Initial Publication Date: September 8, 2006

Powerful Emerging Tools and Technologies for Visualization and their Uses

New tools are emerging for visualizing and understanding complex systems and for representing complex data.

Jump down to Immersive Tools * Interactive Tools * Time-Lapse Video * Synthetic Stereo Images

Immersive Tools


The GeoWall mission is to broaden the use of scientific visualization tools for Earth Science research and education by the use of low cost virtual reality visualization devices.

Development of 3-D Interactive Visual Object Using the Scripps Institution of Oceanography's Visualization Center (Acrobat (PDF) 52kB Feb19 04)
Debi Kilb, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

This essay is concerned with the need for the development and improvement of visualizations for use in the classroom. The paper considers all levels of education, and the importance of using visual objects that are accessible and easy to understand. Using these technologies, the author hopes to enhance geoscience instruction. See also: Scripps Institution of Oceanography's Visualization Center

Investigating the Underlying Processes of Visualization Experiences (Acrobat (PDF) 140kB Feb18 04)
David Rapp, University of Minnesota

This essay is an exploration of students' abilities to translate 2D topographic data into a 3D image of the subject on the map. Concerned especially with rapid and thorough understanding of textual information, it considers the cognitive implications of the use of visualizations in education.

Using Advanced Interactivity to Create Compelling Simulations for Immersive Earth Science Visualizations (Acrobat (PDF) 82kB Feb23 04)
Jeff Sale, San Diego State University

This paper discusses the use of common commercial applications as tools to use for the creation of easy to use visualizations. These interactive visualizations use interfaces that are familiar to students and are easily accessible from a variety of locations.

Immersive Visualization in Interdisciplinary Research and Education (Acrobat (PDF) 1.1MB Mar9 04)
Bill Capehart, South Dakota School of Mines

In this power point presentation, immersive visualization is described. The author notes that Immersive Visualization can provide an extension of classical viewing methods, but not necessarily a replacement of analog treasures. Some applications are great for Pedagogy and Training but not for Operations. Large end visualization approaches require collaboration.

Interactive Tools

Interactive analysis and visualization of geoscience data with Ocean Data View, Computers & Geosciences, v. 28, pp. 1211-1218.
Reiner Schlitzer, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research

Ocean Data View is a freeware package for the interactive exploration and graphical display of multiparameter profile or sequence data. Although originally developed for oceanographic observations only, the underlying concept is more general, and data or model output from other areas of geosciences, like for instance geology, geophysics, geography and atmospheric research can be maintained and explored with ODV as well.

An Earth Data File is Worth a Thousand Pictures: Going Beyond Multimedia for Education (Acrobat (PDF) 190kB Feb12 04)
Bruce Caron, The New Media Studio, Santa Barbara

This paper includes information on the use of new computer technologies to simulate the scientific research process in an educational context. Using Macromedia Director in conjunction with the Data Discovery Toolkit, the author was able to create complex multimedia visualizations that were able to use data files to create multiple images. This decreased response time and permitted a more realistic simulation of scientific analysis.

The EarthKAM project: creating space imaging tools for teaching and learning, Computers and Geosciences, v. 26, pp. 683-691.
Holly Dodson, Paula Levin, Sally Ride, and Randall Souviney, University of California San Diego.

The EarthKAM is a partnership of secondary and university students with Earth Science and educational researchers. The Visualizing Earth Project explores in greater detail the cognitive aspects of image processing and the educational potential of visualizations in science teaching and learning.

Time-Lapse Video

Teaching Geologic Time with Digital Time-Lapse Videos (PowerPoint 24.6MB Jan18 05)
Doug Clark, Western Washington University

This presentation describes how digital cameras can be used to record time-lapse video of landform development. He describes an artificial stream table delta and a natural landform: the Swift Creek landslide.

Synthetic Stereo Images

Visualize Venus (Acrobat (PDF) 47kB Feb19 04)
Vicki Hansen, University of Minnesota, Duluth

Synthetic stereo images are a less common, but important tool for visualization. This essay discusses the use of these images (and the requisite red and blue glasses) as a tool to visualize the surface of the planet Venus. It also considers how these images can be used to accurately represent the geological features of planetary surfaces.