Msc thesis subject: Tangible landscape

At Wageningen Environmental Research, we aim to develop concepts and tools that enable the application of scientific insights and knowledge Landscape Architecture and Landscape Planning practices. One of the new concepts we would like to test in the ‘Tangible Landscape’, developed at the North-Carolina State University.


In short, this concept uses flexible, real 3D models of (parts of) the landscape, in which by adding or abstracting matter (that represent activities such as digging, building, constructing dikes, et cetera) changes are made. By using 3D camera’s these changes are monitored and constitute input for a GIS. Through the GIS computer models (e.g. hydrology, morphology, mass-balances, vegetation) simulate effects of the changes that are projected on the 3d model again. Thus resulting in quick feedback for the designer, enabling optimisation of the preliminary changes.


Our goal is to build a testmodel following the ‘Tangible Landscape’ concept. So getting together and / or developing the necessary hard and software - for a typical Dutch application. After building the model one or more tests - actual design assignments - will be made with the test-setting.
For this we are looking for a geo-information student with a technical background and dito skills who is interested in cooperating with a landscape architecture / land use planning student in this project. We expect a cooperative person, the ability to perform tasks independently under the supervision of WUR staff members and who is enthousiastic about testing the Tangible Landscape concept. The project is open for both a Thesis or Internship.

We Offer

A position at our Wageningen Environmental Research Landscape Architecture Atelier. We will provide you a stimulating working environment and our expertise. The end result of the project will be your report and a (draft) publication that you will co-author.

Further reading

  • Petrasova, A., Harmon, B., Petras, V., Mitasova, H., 2015, Tangible Modeling with Open Source GIS, Springer International Publishing, 135 p. eBook ISBN: 978-3-319-25775-4, Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-319-25773-0.
  • Tangible Landscape videos available on our Youtube channel and pictures on Google+
  • Older TanGeoMS website with many examples
  • Petrasova, A., Harmon, B., Petras, V., Mitasova, H., 2014. GIS-based environmental modeling with tangible interaction and dynamic visualization. In: Ames, D.P., Quinn, N.W.T., Rizzoli, A.E. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 7th International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software, June 15-19, San Diego, California, USA. ISBN: 978-88-9035-744-2
  • Tateosian, L.G., Mitasova, H., Foglemann, B., Harmon, B., Weaver K., and Harmon R.S., 2010, TanGeoMS: Tangible geospatial modeling system, IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (TVCG), 16(6), p. 1605-1612.
  • Mitasova, H., Mitas, L., Ratti, C., Ishii, H., Alonso, J., & Harmon, R. S. (2006). Real-time landscape model interaction using a tangible geospatial modeling environment. Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE, 26(4), 55–63.

At Youtube you will find many videos with examples when you search for “tangible landscape”.

Theme(s): modeling & visualisation