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3D Geographic Reconstruction and Visualization Techniques Applied to Land Resource Management

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Optimized land resource management depends on reliable and detailed information describing the spatial distribution of soils, geology, topography, and land use. Soil–landscapes are three–dimensional (3D) systems commonly represented using 2D maps utilizing geographic information systems. Addressing 3D soil–landscape reality is crucial for land resource management in terms of crop growth and transport processes (e.g. nitrate leaching) that are driving soil and water quality. Our objective was to investigate the usefulness of 3D geographic information technology (GIT) applied to land resource management. Our approach is based on 2D and 3D ordinary kriging interpolating surface and subsurface attributes to reconstruct soil–landscapes. We used Virtual Reality Modeling Language, which is a web–based 3D graphics language, to visualize objects (e.g. voxels, polyhedrons) representing soil and landscape attributes. We produced a 3D block model showing the spatial distribution of bulk densities and relief for a site in southern Wisconsin and a 3D stratigraphic model showing the spatial distribution of soil horizons and relief for a site in northern Florida. Emerging GIT was used to develop 3D soil–landscape models describing continuous changes of soil and landscape attributes. Combining multimedia elements (e.g. WWW, 3D visualization, and interactivity) can produce insight that would not arise from use of the elements alone. Three–dimensional scientific visualization is a powerful tool to help us see what is invisible from above the ground.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Florida [email protected] 2: University of Wisconsin–Madison

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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