92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Thursday, 26 January 2012: 1:45 PM
Revisiting 3D Stereo Satellite Image Displays
Room 356 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Frederick R. Mosher, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL
Manuscript (652.2 kB)

Over 30 years ago, there were a number of development efforts to display 3D stereo satellite images and associated weather. Hassler (1981a) showed how the GOES-east and west could be remapped to generate true stereo pairs for obtaining cloud heights. Hassler (1981b) also showed how artificial stereo images could be generated using derived IR cloud heights to generate parallax shifts for the visible or infrared images. While there was a flurry of interest in the 1980's, the techniques had largely fallen from routine usage until recently. However, technology advances in both satellites and display technology has allowed for the possible routine use of 3D stereo images. The human brain allows for depth perception by processing the parallax differences between the two images captured by the eyes. Objects closer to the viewer have a larger parallax shift than those further away. Since the two GOES satellites are viewing a cloud from two different angles, there is a parallax displacement of the higher clouds relative to the lower clouds. Remapping the two images into a common projection and viewing them in a stereo display allows one to see height differences in the clouds. Figure 1 shows a GOES stereo display for August 6, 2011 at 14:30 UTC over the Midwest. The technology for the display of the stereo image pairs has evolved during the past 150 years. During the late 1800's, stereo image pair viewers were widely used for static images. Starting in the 1950's, 3D movies using red/green or red/cyan glasses had a brief period of popularity. The red filter allows one image to be seen by the left eye and the other green (or cyan) image by the right eye. Figure 1 uses this anaglyph technology with the left eye having the red image and the right having the cyan. The figure image was originally generated by remapping the 1 km GOES visible images into a common rectilinear projection and having the GOES-west remapped displayed with the red gun of the TV and the GOES-east remapped image displayed in the green and blue guns. While the colored glasses works for black and white images, it cannot work for color images, which limits the use of this technology in weather displays wanting to use multiple color enhancements of graphics. Recently 3D TV displays have become readily available which use special glasses to rapidly switch the left and right eyes on and off synchronized with the TV display. This allows for full color 3D displays. The anticipated wide scale use of 3D TVs has prompted this study. The geometric 3D images are generated by remapping two satellites with different viewing angles. The remapped GOES visible images needed to be at the same time. When the technique was originally developed in the 1980's the GOES-east and west scanning times were displaced by 15 minutes, which prevented the use of the stereo pairs for routine operations. Starting in the mid 90's the GOES satellites both routinely scan at 15 minute intervals, with the scanning times within 2 minutes of each other. Hence routine 3D real stereo image generation is now feasible. The 1 km visible images have the largest pixel parallax displacement, with approximately 1 km of parallax displacement for every km of cloud height. This causes a problem for the lower resolution 4 (8) km infrared channels, in that the parallax displacement is only a few pixels for most clouds, resulting in poor 3D visual displays. Likewise for channels where most of the information is in a narrow vertical band (such as the 6.7 micron water vapor channel where most the image is a higher levels), the 3D stereo displays are disappointing. Finally the sub-point location of GOES-east and west result in the western and central US having routine stereo viewing, but the eastern US is not scanned routinely by the GOES-west, so cannot be used for geometric 3D stereo displays. As shown by Fritz et. al. (1981b), artificial stereo displays can be generated by using the cloud heights derived from the IR to shift the images left and right for display. Likewise weather graphics can be shifted according to their height to generate complimentary graphical overlays. However the colored glasses viewing technique limited the displays to black and white images, which restricted the use of the graphical overlays. With the new 3D TV technologies, this problem is no longer present. This allows for 3D satellite displays everywhere with the height/parallax displacement under user control. This allows for reduced resolution wide area 3D displays, use of color enhancements, and the overlay of weather graphics. References: Hasler, A. F. , 1981; Stereographic Observations from Geosynchronous Satellites: An Important New Tool for Atmospheric Sciences. Bull. A. Meteorol. Soc., 62, 194-212. Hasler, A. F. M. DesJardins, and A. J. Negri, 1981: Artificial Stereo Presentation of Meteorological Data Fields. Bull. A. Meteorol. Soc., 62, 970-973.

Supplementary URL: http://wx.erau.edu/erau_sat/