FOSS4G NA 2016

Tangible Landscape

Anna Petrasova, Vaclav Petras, Brendan Harmon, & Helena Mitasova

Tangible Landscape

A tangible user interface powered by open source GIS


An evolution of Illuminating Clay and the Tangible Geospatial Modeling System

Piper, Ben, Carlo Ratti, and Hiroshi Ishii. 2002. “Illuminating Clay: A Tangible Interface with Potential GRASS Applications.” In Proceedings of the Open Source GIS - GRASS Users Conference 2002. Trento, Italy.

L. Tateosian, H. Mitasova, B. A. Harmon, B. Fogleman, K. Weaver, and R. S. Harmon, “TanGeoMS: tangible geospatial modeling system.,” IEEE Trans. Vis. Comput. Graph., vol. 16, no. 6, pp. 1605–12, 2010.

Image source: MIT Media Lab

Tanigble interaction with GIS

With Tangible Landscape you can hold a GIS in your hands - feeling the shape of the earth, sculpting its topography, and directing the flow of water.


Tangible Landscape couples a digital and a physical model through a continuous cycle of 3D scanning, geospatial modeling, and projection

Intuitive scientific modeling with Tangible Landscape

Tangible Landscape is designed to make scientific data, models, and simulations exploratory, engaging, and fun


Visibility analysis


Solar analysis

Solar irradiation and cast shadow


Trail planning

Optimized trail routing between waypoints based on energetics, topography, and cost maps with feedback including trail slopes and viewsheds

Serious gaming

Termite infestation game

Manage the spread of termites across a city by treating city blocks

Serious gaming

Coastal flooding game

Save houses from coastal flooding by building coastal defenses

Open source

Fork us on GitHub

Tangible Landscape plugin for GRASS GIS

GRASS GIS module for importing data from Kinect v2

Tangible Landscape repository on Open Science Framework

Open education

Open source software, open algorithms, open data, and open educational resources

Petras, V., Petrasova, A., Harmon, B., Meentemeyer, R.K., Mitasova, H. Integrating Free and Open Source Solutions into Geospatial Science Education. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. 2015, 4, 942-956. doi:10.3390/ijgi4020942

Set up your own system

Read our book and give it a try