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Interactive Rendering Techniques for Focus+Context Visualization of 3D Geovirtual Environments

This thesis introduces a collection of new real-time rendering techniques and applications for focus+context visualization of interactive 3D geovirtual environments such as virtual 3D city and landscape models. These environments are generally characterized by a large number of objects and are of high complexity with respect to geometry and textures. For these reasons, their interactive 3D rendering represents a major challenge. Their 3D depiction implies a number of weaknesses such as occlusions, cluttered image contents, and partial screen-space usage.

To overcome these limitations and, thus, to facilitate the effective communication of geo-information, principles of focus+context visualization can be used for the design of real-time 3D rendering techniques for 3D geovirtual environments. In general, detailed views of a 3D geovirtual environment are combined seamlessly with abstracted views of the context within a single image. To perform the real-time image synthesis required for interactive visualization, dedicated parallel processors (GPUs) for rasterization of computer graphics primitives are used. For this purpose, the design and implementation of appropriate data structures and rendering pipelines are necessary. The contribution of this work comprises the following five real-time rendering methods:

  • RT-1: The rendering technique for 3D generalization lenses enables the combination of different 3D city geometries (e.g., generalized versions of a 3D city model) in an single image in real time. The method is based on a generalized and fragment-precise clipping approach, which uses a
    compressible, raster-based data structure. It enables the combination of detailed views in the focus area with the representation of abstracted variants in the context area.
  • RT-2: The rendering technique for the interactive visualization of dynamic raster data in 3D geovirtual environments facilitates the rendering of 2D surface lenses. It enables a flexible combination of different raster layers (e.g., aerial images or videos) using projective texturing for decoupling image and geometry data. Thus, various overlapping and nested 2D surface lenses of different contents can be visualized interactively.
  • RT-3: The interactive rendering technique for image-based deformation of 3D geovirtual environments enables the real-time image synthesis of non-planar projections, such as cylindrical and spherical projections, as well as multi-focal 3D fisheye-lenses and the combination of planar
    and non-planar projections.
  • RT-4: The rendering technique for view-dependent multi-perspective views of 3D geovirtual environments, based on the application of global deformations to the 3D scene geometry, can be used for synthesizing interactive panorama maps to combine detailed views close to the camera (focus) with abstract views in the background (context). This approach reduces occlusions, increase the usage the available screen space, and reduces the overload of image contents.
  • RT-5: The object-based and image-based rendering techniques for highlighting objects and focus areas inside and outside the view frustum facilitate preattentive perception. The concepts and implementations of interactive image synthesis for focus+context visualization and their selected applications enable a more effective communication of spatial information, and provide building blocks for design and development of new applications and systems in the field of 3D geovirtual environments.