

Relevance to research/projects

This thesis topic is a collaboration with the Information Technology group (INF) whose expertise/guidance on VR/AR deployment though game engines is required for this project.


  • To review state of the art XR technologies suitable for deployment within Geo-Information Science;
  • To review existing storytelling frameworks for XR in current literatures;
  • To recognise design patterns within existing XR storytelling frameworks and propose a unique XR-focused storytelling framework for XR in Geo-Information Science;
  • Develop an XR application, integrating the storytelling framework, in order to evaluate and test its suitability;
  • Collate end-user testing data and evaluate the effectiveness of the XR application and storytelling framework.


Theme(s): Modelling & visualisation