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The technique of distance decayed visibility for forest landscape visualization

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The paper discusses an approach known as ‘distance-decayed visibility', implemented using GIS, to the composition of 3D scenes for static forest landscape visualization. The distance-decay concept is employed to model a spatial interaction in terms of visibility between any observation points and vegetations visible from those points. The vegetation visibility is measured in level of detail where high visibility uses high level of detail and vice versa. The interaction is modelled mathematically using an exponential decay function. The point distribution of projected models on a 3D scene is calculated in GIS to assign an appropriate value of ‘visibility decay constant' to relate the distance from the observation point to the vegetations with the level of detail of the vegetations in the function. The advantages of the technique as measured against the quantitative benchmarks of rendering time and the number of polygons computed are addressed. Although the forest landscape of the study area consists of a large number of vegetation models, the technique helps to model the relation of vegetation visibility and viewing distance so realistically that the technique yields the visual quality of the result 3D scene visually and statistically comparable to the finest resolution scene.

Keywords: 3D‐visualization; Distance‐decay; Forest landscape; GIS; Level of detail; Vegetation modelling; Vegetation visibility

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute of Geography, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 8XP, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2005

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