Battlefield Detectives: Waterloo

Itv commissioned the University of Salford (UoS) and FusionGFX to create a digital interactive model, or virtual environment, of the battlefield at Waterloo for The History Channels Battlefield Detectives, Waterloo, documentary.

The documentary filmed the making of the virtual environment and its use by an historian to interpret the battle. This included the Hougamont Farm house, existing and non-extant surrounding buildings, and the topology of the neighbouring fields that were in line of sight.

ITV Logo
Logo The History Channel
Logo of University of Salford
Photograph of Hougamont Farm House

Onsite survey

  • Performed a 3D LiDAR survey
  • Photographed the buildings and used  photogrammetry to create 3D models
Off-site processing
  • Converted LiDAR point cloud data into a 3D topology model.
  • Georeferenced buildings, walls and trees

Off-site development

  • Developed the real-time 3D interactive virtual environment(VE).
  • Configured the VE, to be used in the University of Salford’s CAVE

Filming and interaction

  • Installed the interactive content in the CAVE at Salford.
  • Fitted the historian with tracking and haptic devices.
  • Monitored as ITV filmed him walking around inside the model
    • pointing out ‘line of sight’ through windows
    • soldiers point of view through ‘loop holes’ in the walls surrounding the grounds.


What is a Virtual Reality (VR) CAVE

CAVE: CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment.
A CAVE is typically a cube shaped space where computer graphics may be displayed/projected across the ceiling, walls and floor.
The person in the CAVE wears  a head tracker which captures their position and orientation as they move and look around the space. The computer graphics then adjust to their current position and orientation ensuring that the virtual environment displays the correct perspective.
Stereoscopic glasses are also worn which gives three-dimensional depth to the environment.

University of Salfords CAVE

The CAVE used at University of Salford was a 3m x 3m x 2.5m space with three walls being rear projected and the floor projected upon from above.
The historian used haptic gloves to interact with the virtual environment.
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