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Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Web3D Technology (Web3D), 2019.
Social media in virtual reality is in a high-growth market segment with influential products and services in virtual tourism, remote education, and business meetings. Nevertheless, previous systems have never achieved an online platform which renders a 6DoF mirrored world with geotagged social media in real time. In this paper, we introduce the technical detail behind Geollery.com which reconstructs a mirrored world at two levels of detail. Given a pair of latitude and longitude coordinates, our pipeline streams and caches depth maps, street view panoramas, and building polygons from Google Maps and OpenStreetMap APIs. At a fine level of detail for close-up views, we render textured meshes using adjacent local street views and depth maps. When viewed from afar, we apply projection mappings to 3D geometries extruded from building polygons for a coarse level of detail. In contrast to teleportation, our system allows users to virtually walk through the mirrored world at the street level. Our system integrates geotagged social media from both internal users and external sources such as Twitter, Yelp, and Flicker. We validate our real-time strategies of Geollery.com on various platforms including mobile phones, workstations, and head-mounted displays.