‘Digital Realities’ refers to methods of visualising a digital object or environment in a more natural and intuitive way, overlaying data, and making it more accessible and relevant. This TIN aims to introduce, promote, and support the use of these different types of digital realities – AR, VR, and MR – in landscape practice.

Image courtesy of THINKlab at the University of Salford, showing their visualization work for the RHS Bridgewater Garden

The Landscape Institute (LI) has published the second edition of its Digital Realities Technical Information Note (TIN), aiming to introduce, promote, and support the use of different visualisation methods by landscape practitioners.

Download TIN 01/22 – Digital Realities (2nd edition) here (PDF, 1.49 MB)

What is digital realities?

Digital realities is the collective term for augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR). These are all methods of visualising a digital object or environment in a more natural and intuitive way, providing the opportunity to overlay data and make the subject easily accessible and relevant.

We also use the term extended reality (XR) to refer to all combined real and virtual environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology and wearables.

AR, VR, and MR offer different solutions, use different hardware and software combinations, and come at various price points. Within each are different levels of functionality, quality, and accuracy. Which is the best option will depend on a consideration of its purpose, the target audience, and price. In some cases, an impression only will be enough; in others, it will be important to have data and geometry at the highest quality and accuracy.

Using digital realities in landscape practice

The LI competency framework recognises the significance of digital realities in landscape. It includes professional competencies such as ‘digital practice’ and links to a range of core competencies, as well as additional competencies including ‘digital technologies’.

To help members understand the benefits of each technique and make an informed decision as to which is best for them and their projects, the LI Digital Practice Group, with the support of Mark Jackson (PlaceJam), has updated our Digital Realities TIN.

Martyn Horne, Technology Lead for the LI Digital Practice Group, commented, ‘This update explains the difference and benefits of each digital reality archetype, and includes examples to demonstrate their current application, or potential application, to landscape architecture, landscape planning, landscape management, and digital placemaking.

‘This document offers a snapshot of a rapidly changing field. Future suggestions for updates from practitioners and third parties are most welcome.’

To get involved in the LI’s digital practice work, please email us at technical@landscapeinstitute.org.

The LI would like to thank the Digital Practice Group – in particular authors Martyn Horne and Mike Shilton, and copyeditor Laura Glover – for all their help in delivering this update.

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