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Visualizations Out of Context: Addressing Pitfalls of Real-Time Realistic Hazard Visualizations

Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI 02903, USA
Department of Marine Affairs, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8(8), 318;
Received: 23 May 2019 / Revised: 18 June 2019 / Accepted: 20 July 2019 / Published: 24 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Hazards and Geospatial Information)
PDF [4944 KB, uploaded 26 July 2019]


Realistic 3D hazard visualizations based on advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS) may be directly driven by hydrodynamic and wind model outputs (e.g., ADCIRC, the ADvanced CIRCulation Model) and hazard impact modeling (e.g., predicting damage to structures and infrastructure). These methods create new possibilities for representing hazard impacts and support the development of near-real-time hazard forecasting and communication tools. This paper considers the wider implications of using these storm visualizations in light of current frameworks in the context of landscape and urban planning and cartography that have addressed the use of realistic 3D visualizations. Visualizations used outside of engagement processes organized by experts risk misleading the public and may have consequences in terms of feelings of individual self-efficacy or perception of scientists behind the visualizations. In addition to summarizing the implications of using these visualizations outside of recommended practices, a research agenda is proposed to guide the development of real-time realistic and semi-realistic visualizations for future use in hazard communication. Development of a clearer use-case for real-time visualization capabilities is an essential first step if such work is to continue. View Full-Text
Keywords: legitimacy; realism; risk perception; simulation; storm surge; visualization legitimacy; realism; risk perception; simulation; storm surge; visualization

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Stempel, P.; Becker, A. Visualizations Out of Context: Addressing Pitfalls of Real-Time Realistic Hazard Visualizations. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8, 318.

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