Mississippi RiverWebSM Museum Consortium

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GMSlab logo
Geographic Modeling
Systems Laboratory

Funded by the

NCSA logo National Center for
Supercomputing Applications



The Mississippi RiverWeb Museum Consortium constitutes a major project in the RiverWebSM Program. Originating at NCSA in 1996 RiverWebSM's mission is to leverage emerging computational, visualization, and web technologies to promote inquiry-based learning and public understanding about river system processes. A central objective has been to develop highly interactive Digital River Basin (DRB) learning environments that simulate the interactions between rivers, the land, and life, including human life. Supported by a major NSF since 1998, the Consortium has developed and deployed advanced prootype DRB's at each of the partner institutions.

Visitors at the DRB
Common Display tools

Digital River Basin in a Nutshell

The DRB's currently deployed in the partner museums enable learners to explore river system characteristics and behaviors across several scales. It provides multiple, independent views into the digitally represented river and adjoining land. For example: channel, floodplain; over/on/under the surface.

Intuitive visitor interfaces and tools facilitate a rich variety of pathways through which learners can navigate through and interact with the underlying scientific data. Embedded in the existing DRB is a comprehensive set of data, experiences, and interactions. It serves as a prototype for a naturalistic experience of virtual environments, blending familiar concepts of mapping and gaming technologies to create an intuitive means for exploring a landscape unconstrained by physical bounds of space and time.

The University of Illinois' Role in the Consortium

As the technical lead in the Consortium, NCSA and the University of Illinois' Geographic Modeling Systems Laboratory (‡www.gis.uiuc.edu) (GMSlab) collaborated closely with its museum partners in all aspects of DRB design, prototyping, testing, and deployment throughout the project. NCSA-GMSlab contributions included:

  • Exhibit conceptualization, design, prototyping and evaluation
  • Content integration
  • Hardware, software, graphics, and data specifications
  • Interactive display, tool, and interface development and testing
  • Computational modeling of dynamic processes underlying visitor activities
  • Data visualization of river basin features and processes
  • System integration, deployment, and documentation
  • Consortium web site development.


Console view

© 2003 University of Illinois Board of Trustees
Last modified: July 10, 2003