Introduction:

Welcome to the CONVR 2004 Programme!

This year we are pleased to organise the 4th Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual Reality at ADETTI, a research centre of ISCTE, and at the Department of Information Sciences and Technologies of ISCTE, a public university institute located in Lisbon, Portugal.

Lisbon is a lovely river-side city close to the Atlantic Ocean coast line and the World Heritage Borough of Sintra, made famous by Lord Byron and Eça de Queiroz.

The first CONVR2000 conference was held at Teesside, UK, the CONVR2001 edition in Chalmers, Sweden and the third Conference at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. ADETTI/ISCTE takes the opportunity to host the fourth CONVR conference, a rich international forum for research and debate on the current initiatives and future challenges of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) in Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC).

Virtual Reality (VR) is an exciting new technology that offers considerable potential benefits for all stages of AEC business processes, from initial planning and conceptual design, to facility management and operations. Augmented Reality (AR) is a natural evolution of the VR technology: it allows the user to see the real world, with the registration of 2D/3D virtual objects thus complementing rather than replacing reality. VR and AR can be applied as a vehicle for the whole life cycle design and operation of AEC projects. Sustainable research efforts throughout the world are pushing the frontier of knowledge in the utilisation and implementation of VR and AR.

The mission of this conference is to bring together scientists, researchers, practitioners and industrialists in all areas of AEC and promote efficient exchange of ideas and develop mutual understanding of the needs and potential applications of VR and AR technologies. The objective of the conference is to report and disseminate outputs/progress/ideas of innovative international research activities in this field and formulate strategies for future research directions.

In response to the issued call for papers the programme committee has received 30 communications from which 13 full papers and 10 short papers were selected, after being peer reviewed by at least 3 reviewers each. Submissions have been originated from all over the world, from the UK to the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Canada, Austria, USA, Brasil, Malaysia, Korea and Japan, showing the growing awareness of CONVR on a global basis. This was the first CONVR conference where fully electronic submission was put in place and that has improved substantially the work of the programme committee.

This year's programme is organised in two days divided in 6 technical sessions, namely Simulation and Planning, Automatic Design and Side Layout, Virtual Environments and Facilities, Mobility and Augmented Reality, 3D Reconstruction, and Short Papers and Posters. The programme includes a keynote speech by Prof. Werner Purgathofer on Commercial VR/AR Projects, and invited communications of "3D Collaborative Design and Visualization in Portugal: the experience of Oficina de Arquitectura" by Arq. Jorge Silva (Oficina de Arquitectura) and "3D Reconstruction, Interaction and Visualization of Architectural and Urban Spaces" by Prof. José Miguel Dias (ISCTE), Prof. Paulo Dias (Uni. de Aveiro) and Eng. João Boavida (ArteScan). The programme includes also a banquet and Academic music concert by Tuna Académica do ISCTE. An award for best communication will be granted during the event.

These proceedings will be published on hard copy and also on electronic format, in a special issue of Virtual journal (http://virtual.inesc.pt/convr2004).

Authors of selected papers submitted and published in the CONVR2004 proceedings will be invited to submit an extended version of their papers to a special issue of the COMPUTER-AIDED CIVIL AND INFRASTRUCTURE ENGINEERING, for peer review and publication.

This programme is the result of much hard work and sincere devotion of a large number of volunteers and support of several institutions. The presidency of the organising committee and programme committee would like to express a word of thanks, to all that have contributed to the organisation of this event: to the members of the organising committee and, in particular, Ana Rita Leitão, for the enthusiastic and professional commitment to the numerous tasks of the production of such an event; to the members of the programme committee and external reviewers for the motivation and attention dedicated to the evaluation and selection of the works submitted; to the invited speakers, Prof. Werner Purgathofer, Arq. Jorge Silva, Prof. José Miguel Dias, Prof. Paulo Dias and Eng. João Boavida, for making the time to share their knowledge and experience with the participants; to the authors of all submitted works, for their motivation, commitment and effort put into the writing of their works.

We would finally like to thank all the people and institutions that supported the 4th Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual Reality: Lisbon, August 2004

José Miguel Salles Dias
Nashwan Dawood
Walid Thabet