3D visualization for the analysis of forest cover change


Visualization techniques have been developed to recreate natural landscapes, but little has been done to investigate their potential for illustrating land cover change using spatio-temporal data. In this work, remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS) and visualization techniques were applied to generate realistic computer visualizations depicting the dynamic nature of forested environments. High resolution digital imagery and aerial photography were classified using object-oriented methods. The resulting classifications, along with pre-existing land cover datasets, were used to drive the correct placement of vegetation in the visualized landscape, providing an accurate representation of reality at various points in time. 3D Nature's Visual Nature Studio was used to construct a variety of realistic images and animations depicting forest cover change in two distinct ecological settings. Visualizations from Yellowstone National Park focused on the dramatic impact of the 1988 fire upon the lodgepole pine forest. For a study area in Kansas, visualization techniques were used to explore the continuous human-land interactions impacting the eastern deciduous forest and tallgrass prairie ecotone between 1941 and 2002. The resulting products demonstrate the flexibility and effectiveness of visualizations for representing spatio-temporal patterns such as changing forest cover. These geographic visualizations allow users to communicate findings and explore new hypotheses in a clear, concise and effective manner.


Geography, Geology, and Planning

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Geocarto International