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Worlds-in-Wedges: Combining Worlds-in-Miniature and Portals to Support Comparative Immersive Visualization of Forestry Data

Journal Article

Worlds-in-Wedges: Combining Worlds-in-Miniature and Portals to Support Comparative Immersive Visualization of Forestry Data. Jung Who Nam, Krista McCullough, Joshua Tveite, Maria Molina Espinosa, Charles H. Perry, Barry T. Wilson, Daniel F. Keefe. IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (VR) (2019)

Abstract

Virtual reality (VR) environments are typically designed so users feel present in a single virtual world at a time, but this creates a problem for applications that require visual comparisons (e.g., forest scientists comparing multiple data-driven virtual forests). To address this, we present Worlds-in-Wedges, a 3D user interface and visualization technique that supports comparative immersive visualization by dividing the virtual space surrounding the user into volumetric wedges. There are three visual/interactive levels. The first, worlds-in-context, visualizes high-level relationships between the worlds (e.g., a map for worlds that are related in space). The second level, worlds-in-miniature, is a multi-instance implementation of the World-in-Miniature technique extended to support mutlivari-ate glyph visualization. The third level, worlds-in-wedges, displays multiple large-scale worlds in wedges that act as volumetric portals. The interface supports navigation, selection, and view manipulation. Since the techniques were inspired directly by problems facing forest scientists, the interface was evaluated by building a complete multivariate data visualization of the US Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis public dataset. Scientist user feedback and lessons from iterative design are reported.

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