Mission Statement

Earth Science research and education increasingly demand the integration of geospatial datasets to observe and model natural phenomena. To better understand these datasets advanced visualization techniques and technologies are necessary.


To meet this challenge, Harvard University, The Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences and the Structural Geology & Earth Resources Group have created The Visualization Research & Teaching Laboratory. (follow this link)


The Visualization Research & Teaching Laboratory (Viz Lab) is located on the second floor of the Geology Museum at 24 Oxford Street. (follow directions link to pdf)


The primary facility for the Viz Lab is the Ultra High Resolution Science Observatory located in room 220. Supporting this facility are the primary machine room GEO 218 and the research and support lab GEO 216. (add pictures of the room)


Within the lab’s research mandate our primary activity is supporting the on-going research of the Structural Geology & Earth Resources Group as they investigate sub-surface geological structures through seismic data analysis and visualization. 


The Structural Geology & Earth Resources Group investigates the nature of faults, fractures, and fault-related folds in the Earth’s crust with applications to energy systems, earthquake hazards assessment, and regional tectonics.  For more information about the group and graduate study opportunities follow this link.



We are also supporting other research groups across a range of Faculty of Arts & Sciences programs and departments, including:


The Giza Project.

The Giza Project, an international collaboration based at Harvard University, aims to assemble and provide access to all archaeological records about the most famous site in the world: the Pyramids, surrounding cemeteries, and settlements of Giza, Egypt. We are building interactive and VR based models of many of the important structures on the Giza Plateau from the period of the Old Kingdom. (Picture & link)



The French Language VR Project.

Virtual reality narratives in foreign language pedagogy. We are testing the hypothesis that virtual reality will allow language learners to have perceptual, empathetic, and culturally immersive experiences in multiple sensory modalities (visual, auditory, tactile, etc.) that will enhance their vision, perceived value of language and culture learning, and willingness to communicate. To do this we are constructing and evaluating parts of the current French language curriculum in Virtual reality. (Picture & link) Visualization Lab in use for Research


Virtual Harvard. We are currently building an experimental virtual representation of Harvard University. Using various AR & VR technologies along side state-of-the-art Lidar scanning we are building high resolution models of some of the oldest buildings at Harvard with a goal of connecting these virtual models to real-life infrastructure for better conservation, restoration, IT & facilities management and virtually touring. (Picture & link)



On the teaching side of our mandate we are currently supporting the following courses (Spring 2019): 


SPU 31: Energy Resources & The Environment  (Pictures & link)


EPS 272 : Topics in Structural Geology  (Pictures & link)


FRENCH  II : Beginning French II: Exploring Parisian Life and Identity  (Pictures & link)


FRENCH 61C : The New Wave: Reinventing French Cinema  (Pictures & link)


TDM 168L : Tools for Virtual and Real Perceptions  (Pictures & link)

EW 20 Expository Writing 20 : Journey to Mars (Pictures & link)

Soc World 38 Pyramid Schemes : The Archaeological History of Ancient Egypt  (Pictures & link)