Special Issue "Gaming and Geospatial Information"

A special issue of ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information (ISSN 2220-9964).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Assist. Prof. Alenka Poplin
Website
Guest Editor
College of Design, Community and Regional Planning Department, Ames, 50014, IA, USA
Interests: geogames; serious games and games for change; games for civic engagementl; game analytics; big data and games
Assoc. Prof. Dr. David I. Schwartz
Website
Guest Editor
School of Interactive Games and Media (IGM), Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology, GOL 2157, Rochester, New York 14623, NY, USA
Interests: game physics; geogames; game development education;

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Online games, serious games, geogames based on geospatial technologies, and visualization have emerged as a novel form of communication with users/players. They may enhance their ability to think spatially, enable novel principles, and designs of spatial game-based simulations and models that include game mechanics, playfulness, and even enjoyment in their concepts. Such games can be offered on mobile devices as location-based games and are often called geogames. They may involve technologies and concepts such as virtual- and augmented realities, mixed-realities, or other cutting-edge implementations. Space and places with location-based visualizations play an important role in geogames; the visualizations can range from very abstract and imaginary to very specific, based on real-world examples.  

This Special Issue is dedicated to gaming with geographic information. It brings together geographers, GIS professionals, game designers, data scientists, and urban designers and planners. We invite publications that focus on the concepts, fundamental principles of game-play and design, user experience with games based on geographic information technologies, and a variety of application areas in which these games have been implemented including learning, emergency management, urban planning, health, and others.

Assist. Prof. Alenka Poplin
Assoc. Prof. Dr. David I. Schwartz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • serious games
  • online games
  • geographic information technologies
  • virtual- and mixed reality
  • urban games

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Participation, for Whom? The Potential of Gamified Participatory Artefacts in Uncovering Power Relations within Urban Renewal Projects
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9(5), 319; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi9050319 - 12 May 2020
Abstract
When defining participation in urban renewal projects in a political sense, this concept implies the challenging of power relations in each of its dimensions while addressing the need for knowledge, action and consciousness. Knowledge is defined as a resource which affects observable [...] Read more.
When defining participation in urban renewal projects in a political sense, this concept implies the challenging of power relations in each of its dimensions while addressing the need for knowledge, action and consciousness. Knowledge is defined as a resource which affects observable decision making. Action looks at who is involved in the production of such knowledge in order to challenge and shape the political agenda. Consciousness is how the production of knowledge changes the awareness or worldview of those involved, thus shaping the psychological and conceptual boundaries of what is possible. This paper addresses these politics of participation via the use of gamification, and more particularly gamified participatory artefacts. We discuss how a ‘good’ participatory planning process implies rebalancing existing power relations via the redistribution of knowledge, consciousness and actions, and aims to operationalize this ambition through a game. We particularly focus on the urban renewal process of one particular case, namely the Vennestraat—one of the main commercial streets of the city of Genk (BE) and present a three year participatory mapping process that made use of three gamified participatory artefacts (i.e., socio-economic network mapping, gathering mental images and scenario games). After uncovering the complex field of power relations in the entrepreneurial street, we analyze the different types of relations/groups that emerge from this participatory mapping process. The paper concludes with an analytical framework that employs gamified participatory artefacts in order to map and understand power relations and the mechanisms that frame them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gaming and Geospatial Information)
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Open AccessArticle
Minecraft as a Tool for Engaging Children in Urban Planning: A Case Study in Tirol Town, Brazil
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9(3), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi9030170 - 13 Mar 2020
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to explore the potential of Minecraft’s game environment for urban planning with older and younger children in a public school in Tirol town, Brazil. Minecraft is employed as an innovative tool to tackle the present lack of [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to explore the potential of Minecraft’s game environment for urban planning with older and younger children in a public school in Tirol town, Brazil. Minecraft is employed as an innovative tool to tackle the present lack of engagement and involvement of key societal actors such as children and young people in urban planning. Thus, how can games support children to co-design their future city? Which heritage values do they represent graphically in the game environment? Geogames are games that provide a visualization of a real spatial context and in this study, Minecraft is the tool which we use to explore youth engagement. We designed two experiments, which tested Minecraft as a geogame environment for engaging young people in urban planning. These experiments were conducted with children, who emerged as active emancipated actors to bring their values to the planning practice. The playtesting results revealed the potential of Minecraft to keep children engaged in the design workshop, as well as their relevant ludic ability to co-create walkable, green, and interactive places. New research questions arose about the potential of creating a culture of planning among children in order to motivate other social actors to share responsibilities for sustainable development and management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gaming and Geospatial Information)
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Open AccessArticle
Think Spatially With Game Engine
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9(3), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi9030159 - 09 Mar 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Spatial thinking and spatial orientation skills are involved in tasks related to the recognition of landforms, mapping, spatial interpretation, and landscape analysis, and can be developed with specific training. Game engines can facilitate the creation of 3D virtual landforms and provide powerful rendering [...] Read more.
Spatial thinking and spatial orientation skills are involved in tasks related to the recognition of landforms, mapping, spatial interpretation, and landscape analysis, and can be developed with specific training. Game engines can facilitate the creation of 3D virtual landforms and provide powerful rendering engines for the graphical representation of landscapes from a first-person perspective. In the present research, 27 engineering students participated in a workshop in a first-person virtual environment using landforms created with a game engine. The Spatial Thinking Ability Test and the Perspective Taking-Spatial Orientation Test measured improvement in spatial thinking and spatial orientation as a result of this workshop. The gain in spatial thinking (8.31%) is within the range observed in previous research in the field of geography using a web-based GIS strategy (7.31%–10.00%). The gain in Spatial Orientation skill (15.76%) is comparable with previous research using both first-person strategies based in urban virtual environments (14.23%), and Spatial Data Infrastructures (gains between 21.17% and 21.34%). Participants with better self-reported sense of direction had better performance on the spatial orientation test. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gaming and Geospatial Information)
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Open AccessArticle
Behavioural Effects of Spatially Structured Scoring Systems in Location-Based Serious Games—A Case Study in the Context of OpenStreetMap
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9(2), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi9020129 - 22 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Location-based games have become popular in recent years, with Pokémon Go and Ingress being two very prominent examples. Some location-based games, known as Serious Games, go beyond entertainment and serve additional purposes such as data collection. Such games are also found in the [...] Read more.
Location-based games have become popular in recent years, with Pokémon Go and Ingress being two very prominent examples. Some location-based games, known as Serious Games, go beyond entertainment and serve additional purposes such as data collection. Such games are also found in the OpenStreetMap context and playfully enrich the project’s geodatabase. Examples include Kort and StreetComplete. This article examines the role of spatially structured scoring systems as a motivational element. It is analysed how spatial structure in scoring systems is correlated with changes observed in the game behaviour. For this purpose, our study included two groups of subjects who played a modified game based on StreetComplete in a real urban environment. One group played the game with a spatially structured scoring system and the other with a spatially random scoring system. We evaluated different indicators and analysed the players’ GPS trajectories. In addition, the players filled out questionnaires to investigate whether they had become aware of the scoring system they were playing. The results obtained show that players who are confronted with a spatially structured scoring system are more likely to be in areas with high scores, have a longer playing time, walk longer distances and are more willing to take detours. Furthermore, discrepancies between the perception of a possible system in the scoring system and corresponding actions were revealed. The results are informative for game design, but also for a better understanding of how players interact with their geographical context during location-based games. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gaming and Geospatial Information)
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Open AccessArticle
Developing a Serious Game That Supports the Resolution of Social and Ecological Problems in the Toolset Environment of Cities: Skylines
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9(2), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi9020118 - 20 Feb 2020
Abstract
Game engines are not only capable of creating virtual worlds or providing entertainment, but also of modelling actual geographical space and producing solutions that support the process of social participation. This article presents an authorial concept of using the environment of Cities: Skylines [...] Read more.
Game engines are not only capable of creating virtual worlds or providing entertainment, but also of modelling actual geographical space and producing solutions that support the process of social participation. This article presents an authorial concept of using the environment of Cities: Skylines and the C# programming language to automate the process of importing official topographic data into the game engine and developing a prototype of a serious game that supports solving social and ecological problems. The model—developed using digital topographic data, digital terrain models, and CityGML 3D models—enabled the creation of a prototype of a serious game, later endorsed by the residents of the municipality, local authorities, as well as the Ministry of Investment and Economic Development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gaming and Geospatial Information)
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Open AccessArticle
Automatic Geodata Processing Methods for Real-World City Visualizations in Cities: Skylines
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi9010017 - 01 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The city-building game Cities: Skylines simulates urban-related processes in a visually appealing 3D environment and thus offers interesting possibilities for visualizations of real-world places. Such visualizations could be used for presentation, participation, or education projects. However, the creation process of the game model [...] Read more.
The city-building game Cities: Skylines simulates urban-related processes in a visually appealing 3D environment and thus offers interesting possibilities for visualizations of real-world places. Such visualizations could be used for presentation, participation, or education projects. However, the creation process of the game model from geographical data is inaccurate, complicated, and time consuming, thus preventing the wider use of this game for non-entertainment purposes. This paper presents the automatic methods scripted in the Cities: Skylines application programming interface (API) and bundled into a game modification (commonly referred to as a game mod) named GeoSkylines, to create a geographically accurate visualization of real-world places in Cities: Skylines. Based on various geographical data, the presented methods create road and rail networks, tree coverage, water basins, planning zones, buildings, and services. Using these methods, playable models of the cities of Svit (Slovakia) and Olomouc (Czech Republic) were created in the game. The game mod GeoSkylines also provides methods for exporting game objects such as roads, buildings, and zones into a Geographic Information System (GIS) data format that can be processed further. This feature enables the game Cities: Skylines to be utilized as a data collection tool that could be used in redevelopment design projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gaming and Geospatial Information)
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Open AccessArticle
Utilizing A Game Engine for Interactive 3D Topographic Data Visualization
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8(8), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi8080361 - 15 Aug 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Developers have long used game engines for visualizing virtual worlds for players to explore. However, using real-world data in a game engine is always a challenging task, since most game engines have very little support for geospatial data. This paper presents our findings [...] Read more.
Developers have long used game engines for visualizing virtual worlds for players to explore. However, using real-world data in a game engine is always a challenging task, since most game engines have very little support for geospatial data. This paper presents our findings from exploring the Unity3D game engine for visualizing large-scale topographic data from mixed sources of terrestrial laser scanner models and topographic map data. Level of detail (LOD) 3 3D models of two buildings of the Universitas Gadjah Mada campus were obtained using a terrestrial laser scanner converted into the FBX format. Mapbox for Unity was used to provide georeferencing support for the 3D model. Unity3D also used road and place name layers via Mapbox for Unity based on OpenStreetMap (OSM) data. LOD1 buildings were modeled from topographic map data using Mapbox, and 3D models from the terrestrial laser scanner replaced two of these buildings. Building information and attributes, as well as visual appearances, were added to 3D features. The Unity3D game engine provides a rich set of libraries and assets for user interactions, and custom C# scripts were used to provide a bird’s-eye-view mode of 3D zoom, pan, and orbital display. In addition to basic 3D navigation tools, a first-person view of the scene was utilized to enable users to gain a walk-through experience while virtually inspecting the objects on the ground. For a fly-through experience, a drone view was offered to help users inspect objects from the air. The result was a multiplatform 3D visualization capable of displaying 3D models in LOD3, as well as providing user interfaces for exploring the scene using “on the ground” and “from the air” types of first person view interactions. Using the Unity3D game engine to visualize mixed sources of topographic data creates many opportunities to optimize large-scale topographic data use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gaming and Geospatial Information)
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