We're using the 3D maps of the Jenolan Caves, to create an interactive game for students to explore a virtual representation of the would famous site.

Remember when going on a school excursion meant a trip to the bowling alley? Or, for a really special occasion, perhaps a visit to the local fun park?

Well, things have certainly changed since I was at school.

Today, we’re launching what could be Australia’s biggest (and arguably coolest) school excursion ever. In classrooms around the country, students will set out to explore the spectacular Jenolan caves located in the scenic Blue Mountains.

How will this be possible? They’ll be embarking on their journey in virtual reality. 


A 3D map of the Jenolan Caves, created with our LiDar device, Zebedee.

To create this digital experience, we teamed up with 3P Learning to combine their latest educational resource, IntoScience, with HD panoramic video and 3D models of the Jenolan Caves scanned using our (ahem, award winning), laser mapping technology, Zebedee.

Using their own avatars, students from years 6 to 9 will be able to delve into the natural wonder of the caves, all without leaving the classroom. The Jenolan caves are Australia’s largest and, with elaborate underground structures, offer a rich scientific environment full of learning opportunities.

“It’s exciting to see our cave models now brought to life as a virtual world that students can explore and perform their own scientific investigations in,” said Michael Bruenig from our Digital Productivity and Services Flagship.

Zebedee is the first technology capable of mapping caves with lasers while continuously moving, meaning the 3D models it creates are incredibly detailed and can be produced in only the time it takes to walk (or climb or crawl) through a cave.

The technology is already well-known for mapping other iconic landmarks such as the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance, Queensland’s Fort Lytton, and a little structure you might have heard of known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa  Oh yes, and there was a Boeing 727 too.

So, as much as I enjoyed my school field trips (complete with packed lunch and walkman), I can’t help but feel a teensy bit jealous of today’s students. First stop is the Jenolan Caves, but what’s next? The possibilities are endless. Check it out in this video:

This online 3D educational initiative, funded by the Australian Government, will be officially launched today by the Minister for Communication, Malcolm Turnbull.



  1. can i take the tour?

  2. It is such a pity that the government pans to flood the equally beautiful and scientifically important Cliefden Caves in NSW – see http://www.bookproduction.org/savecliefdencaves/

  3. Fantastic resource for kids to learn from. Well done to the CSIRO team and 3P Learning to come up with this interactive tool. Hopefully it will generate interest to actually visit the cave system and seeing the true wonder of nature!

  4. Reblogged this on Helix @ CSIRO and commented:
    Check out this excursion in virtual reality! CSIRO has partnered with 3P Learning to allow students to explore the elaborate geology of the Jenolan Caves.

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