Skip to main content


Log in

Interactive visual analytics of hydrodynamic flux for the coastal zone

  • Thematic Issue
  • Published:
Environmental Earth Sciences Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Researchers wish to study the potential impact of sea level rise from climate change, and visual analytic tools can allow scientists to visually examine and explore different possible scenarios from simulation runs. In particular, hydrodynamic flux is calculated to understand the net movement of water; but typically this calculation is tedious and is not easily achieved with traditional visualization and analytic tools. We present a visual analytic method that incorporates a transect profiler and flux calculator. The analytic software is incorporated into our visual analytics tool Vinca, and generates multiple transects, which can be visualized and analysed in several alternative visualizations; users can choose specific transects to compare against real-world data; users can explore how flux changes within a domain. In addition, we report how ocean scientists have used our tool to display multiple-view views of their data and analyse hydrodynamic flux for the coastal zone.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Arsenault R, Ware C, Plumtree M, Martin S, Whitcomb L, Wiley D, Gross T, Bilgili A (2004) A system for visualizing time varying oceanographic 3D data. In: Proceedings of the Oceans 2004. MTS/IEEE Conference, pp 743–747

  • Brown I, Jude S, Koukoulas S, Nicholls R, Dickson M, Walkden M (2006) Dynamic simulation and visualization of coastal erosion. Comput Environ Urban Syst 30(6):840–860

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chave A, Arrott M, Smarr L, Orcutt J, Lazowska E, Delaney J, Abbott M (2006) Looking: Cyberinfrastructure for ocean observatories. In: IEEE Fourth International Workshop on Scientific Use of Submarine Cables & Related Technologies

  • Cotter CJ, Gorman GJ (2008) Diagnostic tools for 3D unstructured oceanographic data. Ocean Model 20:170–182

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Davies AG, Thorne PD (2008) Advances in the study of moving sediments and evolving seabeds. Surv Geophys 29:1–36

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Douglas BC (1991) Global sea level rise. J Geophys Res Oceans (1978–2012) 96(C4):6981–6992

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Geng Z, Peng Z, SLaramee R, Roberts JC, Walker R (2011) Angular histograms: frequency-based visualizations for large, high dimensional data. IEEE Trans Visual Comput Graph 17(12):2572–2580

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • George R, Robbins P, Davies A, Roberts JC (2012) Interactive visual analytics of coastal oceanographic simulation data. In: Rogers HPD (ed) IEEE Symposium on Large-scale data analysis and visualization. Barga R. IEEE Press, Philadelphia

  • George RLSF (2013) Explorative coastal oceanographic visual analytics: Oceans of data. PhD thesis, School of Computer Science, Bangor University, Bangor, UK

  • George RLSF, Roberts JC, Davies AG (2010) Using processing to develop iCove: a tool for interactive coastal oceanographic visualization. In: Grimstead IJ, Collomosse JP (eds) Theory and practice of computer graphics, eurographics, pp 99–105

  • George RLSF, Robins PE, Davies AG, Roberts JC (2013) Visual analytics of the hydrodynamic flux for coastal flooding prediction and management. In: Kolditz O, Rink K, Scheuermann G (eds) Workshop on visualisation in environmental sciences (EnvirVis). Eurographics Association, Leipzig, pp 7–9

    Google Scholar 

  • Hibbard WL, Anderson J, Foster I, Paul BE, Jacob R, Schafer C, Tyree MK (1996) Exploring coupled atmosphere–ocean models using Vis5D. Int J High Perform Comput Appl 10(2–3):211–222

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Howe B, Lawson P, Bellinger R, Anderson E, Santos E, Freire J, Scheidegger C, Baptista A, Silva C (2008) End-to-end, escience: integrating workflow, query, visualization and provenance at an ocean observatory. In: eScience ’08 IEEE Fourth International Conference, pp 127–134

  • Huang B, Lin H (1999) GeoVR: a web-based took for virtual reality presentation from 2D GIS data. Comput Geosci 25(10):1167–1175

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Johnston K, Ver Hoef JM, Krivoruchko K, Lucas N (2001) Using ArcGIS geostatistical analyst, vol 380. ESRI, Redlands

    Google Scholar 

  • Keen TR, Vickery R, Flynn P (2001) Scientific visualisation of sediment dynamics in the bottom boundary layer. In: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Estuarine and Coastal Modeling, pp 71–85

  • Keim DA, Mansmann F, Stoffel A, Ziegler H (2009) Visual analytics. In: Encyclopedia of Database Systems. Springer, New York

  • Kitsiou D, de Madron X, Arnau P (2001) Development of a data visualization and analysis tool to study the particle dynamics in the coastal zone. Mar Pollut Bull 43(7–12):262–269

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lindstrom P, Koller D, Ribarsky W, Hodges L, den Bosch A, Faust N (1997) An integrated global GIS and visual simulation system. Georgia Institute of Technology technical report

  • Lipsa DR, Laramee RS, Cox SJ, Roberts JC, Walker R, Borkin MA, Pfister H (2012) Visualization for the physical sciences. Comput Graph Forum 31(8):2317–2347

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mayer L, Paton M, Gee L, Gardner J, Ware C (2000) Interactive 3D visualization: a tool for seafloor navigation, exploration and engineering. In: OCEANS 2000 MTS/IEEE Conference and Exhibition, vol 2, pp 913–919

  • McCann MP (2002) Creating 3D oceanographic data visualizations for the web. In: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on 3D Web Technology, Web3D ’02, ACM, New York, pp 179–184

  • Nocke T, Flechsig M, Bohm U (2007) Visual exploration and evaluation of climate related simulation data. In: Proceedings of the 2007 Winter Simulation Conference, Washington

  • Rahmstorf S (2010) A new view on sea level rise. Nat Rep Clim Change 4:44–45

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roberts JC (2007) State of the art: coordinated multiple views in exploratory visualization. In: 5th International Conference on Coordinated and Multiple Views in Exploratory Visualization, pp 61–71. doi:10.1109/CMV.2007.20

  • Robins PE (2008) Present and future flooding scenarios in the Dyfi Estuary, Wales, UK. Report for the countryside council for wales (number 3), Centre for Applied Marine Sciences, Bangor University

  • Robins PE (2009) Development of a morphodynamic model of the Dyfi estuary to inform future management decisions. Technical report, Bangor University, CAMS Report: CAMS 2009 Countryside Council for Wales

  • Robins PE, Davies AG (2010) Morphological controls in sandy estuaries: the influence of tidal flats and bathymetry on sediment transport. Ocean Dyn 60:503–517

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Robins PE, Davies AG (2011) Application of Telemac-2D and Sisyphe to complex estuarine regions to inform future management decisions. In: XVIIIth Telemac & Mascaret User Club Chatou, France, pp 19–21

  • Robins PE, Davies AG, Jones R (2011) Application of a coastal model to simulate present and future inundation and aid coastal management. J Coast Conserv 15:1–14

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Simpson J, Vennell R, Souza AJ (2001) The salt fluxes in a tidally-energetic estuary. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 52:131–142

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stein RJ, Shih AM, Baker MP, Cerco CF, Noel MR (2000) Scientific visualization of water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. In: Vis ’00: Proceedings of the Conference on Visualization, IEEE Computer Society, pp 509–512

  • Szalay A, Gray J (2006) Science in an exponential world. Nature 440(7083):413–414

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Thomas JJ, Cook K (2006) A visual analytics agenda. IEEE Comput Graph Appl 26(1):10–13

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Van Someren MW, Barnard YF, Sandberg JA et al (1994) The think aloud method: a practical guide to modelling cognitive processes. Academic Press, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Ware C, Pluntree M, Arsenault R, Mayer L, Smith S (2001) GeoZui3D: data fusion for interpreting oceanographic data. MTS IEEE Conf Exhib 3:1960–1964

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jonathan C. Roberts.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

George, R.L.S.F., Robins, P.E., Davies, A.G. et al. Interactive visual analytics of hydrodynamic flux for the coastal zone. Environ Earth Sci 72, 3753–3766 (2014).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: