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TESSIN VISLab—laboratory for scientific visualization


Scientific visualization is an integral part of the modeling workflow, enabling researchers to understand complex or large data sets and simulation results. A high-resolution stereoscopic virtual reality (VR) environment further enhances the possibilities of visualization. Such an environment also allows collaboration in work groups including people of different backgrounds and to present results of research projects to stakeholders or the public. The requirements for the computing equipment driving the VR environment demand specialized software applications which can be run in a parallel fashion on a set of interconnected machines. Another challenge is to devise a useful data workflow from source data sets onto the display system. Therefore, we develop software applications like the OpenGeoSys Data Explorer, custom data conversion tools for established visualization packages such as ParaView and Visualization Toolkit as well as presentation and interaction techniques for 3D applications like Unity. We demonstrate our workflow by presenting visualization results for case studies from a broad range of applications. An outlook on how visualization techniques can be deeply integrated into the simulation process is given and future technical improvements such as a simplified hardware setup are outlined.

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The intention of this work is a compilation of case studies which have been carried out in the visualization laboratory TESSIN VISLab over the last years comprising different disciplines in environmental sciences. The authors would like to thank Thomas Kalbacher, Karsten Rinke, Benny Selle, Feng Sun and Nico Trauth for providing some of the data sets presented in the case studies. We thank Leslie Jakobs for the improvement of the manuscript concerning clarity and language. We acknowledge the participation of the following departments of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research—UFZ in supporting several interdisciplinary case study visualizations: Catchment Hydrology (CATHYD), Computational Hydrosystems (CHS), Hydrogeology (HDG), Groundwater Remediation (GWS), Monitoring and Exploration Technologies (MET), Ecosystem Analysis (OESA) and Lake Research (SEEFO). We are very grateful to our external cooperation partners for data provision and fruitful discussion to improve visualization as a practical and useful tool for applied research, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), Leipzig University of Applied Sciences (HTWK), Leibniz Institute for Applied Geosciences (LIAG), University of Leipzig, Technische Universität Dresden, Technische Universität Freiberg. This work was sponsored in part by the Australian Commonwealth Government through the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC). PROTECT is funded through the “Geotechnologien” Programme (Grant 03G0797). We acknowledge the support by the NUMTHECHSTORE project in cooperation with the Institute of Chemical Technology, University Leipzig, and the EWI2 project in cooperation with the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics, German Aerospace Center (DLR). Further acknowledgements to particular project funding are referred to in the individual papers cited for the case studies presented in this article.

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Bilke, L., Fischer, T., Helbig, C. et al. TESSIN VISLab—laboratory for scientific visualization. Environ Earth Sci 72, 3881–3899 (2014).

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  • Virtual reality
  • Visualization
  • Computer graphics
  • Data exploration
  • Hydrological processes
  • Geotechnics
  • Seismic data
  • OpenGeoSys