Graphical Navigation of Earth through Time and Space
Perception, Virtual Environments, and Computer Graphics Lab, Univ. of Utah School of Computing
Supervisors: Pete Shirley and William Thompson

In the recent years, the availability for public use of (Geographic Information Systems)  GIS has increased with the emergence of systems such as Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth. Because of the power of modern PCs these systems are able  to allow interactive explorations in 3D. Models of buildings and other man made structures are a central part of these systems. Frequently photographs or internet articles are attached and annotated to such models to provide comprehensive (extra) information.  As is the case with most large knowledge bases, source data in GIS systems is often incomplete, contradictory, or otherwise uncertain. 

Time is the next dimension to be added onto these existing system.Imagine being able to explore spatially but at the same time observe change in time in the urban landscape of Chicago. A time component exponentially increases problems with data uncertainty and scarcity.

This project explored an approach to indicating uncertainty in the location and lifespan of cultural features in GIS visualizations.  Such indications of uncertainty are important even when source data comes from ostensibly reliable sources.  They become near essential with community-supplied source data such as Google Earth's 3D Warehouse.  Representing uncertain data in the same context with accurate data requires contrasting between the two as well as keeping the representation as perceptually facile as possible.
Friday, July 1, 2005

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