InVEnTA - Interactive Virtual Environments for Teaching and Assessment

InVEnTA is an award-winning geospatial and visualisation software tool used to create and explore immersive, free-roaming and interactive virtual environments for teaching and learning.

Think of it as virtual field trips, where students can visit demanding locations such as the arctic circle, or the Patagonian glacial sheets without leaving their homes.

The brainchild of geographers based at the University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences, InVEnTA draws influence from gaming technologies to utilise 3D data from drones, kite-based photography, handheld cameras or existing online spatial datasets to form the basis for interactive, immersive representations of real-world environments.

It’s a perfect tool for online learning, research and teaching – once you’ve used it, you’ll wonder how you managed to work without it.

The Viewer App is available for free and immediate use for all staff and students at a UK based Higher Educational Institute. Please use the link via the download section below.

If you would like to subscribe to the Creator App please email:

Take a look at the InVEnTA launch event on our YouTube Channel.

Digital Innovation 2020 Award Winner

Create and explore immersive free-roaming interactive virtual environments


Fly freely through scenes


Adjust the characteristics of the terrain


Add educational signposts in the form of text, audio, video or link to other resources



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  • InVEnTA operates across two applications: a ‘Creator app’ and a ‘Viewer app’. Within the Creator app the user adds information from sources including drones and handheld cameras, as well as existing datasets. Educators can recreate locations as complex virtual 3D environments, manipulating terrain in a variety of ways. Educational content in the form of text, photos, sound, videos and links to external web resources can be embedded within the environment, to suit learning objectives.

    The Viewer app allows learners to navigate pre-prepared landscapes ‘on foot’ or ‘in flight’. As these virtual spaces are explored ‘signposts’ launch multimedia content, while ambient sounds, weather patterns, daylight and shadows based on the site location create provide a more immersive experience.

  • InVEnTA works with the following file formats: OBJ , GLTF, 3DS and DAE There are many existing 3D models that can be utilised e.g. from Sketchfab and elevation data from DEM.Net Elevation API.

  • There are third party apps that allow you to create 3D models with your smartphone using photogrammetry techniques - one of the most widely used is Qlone. 3D models created using a smartphone can then be used in a virtual environment using the Creator app.

  • InVEnTA’s creators have been using the tool in a Geography degree programme since 2018. It has been used both to provide familiarisation of fieldtrip sites and in undergraduate formative assessments. For example, in the Archaeology department of the University of Exeter it has been used to showcase and explain artefacts found at a specific archaeological site in Spain. It has also been used in an assessment where a student created their own virtual environment from a 3D model downloaded from Sketchfab. The student created a virtual environment with the InVEnTA signpost tool serving to demonstrate their understanding of the site.

  • The performance of the app depends on the size and complexity of the 3D models used to create the virtual environment. As a minimum specification, we recommend the software is used on machines with at least 4GB of ram. The creator app required about 500MB of disk space, and 3D models used should be no more than ~100MB. To be able to handle multiple models and environments, we recommend a minimum disk space of 2GB. Please note that InVENTA will run more quickly on machines with a dedicated graphics card or GPU.

  • The current version can be used on any windows desktop PC. There are plans to release Mac and chromebook versions soon.

  • InVEnTA has a broad range of applications. The software can be used for anything that can be realised as a 3D object, be it archaeological artefacts, protein structures in life sciences, or DNA helixes. It has also been used to teach about classical texts at the University of Exeter.

  • We are offering access to InVENTA free of charge during the Trial period, which expires on 31st December 2021. To purchase a licence to access InVEnTA beyond this date, please contact

  • The Free Trial lasts until 31st December 2021. After that, the licence is available at an introductory price and will expire on 31st July 2022. Subsequent licences will be available for an annual and renewable subscription from 1st August to 31st July each year.

  • InVEnTA is intuitive to use, requiring no formal training. Subscribers can find user manuals and extensive instructional videos here. For further assistance please contact

  • InVEnTA was devised by Dr Steven Palmer, Dr Damien Mansell and Dr Anne Le Brocq from the University of Exeter. As part of their field work as geographers they use drones to collect 3D data sets and wanted to use these for teaching. Since no software was available on the market they created the tool from scratch. Designed by academics, InVEnTA has been tailor made for educational applications.

  • Yes! InVEnTA is the winner of the Times Higher Education 2020 award for Technological or Digital Innovation of the Year. The judges stated that among “an excellent set of submissions”, InVEnTA stood out “because of its potential to extend the classroom into a virtual world”.



Have more questions? Get in touch

To find out more about InVEnTA please email us at:


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