Take A Guided VR Tour Of Germany’s Last Industrial Coal Mine

Photogrammetry and volumetric VR preserve every detail of this historic mining operation in Ruhr, Germany.

Available for free via SteamVR, the Realities VR experience takes users on a variety of photorealistic virtual tours through some of the most astonishing locations on Earth. On top of the apps well-curated catalogue, a regular stream of free DLC has teleported us to exotic locations such as Castle Hohenrechberg in southwest Germany, Death Valley in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the Cologne Cathedral in Köln, Germany; all of which captured using state-of-the-art photogrammetry techniques.

Now the team is offering yet another free DLC release, this time taking users 1200 feet below the Earth’s surface.

Available now on SteamVR, the Glückauf! DLC centers around the Prosper Haniel, the last active coal mine in all of Germany. Located in the Ruhr area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, the enormous industrial mine is set to shut down its operations at the end of the year, marking the end of an era in Germany industrial history. Glückauf! immortalizes the underground labyrinth by capturing every small detail for a highly-realistic volumetric VR recreation.

Users will begin their subterranean adventure at the surface of the coal preparation plant before making their way past the coal mixing dome and lamp storage, and entering the underground railroad system. From there, they’ll travel deep below the surface to the jaw-dropping mining site; all the while a veteran miner, referred to simply as ‘Kumpel,’ escorts you through the facility, educating you on the details of the impressive operation.

Capturing data in such hostile conditions was no picnic for the ambitious team of developers, especially when they discovered much of their equipment could prove to be a danger within the volatile environment.

“Glückauf! was definitely one of our most challenging production so far,” states in an official release. “Starting with the fact that none of our equipment is usually allowed in the mine due to risk of triggering mining gas explosions – usually you even have to change your undies to pure cotton ones that don’t make sparks.”

“Only after long negotiations a special permit was given under the condition that we had to be accompanied by a group of firefighters and continuous gas measurements. Add to this the huge scale above and the extreme light conditions & narrowness below ground paired with the short time windows, hot & dusty air and extreme light conditions.”

Realities Glückauf! DLC is available now for free on the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality via SteamVR.

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About the Scout

Former Writer (Kyle Melnick)

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