Conveying a Sense of Scale in 3D Planetary Environments

Martin Riegelnegg

Supervisor(s): Thomas Ortner

VRVis Research Center

Abstract: 3D visualizations of Mars enable the remote exploration of the Martian surface in great detail and play an essential role in planetary science, mission planning, and the communication of scientific findings. Due to the unfamiliar environment depicted in these visualizations, conveying a sense of scale is necessary. In this paper, we characterize the problem space of conveying scale in 3D visualizations of Mars projected onto a 2D screen and design representations that satisfy the requirements of specific use-cases. We discuss challenges posed by different types of scale, magnitudes of scale, and levels of expertise. The designed representations include scale-bars, scale-boxes, known-object-comparison, true-layer-thickness, contour-lines, vertical exaggeration, and distance shading. We received informal feedback for each representation from a planetary scientist. The feedback suggests that our representations are capable of conveying a sense of scale in 3D visualizations of Mars for their use-cases.
Keywords: Scientific Visualization
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Year: 2019