Alternative Projections for 3D Maps

Lightweight Relief Shearing for Enhanced Terrain Perception on Interactive Maps

Abstract: We explore interactive relief shearing, a set of non-intrusive, direct manipulation interactions that expose depth and shape information in terrain maps using ephemeral animations. Reading and interpreting topography and relief on terrain maps is an important aspect of map use, but extracting depth information from 2D maps is notoriously difficult. Modern mapping software attempts to alleviate this limitation by presenting digital terrain using 3D views. However, 3D views introduce occlusion, complicate distance estimations, and typically require more complex interactions. In contrast, our approach reveals depth information via shearing animations on 2D maps, and can be paired with existing interactions such as pan and zoom. We examine explicit, integrated, and hybrid interactions for triggering relief shearing and present a version that uses device tilt to control depth effects. Our evaluation shows that these interactive techniques improve depth perception when compared to standard 2D and perspective views.

Willett, W., Jenny, B., Isenberg, T. and Dragicevic, P. (2015).
Lightweight relief shearing for enhanced terrain perception on interactive maps.
Proceedings of the 33rd ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2015), Apr 2015, Seoul, South Korea, 3563–3572.


Buddeberg, J., Jenny, B., and Willett, W. (in press)
Interactive shearing for terrain visualization: an expert study.
Geoinformatica.

Plan Oblique Relief

Plan oblique relief is a digital technique for rendering three- dimensional terrain on otherwise planimetric (conventional flat) maps. Landforms shown realistically in side view have an illustrative quality that appeals to readers.

The Plan Oblique Europe map shows mountains with a side view.
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Also see our Crinkled Watercolor Map: The Stamen Watercolor Map with shading and plan oblique relief.

Jenny, B., Buddeberg, J., Hoarau, C. and Liem, J. (2015).
Plan oblique relief for web maps.
Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 42-5, p. 410–418..

Jenny, B. and Patterson, T. (2007).
Introducing plan oblique relief.
Cartographic Perspectives, 57, p. 21-40 and 88-90.

Jenny, B. (2008)
Otto Betschmanns Aerovue-Karten.
Cartographica Helvetica, 38, p. 13-20. English summary.

The Plan Oblique Europe map won these awards in 2014:
FOSS4G Most Unique Map Award
FOSS4G People's Choice Award
NACIS Student Dynamic Map Competition—Interactive
Honorable mention Ravenstein-Förderpreis of the German Cartographic Society

Projections for Terrain Rendering

We develop specialized projections for rendering terrain in digital 3D-maps. The figures on this page show experimental projections created with our prototype software showing terrain in unconventional ways.

Jenny, H., Jenny, B., Cartwright, W. and Hurni, L. (2011)
Creating panoramic strip format maps using interactive terrain deformation
In: Car, A., Griesebner, G. and Strobl, J. (eds), Geospatial Crossroads @ GI_Forum '11: Proceedings of the Geoinformatics Forum Salzburg, Wichmann, p. 41–50.

Jenny, B. (2004).
Bringing traditional panorama projections from the painter’s canvas to the digital realm.
Proceedings - 4th ICA Mountain Cartography Workshop, Vall de Núria. Monografies tècniques, Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya, Barcelona. p. 151-157.
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Also see our related research on Terrain Surface Deformation.
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