Three-Dimensional Enablement of Place-Based, Pandemic Behaviors

S. Bagul, D. Laefer

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Harvesting usable and meaningful disaster-related, spatio-temporal data at a highly granular level poses major challenges in its cleaning and aggregation. This paper presents a strategy related to those challenges with respect to individual behavior near COVID-19 laden healthcare facilities. This is done to enable the visualizing of egress behavior data as interactive, three-dimensional (3D) scenes to investigate human behavior patterns regarding touch-based, disease transmission. Therefore, the aim is to demonstrate how this concept of 3D epidemiology may provide new mechanisms to understand the relative risk and exposure prevalence for data analysis. This paper demonstrates 3D enablement of disaster-related field data through use of first-hand observations of 1,936 individuals egressing New York City healthcare facilities during the onset of COVID-19 in the Spring of 2020. The observations capture egress behavior in terms of where people go (e.g. coffee shop, Subway) and how they physically interact with the surroundings (i.e. what they touch and how long they remain). This paper introduces a mechanism for automated extraction and 3D visualization of such data in Potree, an open-source Web Graphics Library (WebGL) point cloud viewer. Distinctive vertex shaders are used to distinguish specific destination selection and behavioral patterns (e.g. personal protective equipment usage). Two-dimensional heatmaps are paired with 3D scenes to demonstrate the potential of using 3D visualization of spatio-temporal patterns for visualizing disease transmission potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-28
Number of pages8
JournalISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Issue number4/W2-2022
StatePublished - Oct 14 2022
Event17th 3D GeoInfo Conference, 3DGeoInfo 2022 - Sydney, Australia
Duration: Oct 19 2022Oct 21 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Citizen Science
  • Egress Behavior
  • Geospatial
  • LiDAR
  • Potree
  • three-dimensional epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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