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Visibility Analysis with the Multiscale Implicit TIN

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Visibility analysis is now a key function of many geographical information systems. It is also one of the most contentious tools, as it is notoriously prone to error. The paper will demonstrate the versatility of the Multiscale Implicit Triangulated Irregular Network (TIN) for the application of intervisibility analysis at multiple resolutions. This approach allows for the integration of three-dimensional (3D) topographic features with the terrain surface. The multiscale TINs are derived from generalising digital contours at a variety of lateral tolerances. The models' performances are evaluated from an extensive field study undertaken in the South Wales valleys. Results suggest that the accuracy of intervisibility analysis is very dependent upon the availability of good quality 3D topographic data. In our study, such data were shown to improve visibility performance by more than 44% over its bare-earth TIN equivalent. Interestingly, generalisation of the TINs had very little effect on visibility performance. In addition, a Monte Carlo approach to sensitivity analysis was found to be detrimental to the accuracy of visibility prediction in the full terrain and topographic models. However, this probable approach can improve intervisibility performance by up to 18% on a bare-earth TIN. The range of these visibility modelling scenarios demonstrate the flexibility of the Multiscale Implicit TIN for digital surface modelling.

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Glamorgan, 2: Cardiff University

Publication date: 2001-01-01

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