83rd Annual

Tuesday, 11 February 2003: 4:25 PM
VRML-based visualization of GIS data for a Marine Sanctuary
Tiffany C. Vance, NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service, Seattle, WA; and N. Merati, C. Moore, and C. Alexander
Poster PDF (435.0 kB)
NOAA's Cordell Bank Marine Sanctuary is a 526-square mile sanctuary located 50 miles northwest of San Francisco. The Sanctuary encompasses Cordell Bank - a pinnacle rising from the seafloor to within 120 feet of the sea surface - and the surrounding waters. a part of a review of management plans for the Sanctuary, an extensive GIS has been created. Data layers include bathymetry, topography, Sanctuary boundaries and coastlines, sea surface temperature (CTD) data, bottom type, and hydroacoustic and other datasets for fish abundances. To improve the ability of Sanctuary managers, scientists and the general public to understand the patterns and processes occurring at the Sanctuary, we have created a 3D virtual world with these datasets. The goal of this project is to enable users to visualize the Sanctuary as a 3D entity rather than as a series of 2-dimensional maps.

For the visualizations in this project we have used a variety of packages to create VRML files that have been meshed to produce the final view. VRML was chosen for its flexibility, ease of transfer and for the viewing options it allows users. ESRI's ArcView product has been used to create VRML files for the coastlines, shorelines, bottom type and the bathymetry. CTech's EVS product has created files for the CTD data and the hydroacoustic data. A web page using a Java applet and the VRML External Authoring Interface (EAI) to change the VRML scene graph depending on the user's choice of data. We are also packaging a number of the techniques we have developed to make them easily used as a part of a GeoViz toolkit.

This paper will discuss the datasets, the technologies we have used and developed to create the visualizations and plans for future implementations and the creation of a GeoViz toolkit.

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