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3D Spatial Data Infrastructures for web-based Visualization

Schilling, Arne

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In this thesis, concepts for developing Spatial Data Infrastructures with an emphasis on visualizing 3D landscape and city models in distributed environments are discussed. Spatial Data Infrastructures are important for public authorities in order to perform tasks on a daily basis, and serve as research topic in geo-informatics. Joint initiatives at national and international level exist for harmonizing procedures and technologies. Interoperability is an important aspect in this context - as enabling technology for sharing, distributing, and connecting geospatial data and services. The Open Geospatial Consortium is the main driver for developing international standards in this sector and includes government agencies, universities and private companies in a consensus process. 3D city models are becoming increasingly popular not only in desktop Virtual Reality applications but also for being used in professional purposes by public authorities. Spatial Data Infrastructures focus so far on the storage and exchange of 3D building and elevation data. For efficient streaming and visualization of spatial 3D data in distributed network environments such as the internet, concepts from the area of real time 3D Computer Graphics must be applied and combined with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). For example, scene graph data structures are commonly used for creating complex and dynamic 3D environments for computer games and Virtual Reality applications, but have not been introduced in GIS so far. In this thesis, several aspects of how to create interoperable and service-based environments for 3D spatial data are addressed. These aspects are covered by publications in journals and conference proceedings. The introductory chapter provides a logic succession from geometrical operations for processing raw data, to data integration patterns, to system designs of single components, to service interface descriptions and workflows, and finally to an architecture of a complete distributed service network. Digital Elevation Models are very important in 3D geo-visualization systems. Data structures, methods and processes are described for making them available in service based infrastructures. A specific mesh reduction method is used for generating lower levels of detail from very large point data sets. An integration technique is presented that allows the combination with 2D GIS data such as roads and land use areas. This approach allows using another optimization technique that greatly improves the usability for immersive 3D applications such as pedestrian navigation: flattening road and water surfaces. It is a geometric operation, which uses data structures and algorithms found in numerical simulation software implementing Finite Element Methods. 3D Routing is presented as a typical application scenario for detailed 3D city models. Specific problems such as bridges, overpasses and multilevel networks are addressed and possible solutions described. The integration of routing capabilities in service infrastructures can be accomplished with standards of the Open Geospatial Consortium. An additional service is described for creating 3D networks and for generating 3D routes on the fly. Visualization of indoor routes requires different representation techniques. As server interface for providing access to all 3D data, the Web 3D Service has been used and further developed. Integrating and handling scene graph data is described in order to create rich virtual environments. Coordinate transformations of scene graphs are described in detail, which is an important aspect for ensuring interoperability between systems using different spatial reference systems. The Web 3D Service plays a central part in nearly all experiments that have been carried out. It does not only provide the means for interactive web-visualizations, but also for performing further analyses, accessing detailed feature information, and for automatic content discovery. OpenStreetMap and other worldwide available datasets are used for developing a complete architecture demonstrating the scalability of 3D Spatial Data Infrastructures. Its suitability for creating 3D city models is analyzed, according to requirements set by international standards. A full virtual globe system has been developed based on OpenStreetMap including data processing, database storage, web streaming and a visualization client. Results are discussed and compared to similar approaches within geo-informatics research, clarifying in which application scenarios and under which requirements the approaches in this thesis can be applied.

Document type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Zipf, Prof. Alexander
Date of thesis defense: 27 June 2014
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2014 10:24
Date: 27 June 2014
Faculties / Institutes: Fakultät für Chemie und Geowissenschaften > Institute of Geography
DDC-classification: 004 Data processing Computer science
550 Earth sciences
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