Thesis subject

MSc thesis topic: Embodied digital twins of de Speulderbos: remote sensing, drones, and game engines for understanding and communicating environmental information.

Remote sensing provides opportunities to access and model environmental data with increasing precision and through the lens of different sensors. For this project optical 360 cameras and airborne LiDAR are of relevance. Advances in game engines such as Unity allow for integrating and visualizing this data to create embodied experiences, that is, data comes to life using Virtual Reality headsets allowing a user to step into the data rather than seeing it on a computer screen.

In this project, we are we are exploring the integration of different environmentally sensed data sources to create a digital twin of the Speulderbos and experience it through virtual reality. Specifically, we will be integrating 360 photography and videography with high resolution UAV LiDAR data. The goal is to provide educators, researchers, and decision-makers with intuitive and comprehensive access to environmental data as a basis for addressing critical environmental issues.

This project is built on synergies between advances in environmental sensing and modeling and developments in immersive visualization made possible by VR becoming mainstream. Better sensing and advances in data science allow for applying the concept of digital twins, which has a long tradition in engineering sciences, to be applied to more complex and less deterministic natural environments.


One of the strategic initiatives of WUR is the creation and exploration of Digital Twins. GRS is leading efforts to create digital twins for environmental applications. ESG is in the process of establishing a landscape visualization laboratory (WANDER) to facilitate efforts for integrating advances in visualization technologies into environmental applications.



  • Willingness to learn about 360 photography and videography
  • Willingness to learn C# (optional)
  • Background in remote sensing / LiDAR data processing

Theme(s): Sensing & measuring; Human – space interaction