Virtual Boat for Environmental Education (VBEE)

EPA Grant Number: SU836012
Title: Virtual Boat for Environmental Education (VBEE)
Investigators: Chang, Tiao , Liu, Chang
Current Investigators: Chang, Tiao , Copley, Andrew , Liu, Chang , Bentz, John , Wiseman, Justin , Andre, Nathan , Zhu, Qing , Ozercan, Sertac , Ye, Xin , Fang, Yanhui
Institution: Ohio University - Main Campus
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2011 through August 14, 2012
Project Amount: $14,898
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2011) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Sustainable and Healthy Communities , P3 Challenge Area - Safe and Sustainable Water Resources , P3 Awards , Sustainable and Healthy Communities


The proposed project aims to design a virtual boat that has the capability for sampling water temperature, dissolved oxygen, E. coli, pH, total phosphate, nitrate, and turbidity to estimate the water quality index to gauge the health of Ohio River water. The virtual boat will be designed using the Unity 3D multi-platform and the data obtained from the Boat of Knowledge in Science Classroom (BooKS) at Ohio University and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO). It will be tested and evaluated in science classes of the Athens High School in Athens, Ohio.


The design of the virtual boat based on the available environmental data collected by varied organizations and projects and the immersive computer technology of 3D Unity is highly sustainable in terms of people, prosperity and the planet. Indeed, it will provide opportunities for a group of civil engineering and computer science students at Ohio University to collaboratively develop an innovative tool to increase awareness of protecting Ohio River water for the public in general and high school students in particular.

Expected Results:

The design, a functional virtual boat, will provide high school students and the general public with a tool to review the water quality index at varied locations of the Ohio River and trace sources of pollution in simulated cases of fish kill and pollutant spill. The virtual boat will be designed to patrol along the shoreline of actual chemical and power plants from Marietta to Gallipolis of the Ohio River. The product will be tested, evaluated, and demonstrated in science classes of the Athens High School, Ohio.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 3 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Virtual Boat, VBEE, Dissolved Oxygen, Nitrate, pH, Water Quality Index, GIS, BooKS

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report