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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Visualization of Features in 3D Terrain

Institute of Computer Science, University of Rostock, A.-Einstein-Str. 22, D-18059 Rostock, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2017, 6(11), 357;
Received: 29 September 2017 / Revised: 31 October 2017 / Accepted: 3 November 2017 / Published: 14 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leading Progress in Digital Terrain Analysis and Modeling)
PDF [52237 KB, uploaded 14 November 2017]


In 3D terrain analysis, topographical characteristics, such as mountains or valleys, and geo-spatial data characteristics, such as specific weather conditions or objects of interest, are important features. Visual representations of these features are essential in many application fields, e.g., aviation, meteorology, or geo-science. However, creating suitable representations is challenging. On the one hand, conveying the topography of terrain models is difficult, due to data complexity and computational costs. On the other hand, depicting further geo-spatial data increases the intricacy of the image and can lead to visual clutter. Moreover, perceptional issues within the 3D presentation, such as distance recognition, play a significant role as well. In this paper, we address the question of how features in the terrain can be visualized appropriately. We discuss various design options to facilitate the awareness of global and local features; that is, the coarse spatial distribution of characteristics and the fine-granular details. To improve spatial perception of the 3D environment, we propose suitable depth cues. Finally, we demonstrate the feasibility of our approach by a sophisticated framework called TedaVis that unifies the proposed concepts and facilitates designing visual terrain representations tailored to user requirements. View Full-Text
Keywords: visualization; rendering; terrain; geo-spatial data; trajectory; feature; realtime visualization; rendering; terrain; geo-spatial data; trajectory; feature; realtime

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Dübel, S.; Schumann, H. Visualization of Features in 3D Terrain. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2017, 6, 357.

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