First Assessment Results of Surveying Engineering Labs in Immersive and Interactive Virtual Reality

Dimitrios Bolkas, Jeffrey D. Chiampi, Joseph Fioti, Donovan Gaffney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Technological advancements in virtual reality have opened the door for widespread dissemination and application in engineering education. In surveying engineering, outdoor labs are essential, because they offer great means for experiential learning and preparation for real applications. However, challenges related to weather, inaccessibility to sites, transportation costs, and liability reduce time spent with instruments, and limit comprehension of surveying procedures and preparedness for the job market. Through virtual reality, we can create realistic surveying scenarios that are difficult to implement in practice, such as surveying in cities, at construction sites, and in different terrain scenarios. In addition, virtual reality can be used to support remote and online learning. This paper presents the thorough implementation of virtual reality labs in a surveying engineering first-year class. Technical feedback showed that surveying labs were recreated with a high level of fidelity, which is important to transfer skills learned in virtual reality to the real environment. Students stated that virtual reality gave them more incentives to learn, added to the fun of learning, and improved their overall learning experience. Furthermore, students indicated that virtual reality labs helped them understand surveying procedures and the operation of instruments, and they considered virtual labs to be a useful tool for preparation for physical labs. Pedagogical assessments using grades from previous years showed that the virtual reality labs enhanced student learning. Barriers of virtual reality, such as nausea and motion sickness, limit their extensive use. Despite a few negatives, virtual reality offers viable solutions to challenges in surveying engineering education, with the potential for further development and integration in other surveying courses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04021028
JournalJournal of Surveying Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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