Programming Tools for Visualization of GIS Data

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Programming Tools for Visualization of GIS Data. Garret Suen Wednesday, March 5, 2003 CPSC601.82 –Advanced Algorithms in GIS and Scientific Applications. Outline. Introduction – Visualization in GIS Application Areas Specific Problems in Application Areas - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • Programming Tools for Visualization of GIS DataGarret SuenWednesday, March 5, 2003CPSC601.82 Advanced Algorithms in GIS and Scientific Applications

  • OutlineIntroduction Visualization in GISApplication AreasSpecific Problems in Application AreasSurvey of Programs and Programming ToolsFuture of Visualization in GISConclusion and Summary

  • IntroductionVisualization in GIS deals with displaying information regarding geographical data Challenges include accuracy, integrity, and visibilityCommercial and Specialty software and programming tools exist that focus on visualizing geographical information in specific areas of GIS

  • General Challenges in GIS VisualizationMoving from photos/data to digital imagesDisplaying such information in a way that makes senseManipulating data easilyCreating databases of GIS information that are usefulLevel of detail (coarse vs. fine-grain)

  • Application AreasThe area of GIS focuses on specific areas that require specialized visualization needs.The areas we will focus on today include:Geological Information (Oil, Gas, Mining)Climate Information (Weather Prediction)Residential Information (Maps)

  • Geological InformationThis area specializes in visualization geological information.This includes minerals, precious metals, oil and gas deposits.

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  • Challenges in Geo VisualizationGeological Visualization attempts to abstract information regarding the earths strata from surface informationProblems in Visualization deal with:Volume representation (e.g. mountains)Layer representation (boundaries)Accuracy (from picture to digital images)

  • Geological Visualization ProgramsMany companies make use of their own in-house software.However, there are many commercial software packages that are used as well.The most common package is the ArcView group of programs

  • ArcView and Geology

  • Programming ToolsArcView is an interactive product that allows for customization.It provides a host of built-in tools for geological information visualization.It allows for the creation of application specific scripts and macrosIt also allows for the creation and linking of spatial databases to information visualization.

  • Climate InformationUsed extensively by weather forecasters, these systems attempt to model climate patterns.This includes air current, precipitation, temperature, and dew point information.

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  • Challenges in Climate VisualizationDynamic updates from databasesRepresentation of many aspects of climate over the same areaExtrapolation of weather conditions over timeTracking weather changes over time

  • Climate Visualization ProgramsFor the most part, climate visualization deal with static maps that attempt to convey climate information.Numerous companies exist that provide climate and weather maps for regions and areas.We will consider one such commercial product popular with weather forecasters: Digital Atmosphere 2000.

  • Digital Atmosphere 2000

  • Digital Atmosphere 2000 FeaturesThis program allows you to import almost any map in a format accepted by the World Meteorological OrganizationIt allows you to create scripts and run simulations over time of weather patternsAllows hook-up to digital satellite photos so you can see the weather as it is happening.Provides ways to view all types of climate information.

  • DA2000 Digital Satellite Photos

  • Residential InformationThis focuses on visualizing man-made structures such as roads.Used in a variety of areas such as urban development, residential planning, and GPS Navigation.

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  • Challenges in Residential VisualizationFocus (coarse vs. fine grain)Information RepresentationIntelligent Navigation (GPS)Intelligent Search (Databases)Simulation (e.g. Traffic Planning)

  • Residential Visualization ProgramsMost commercial applications in this area simply provide maps for residential development.One of the leading companies that deals with residential information is Autodesk.The Autodesk Map software package is run on an AutoCAD base.The main advantage of AutoDesk Map is its ability to incorporate satellite photos and directly manipulate them.

  • AutoDesk Map 2002

  • AutoDesk Map 2002 FeaturesEasy creation of spatial databases.Direct manipulation of maps, aerial, and satellite photos.Automatic coordinate geometry information extracted from maps.Ability to add spatial information (polygons) and convert polygons/polylines into polyobjects for export into spatial databases.Basic Algorithms: shortest-path, network tracing, and polygon overlay.

  • Future of GIS VisualizationThe future of GIS Visualization will ultimately be based on new paradigms of visualization.Current traditional models work on bringing the 3D to the 2D.Future visualization will work on allowing information to be visualized on the 3D level (CAVE!).

  • Working Towards the Future

    Terrain model a CAVE Perspective @ the University of Illinois Urbana, Champagne

  • SummaryGIS Visualization is specific to the application area that is being applied to.Each area faces different challenges in understanding their own types of information.We have looked at the problems involved in 3 different GIS Areas: Geological, Climate, and Residential.

  • Summary (cont.)Various commercial software solutions are available for the GIS practitioner.Each software solution provides a wide array of functions and tools for manipulating and displaying information.As our understanding of GIS information increases, software will move towards providing the tools necessary.Programming tools are generally in the form of scripting tools that allow for specific manipulation of data.

  • ReferencesArcView: Map 2002:,,2260583-123112,00.htmlDigital Atmosphere 2000:

  • Questions? Comments?