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Open AccessArticle

Virtual Reality in Cartography: Immersive 3D Visualization of the Arctic Clyde Inlet (Canada) Using Digital Elevation Models and Bathymetric Data

1
HafenCity University Hamburg, Überseeallee 16, 20457 Hamburg, Germany
2
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Van-Ronzelen-Str. 2, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Multimodal Technologies Interact. 2019, 3(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/mti3010009
Received: 9 January 2019 / Revised: 1 February 2019 / Accepted: 14 February 2019 / Published: 20 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactive 3D Cartography)
Due to rapid technological development, virtual reality (VR) is becoming an accessible and important tool for many applications in science, industry, and economy. Being immersed in a 3D environment offers numerous advantages especially for the presentation of geographical data that is usually depicted in 2D maps or pseudo 3D models on the monitor screen. This study investigated advantages, limitations, and possible applications for immersive and intuitive 3D terrain visualizations in VR. Additionally, in view of ever-increasing data volumes, this study developed a workflow to present large scale terrain datasets in VR for current mid-end computers. The developed immersive VR application depicts the Arctic fjord Clyde Inlet in its 160 km × 80 km dimensions at 5 m spatial resolution. Techniques, such as level of detail algorithms, tiling, and level streaming, were applied to run the more than one gigabyte large dataset at an acceptable frame rate. The immersive VR application offered the possibility to explore the terrain with or without water surface by various modes of locomotion. Terrain textures could also be altered and measurements conducted to receive necessary information for further terrain analysis. The potential of VR was assessed in a user survey of persons from six different professions. View Full-Text
Keywords: 3D terrain modelling; 3D representation; virtual reality; bathymetry; game engine; level of detail (LOD); level streaming 3D terrain modelling; 3D representation; virtual reality; bathymetry; game engine; level of detail (LOD); level streaming
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Lütjens, M.; Kersten, T.P.; Dorschel, B.; Tschirschwitz, F. Virtual Reality in Cartography: Immersive 3D Visualization of the Arctic Clyde Inlet (Canada) Using Digital Elevation Models and Bathymetric Data. Multimodal Technologies Interact. 2019, 3, 9.

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