Augmenting Printed School Atlases with Thematic 3D Maps
2. Related Work
3.1. Choice of Maps and Visualizations
- Polygons: a layer with polygons is overlaid the map .
- Extruded polygons: polygons are extruded along the height axis .
- Stacked cuboids: cuboids varying in length and height are put on top of each other and aligned in their centers .
- Dot distribution map: points, which represent a certain quantity, are translated along the height axis to maintain a minimum distance between each other .
- Pie charts: charts are rendered inside billboards  and centered at the top of an anchor line.
- Curved lines: as graphics hardware is not able to draw curves, lines are segmented, and the height values of the segments are derived from a circular function .
- 3D bars: squares are extruded along the height axis .
- Workflow 1: with the BlenderGIS add-on, we imported the geo-data as Shapefiles into Blender and exported them as FBX-files, which can be read by Unity. Since BlenderGIS could not handle the custom CRS, the geo-data had a scaling and an offset error in Unity, which we had to correct manually. The projection is accurate though.
- Workflow 2: with the GeoJSON.Net library, we imported the geo-data directly into Unity. The library allows to read the geo-data into a GeoJSON.Net “FeatureCollection”, whose attributes can be applied to Unity “Prefabs” representing the 3D objects. By applying a scaling transformation to the “Prefabs”, which relates the extent of the projected geo-data to the size of the map image, the imported objects are positioned correctly.
- Dot distribution map: we calculated average population densities for a virtual map grid, vertically translated and colored vertices for each grid cell corresponding to its density, and stored the vertices in Unity “Meshes”. In a custom shader, we resized the vertices according to the distance between the camera and the map center. We also discarded corner pixels by applying a Euclidean distance function, so that the points appear as circles and not as squares.
- Billboards for pie charts: we instantiated an empty Unity “GameObject” and added an “Image” component for the appearance of the billboard. An update function resets the billboard rotation parameters to match the parameters of the camera, so that the billboards always face the camera. Additionally, we attached a “SphereCollider” to make the billboards responsive to touch events.
- Anchor lines: we created a Unity 3D object “Cylinder” with a small radius and adjusted its height to reach the base of billboards and cuboids.
- Curved lines: we instantiated Unity “GameObjects” with a “LineRenderer” component for each line. The start and end points of lines of our geo-data are connected with the segments of the “LineRenderer” whose heights follow a sine function.
- Flat and extruded polygons: we imported FBX files as Unity “GameObjects” with “Mesh” components. For the extruded polygons, we added a small, imperceptible offset to Unity’s standard shader to prevent z-fighting artifacts, which would occur since the polygon boundaries are partly identical.
- Cuboids and 3D bars: we created a Unity 3D object “Cube” and scaled their heights accordingly. The thereby formed cuboids are translated at centered positions on top of each other.
4.1. Glacier Extent Map of the Bernina Region, Switzerland
4.2. Population Density Map of Europe
4.3. Holiday Destination World Map
5.1. Recognition and Tracking
5.2. Import and Storage of Geographic Data and Image Targets
5.3. Visualizations and Graphical User Interface
5.4. Operating System
6.4. Further Observations
7. Conclusions and Future Work
Conflicts of Interest
- Listing A1: Assessment tasks, reflection questions, and their answers of our usability experiment. Those are translated from German—the language, in which the experiment was conducted. Correct answers for assessment tasks T1 and T2, and most sustainable answers for T3 are highlighted in green. Moderately sustainable answers for T3 are highlighted in blue. Answers to the reflection questions are based on a five-point Likert-type scale.
Appendix A.1. Assessment Tasks
Appendix A.1.1. Glacier Extent Map
- Compare whether the Tschierva glacier or the Morteratsch glacier has decreased more between 1850 and 2008:(a) The Tschierva glacier has decreased more.(b) The Morteratsch glacier has decreased more.(c) Both glaciers have decreased by about the same size.
- Select a location where you can take an impressing photograph of the decreased Morteratsch glacier and explain your decision:(a) Hotel Morteratsch, since one can look frontally at the glacier(b) Piz Palü, since one can look down to the glacier from this mountain(c) Boval hut, since one can look laterally at the glacier
- Judge the decrease of glaciers in the Swiss Alps taking the example of the Bernina area:(a) It makes me sad and angry, and also I am feeling helpless.(b) The situation does not evoke any emotions to me.(c) I perceive the decrease of glaciers as not very dramatic.
Appendix A.1.2. Population Density Map
- State a sparsely and a densely populated area in Europe:(a) South of Poland and Iceland(b) England and Po valley(c) Lapland und the Pyrenees
- Explain the difference in peopling of Scandinavia compared to Central Europe:(a) high emigration number(b) small birth rate(c) late industrialization
- Judge the following statement by Johansson, the Swedish minister on integration by means of the population density map "One can also seek asylum in Germany or Denmark. Europe is larger than Sweden":(a) I agree to the statement according to the population density distribution in Europe.(b) In my opinion, the number of inhabitants of a country should not be the only decisive factor for the distribution of asylum seekers.(c) Sweden should grant asylum to more people since the country is sparsely populated.
Appendix A.1.3. Holiday Destination Map
- Determine the number of Swiss citizens who travelled to Italy in 2012:(a) ca. 500‘000(b) approximately 2 Mio.(c) about 8 Mio.
- Explain the fact “France is the top travel destination among Swiss citizens“:(a) Swiss citizens like to go on seaside holidays in a nearby country.(b) Swiss citizens prefer France since they are familiar with the local language.(c) Swiss citizens are attracted by the wilderness in France.
- Judge the Swiss citizens‘ travel behavior on the basis of their selected destinations considering the overall concept of sustainability:(a) Swiss citizens can go unscrupulously on long-haul journeys.(b) The proportion of near- and long-haul journey should be about the same.(c) Swiss citizens should indeed choose more near-haul than long-haul journeys.
Appendix A.2. Reflection Questions
- How easy or difficult was it to spatially orientate yourself?
- very easy
- moderately difficult
- very difficult
- How interesting or boring was the previously elaborated topic to you?
- very interesting
- moderately interesting
- very boring
- How did your opinion change while working with the map?
- much less sustainable
- less sustainable
- equally sustainable
- more sustainable
- much more sustainable
|Glacier Extent Map||Population Density Map||Holiday Destination Map|
|Effectiveness of map analysis (T1)|
N = 2 × 12
N = 2 × 8
N = 2 × 8
|▪ correct ▪ incorrect|
|Effectiveness of map interpretation (T2)|
N = 2 × 6
N = 2 × 4
N = 2 × 4
|▪ correct ▪ incorrect|
|Attitude from map judgement (T3)|
N = 2 × 6
N = 2 × 4
N = 2 × 4
|▪ sustainable ▪ neutral ▪ not sustainable|
|Ease of spatial orientation (Q1)|
N = 2 × 12
N = 2 × 8
N = 2 × 8
|▪ very easy ▪ easy ▪ moderately difficult ▪ difficult ▪ very difficult|
|Interest in map topic (Q2)|
N = 2 × 6
N = 2 × 4
N = 2 × 4
|▪ very interesting ▪ interesting ▪ moderately interesting ▪ boring ▪ very boring|
|Change of attitude (Q3)|
N = 2 × 6
N = 2 × 4
N = 2 × 4
|▪ much more sustainable ▪ sustainable ▪ equally sustainable |
▪ less sustainable ▪ much less sustainable
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|Atlas Map||Augmented Visualization 1||Augmented Visualization 2|
|Switzerland > |
Bernina area (p. 31)
|Glacier extent of different years -|
Extruded polygons (3D)
|Volume of selected glaciers of the measurement network -|
Stacked cuboids (3D)
|Europe > Population density (p. 68/69)||Population density -|
Dot distribution map (3D)
|Electricity: end use by |
consumer group -
Pie charts (2D)
Tourism (p. 202)
|Most popular holiday destinations of Swiss citizens -|
|Charter flights: international flight routes from Swiss Airports -|
Curved lines (3D)
|P||Map||First Part||Second Part|
|1||Glacier extent||Printed map: T1+Q1||Augmented map: T2+Q2|
|2||Augmented map: T1+Q1||Printed map: T2+Q2|
|3||Printed map: T1+Q1||Augmented map: T3+Q3|
|4||Augmented map: T1+Q1||Printed map: T3+Q3|
|5||Population density||Printed map: T1+Q1||Augmented map: T2+Q2|
|6||Augmented map: T1+Q1||Printed map: T2+Q2|
|7||Printed map: T1+Q1||Augmented map: T3+Q3|
|8||Augmented map: T1+Q1||Printed map: T3+Q3|
|9||Holiday destination||Printed map: T1+Q1||Augmented map: T2+Q2|
|10||Augmented map: T1+Q1||Printed map: T2+Q2|
|11||Printed map: T1+Q1||Augmented map: T3+Q3|
|12||Augmented map: T1+Q1||Printed map: T3+Q3|
|Assessment Tasks||Reflection Questions|
|Effectiveness of map analysis (T1)||Ease of spatial orientation (Q1)|
|Effectiveness of map interpretation (T2)||Interest in map topic (Q2)|
|Attitude from map judgement (T3)||Change of attitude (Q3)|
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Schnürer, R.; Dind, C.; Schalcher, S.; Tschudi, P.; Hurni, L. Augmenting Printed School Atlases with Thematic 3D Maps. Multimodal Technol. Interact. 2020, 4, 23. https://doi.org/10.3390/mti4020023
Schnürer R, Dind C, Schalcher S, Tschudi P, Hurni L. Augmenting Printed School Atlases with Thematic 3D Maps. Multimodal Technologies and Interaction. 2020; 4(2):23. https://doi.org/10.3390/mti4020023Chicago/Turabian Style
Schnürer, Raimund, Cédric Dind, Stefan Schalcher, Pascal Tschudi, and Lorenz Hurni. 2020. "Augmenting Printed School Atlases with Thematic 3D Maps" Multimodal Technologies and Interaction 4, no. 2: 23. https://doi.org/10.3390/mti4020023