VIRTUAL DATA SPHERE: INVERSE STEREOGRAPHIC PROJECTION FOR IMMERSIVE MULTI-PERSPECTIVE GEOVISUALIZATION
Keywords: Geovisualization, Virtual Reality, Immersive Analytics, Multi-Perspective Views, Focus+Context
Abstract. Immersive geospatial visualization finds increasing application for navigation, exploration, and analysis. Many such require the display of data at different scales, often in views with three-dimensional geometry. Multi-view solutions, such as focus+context, overview+detail, and distorted projections can show different scales at the same time, and help place an area of interest within its surroundings. By inverting the principle of stereographic projection – projecting spatial features from a map onto a virtual sphere which surrounds the viewer – we present a novel technique for immersive geospatial focus+context that aims to mitigate problems with existing solutions. This sphere can intersect the map, dividing it into two parts: the inside of the sphere, which stays unchanged, and the outside, which gets projected to the surface, resulting in an inversion of the lens metaphor by distorting the context instead of the focus. This detail-in-context visualization maximizes the amount of context that can be legibly shown by the smooth compression inherent to the stereographic projection, and by utilizing otherwise unused screen space in the sky. The projection method allows for easy control over the projection and distortion characteristics by varying only two main parameters – the sphere’s radius and its position. The omnidirectional nature of our system makes it particularly well-suited for immersive displays by accommodating typical immersive exploration and fully utilizing the additional visual space available. Applying our system to an urban environment, we were able to solicit positive reactions during feedback sessions with experts from urbanism.