Thomas Ortner

VRVis Zentrum für Virtual Reality und
Visualisierung Forschungs-GmbH

I am part of the 'Smart Worlds' area at the VRVis Research Center in the group 'Geospatial Rendering'. I am responsible for the development of PRo3D, an interactive 3D visualization tool for planetary scientists in the context of collaborations with ESA and NASA. Further, I also lead the development of TSID, a 3D viewer for tunnel surface inspection and documentation, in collaboration with dibit Messtechnik GmbH. I am also doing my PhD at the Technische Universität Wien combining the two worlds of Visual Analytics and Real-Time Rendering. In addition, I supervise bachelor and master students, who support my research efforts, and I am also experienced in writing grant applications.

Research Interests

3D Geospatial Rendering
Rendering of and interaction with large-scale polygonal data derived from photogrammetric reconstructions or laser scans. Runtime integration of multiscale data from kilometer to sub-milimeter range.
Visual Analytics
Strong interest in domain-specific design of visualizations for exploring, analysing, and interpreting heterogeneous data. Domain experience in: planetary science / geology, urban planning, and tunnel surface documentation.
Integration of spatial and non-spatial data
Efficient and intuive integration to allow users to seamlessly switch between 3D real-time rendering views and 2D visual analysis view, including mutual embedding.
Knowledge Communication
Communication of research results and goals or technical knowledge in oral or written form for audiences with various expertise, including peers, domain experts, customers, or the general public.


2012 - present Ph.D., TU Wien, Vienna, ongoing.
Doctoral Programme in Technical Sciences
2007 - 2008 M.Sc., University of Hull, Kingston upon Hull, Distinction.
Computer Graphics
2006 - 2007 M.Sc., School of Applied Sciences Technikum Vienna, Vienna, Distinction.
Software Engineering
2003 - 2006 B.Sc., School of Applied Sciences Technikum Vienna, Vienna.
Computer Science
1993 - 2001 Matura, Albertus Magnus Gymnasium, Vienna.


2017 - present Project manager, VRVis, Vienna, TSID Viewer/Dibit8.
Extended responsibilities in project planning, design and realization of features, and communication of results regarding the Tunnel Surface Inspection and Documentation (TSID) Viewer in collaboration with Joanneum Research Graz and dibit Messtechnik GmbH in Innsbruck.
2016 - 2018 Functional Programming, VRVis, Vienna.
Planning and realization of functional rewrite of PRo3D and TSID Viewer in F#. Both application had been in development for 7+ years.
2016 - present Project manager, VRVis, Vienna, PRo3D.
Extended responsibilities in project planning, design and realization of features, and communication of results regarding the PRo3D Viewer.
2012 - 2016 Software Engineer & Researcher, VRVis, Vienna, PRo3D
In the context of several projects concerned with the exploration of Mars (Exomars, PRoViDE, MastCamZ) we developed the 3D real-time rendering application PRo3D [4] which allows the exploration of and interaction with high resolution, digitally-reconstructed 3D surfaces provided by Joanneum Research Graz. PRo3D supports interactions for virtual geological annotations, which are already extensively used by domain scientists [4,5,6] and we are also addressing other planetary science use cases.
2012 - 2016 Ph.D. Student, VRVis, Vienna, VISAR - Visual Analytics and Rendering.
This fundamental research project was concerned with the seamless integration of 3D spatial and non-spatial data, by combining 3D real-time visualizations and information visualization views. This integration becomes increasingly relevant in fields, such as, civil engineering, urban planning, or disaster management, to only name a few. We published a conceptual framework [2] and two design studies in the context of 3D visibility analysis [1] and lighting design [3].
2008 - 2012 Software Engineer & Researcher, VRVis, Vienna, Dibit7.
Development of the core visualization component within a tunnel documentation application in collaboration with Dibit Messtechnik GmbH. and Joanneum Research Graz. This involved the out-of-core rendering of and the interaction with large triangulated datasets at interactive frame rates, as well as appropriate visualizations of additional abstract data and domain-specific interaction metaphors [7, 8].
2005–2007 Various Internships, VRVis, Vienna.
(1) Design and implementation of an out-of-core point rendering framework. (2) Supporting migration of a 3D real-time rendering application from VC++ 4.0 to VC++ 6.0. (3) Design and implementation of a mesh splitting algorithm.


3D Real-Time Rendering | Information Visualization & Visual Analytics | Domain Modelling | Virtual Reality | Software Design & Architecture | Functional Programming | Data Science
F# | JavaScript/TypeScript | C# | C++
Aardvark | D3.js | DirectX/OpenGL | HLSL/GLSL | XNA | WPF | .NET | CUDA
English fluent | German native
GIT | JIRA | Confluence | Scrum (no certification) | Latex


[1] Ortner, T, Sorger, J, Steinlechner, H, Hesina, G, Piringer, H, Gröller, E, “Vis-A-Ware: Integrating Spatial and Non-Spatial Visualization for Visibility-Aware Urban Planning”. In: IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 2016 (2016).
[2] Ortner, T, Sorger, J, Piringer, H, Hesina, G, Gröller, E, “Visual Analytics and Rendering for Tunnel Crack Analysis”. In: The Visual Computer 32.6 (2016).
[3] Sorger, J , Ortner, T, Luksch, C, Schwärzler, M, Gröller, E, Piringer, H, “LiteVis: Integrated Visualization for Simulation-Based Decision Support in Lighting Design”. In: IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics / Proceedings of IEEE VAST 2015. (2015).
[4] R. Barnes, S. Gupta, C. Traxler, T. Ortner, A. Bauer, G. Hesina, G. Paar, B. Huber, K. Juhart, L. Fritz, B. Nauschnegg, J.-P. Muller, Y. Tao. In: Earth and Space Science (2018).
[5] M. Balme, E. Robson, R. Barnes, F. Butcher, P. Fawdon, B. Huber, T. Ortner, G. Paar, C. Traxler, J. Bridges, S. Gupta, J. L. Vago “Surface-based 3D measurements of small aeolian bedforms on Mars and implications for estimating ExoMars rover traversability hazards”. In: Planetary and Space Science (2018).
[6] Barnes, R, Gupta, S, Ortner, T, Huber, B, Paar, G, Muller, J, Giordano, M, Willner, K, Hesina, G, Traxler, C, “PRo3D: A tool for high resolution rendering and geological analysis of Martian rover-derived Digital Outcrop Models”. In: Proceedings of AGU 2015 (2015).
[7] Ortner, T, Hesina, G, Kontrus, H, Glatzl, R, “Hochauflösende flächendeckende Dokumentation von Tunneloberflächen”. In: Proceedings of Symposium und Fachmesse für Angewandte Geoinformatik (AGIT 2011), pp. 914–923. (2011).
[8] Ortner, T, Paar, G, Hesina, G, Tobler, R, Nauschnegg, B, “Towards True Underground Infrastructure Surface Documentation”. In: Proceedings of CORP 2010 , pp. 783–792. (2010).