Terrain Mapping for Interactive Visualization of Earthquake Datasets

T.-J. Hsieh, F. Kuester, and T.C. Hutchinson (USA)


Interactive Earthquake Data Visualization, Terrain Modeling.


This paper presents an interactive 3-D visualization and exploration tool designed to facilitate the intuitive analysis and interpretation of large-scale earthquake data sets. Digital Elevation Maps (DEMs) are used in combination with 3-D rendering, shading and data augmentation techniques to form easily interpretable and quantitative landscapes. A variety of imagery is texture mapped on top of the DEMs to better define the interconnectivity between diverse scientific information. Different geometric proxies are defined to represent historical earthquake events and color-coded to reflect earthquake year, magnitude, and other important parameters. The interactive environment facilitates the exploration of large-scale earthquake data sets in geologic and seismic application. Interactive rendering speeds are achieved on a 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 PC, running Windows XP, with 1GB RDRAM and GeForce4 graphics. An example application showing the interactive processing of earthquake data sets to aid in the analysis of historical events is discussed. When properly geo-referenced and treated, the data sets can be presented in a natural and intuitive form that facilitates the understanding of governing events and mechanisms. A sequence of earthquake events accompanying an eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980 is used to demonstrate the visualization techniques and their use as an interpretation tool.

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