Interactive shearing for terrain visualization: an expert study
Interpreting terrain in traditional 2D maps can be challenging. However, recent work has shown how interactive shearing of terrain can help users better understand topography and extract elevation information from a map. Using this approach, user input – paired with existing interactions such as pan and zoom – triggers brief ephemeral shearing animations that expose depth and shape information in terrain maps. The animations use motion to enhance the perception of depth and convey the impression of a shaking jelly model that oscillates until it comes to rest. However, it is still unclear how the parameters of these animations impact the effectiveness of the method or if the animations may have negative side effects. Moreover, it is unknown whether interactive relief shearing is accessible enough to be used in common web maps. To investigate these questions, we conducted a user study with 49 cartographers and visualization experts. These experts interactively configured shearing animations and assessed the technique’s usability and applicability. To create a platform for the user study and demonstrate that interactive shearing of terrain is technically feasible in browsers, we implemented a web map with interactive shearing animations. All experts found that interactive relief shearing made it easier to see differences in elevation on orthophoto maps. Future web maps could include shearing animations, making it easier for viewers to interpret terrain and see differences in elevation.
KeywordsTerrain maps Depth perception Interaction Plan oblique relief Expert study Web maps
The authors are very grateful to the experts participating in the user study and would like to sincerely thank them: Geoff Aitken, Nick Arnold, Gareth Baldrica-Franklin, Miles Barger, Julien Biland, Susanne Bleisch, Rolf Böhm, Leland Brown, Stefan Buschmann, William Cartwright, Keith Clarke, Arzu Çöltekin, Doris Dransch, Pat Dunlavey, Jason Dykes, Jim Eynard, Sara Fabrikant, Kenneth Field, Nick Forfinski, Julien Gaffuri, Roman Geisthövel, Matthias Gessner, Matt Gregory, Eric Guilbert, Christian Häberling, Matthew Hampton, Magnus Heitzler, Charlotte Hoarau, Sam Hooper, Daniel Huffman, Gabriela Ilieş, Rafal Jonca, Patrick Kennelly, Alexander Kent, Karel Kriz, Felix Kunde, Brooke Marston, Jim Meacham, David Medeiros, Ian Muehlenhaus, Andreas Neumann, Raluca Nicola, Tom Patterson, Dušan Petrovič, Tomaž Podobnikar, Charles Preppernau, Stefan Räber, Luigi Rocca, Arne Rohweder, Timofey Samsonov, Bjørn Sandvik, Harald Schernthanner, Alex Schoedon, Marianna Serebryakova, René Sieber, Roger Smith, Fabian Stenzel, Alex Tait, Hans van der Maarel, Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso, Fabio Veronesi, and Jo Wood.
The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for providing valuable feedback, as well as Felix Bostel, Jane Darbyshire, Johannes Liem, Bojan Šavrič, Kirstin Steinmetz, Nele Steinmetz, Dan Stephen, and Amelie Stolle for beta testing. The authors also thank Google for a Google Faculty Award, and Brooke Marston for editing this article.
- 3.Lorenz H, Trapp M, Döllner J, Jobst M (2008) Interactive multi-perspective views of virtual 3D landscape and city models. In: Bernard L, Friis-Christensen A, Pundt H (eds) The European information society. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp 301–321Google Scholar
- 4.Möser S, Degener P, Wahl R, Klein R (2008) Context aware terrain visualization for wayfinding and navigation. Computer Graphics Forum 27(7):1853–1860Google Scholar
- 6.Pasewaldt S, Trapp M, Döllner J (2011) Multiscale visualization of 3D geovirtual environments using view-dependent multi-perspective views. J WSCG 19(3):111–118Google Scholar
- 8.Willett W, Jenny B, Isenberg T, Dragicevic P (2015) Lightweight relief shearing for enhanced terrain perception on interactive maps. In: Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, New York, pp 3563–3572Google Scholar
- 9.Goldstein EB (2014) Sensation and perception. Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Belmont, CAGoogle Scholar
- 13.Imhof E (2007) Cartographic relief presentation. ESRI, Inc., RedlandsGoogle Scholar
- 14.Hubona GS, Shirah GW (2005) Spatial cues in 3D visualization. In: Cai Y (ed) Ambient intelligence for scientific discovery. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp 104–128Google Scholar
- 20.Biland J, Çöltekin A (2016) An empirical assessment of the impact of the light direction on the relief inversion effect in shaded relief maps: NNW is better than NW. Cartogr Geogr Inf Sci 1–15. doi: 10.1080/15230406.2016.1185647
- 24.Buddeberg J, Jenny B, Liem J (2014) Plan oblique Europe. http://cartography.oregonstate.edu/tiles/PlanObliqueEurope/
- 25.Open Geospatial Consortium (2010) OpenGIS web map tile service implementation standard (version 1.0.0). http://www.opengeospatial.org/standards/wmts