2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (22–25 October 2006)

Paper No. 14
Presentation Time: 11:15 AM


MITASOVA, Helena, Marine Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, MITAS, Lubos, Department of Physics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695 and HARMON, Russell S., US Army Research Office, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, helena_mitasova@ncsu.edu

Land surface topography forms the boundary between the solid earth and its surficial cover and the hydrosphere and atmosphere. It distributes incoming solar radiation and controls air, water, and mass fluxes and, therefore, exerts a critical influence on physical processes, ecosystems, and human activities. Therefore, understanding topography – its character, properties, behavior, and human interaction – is fundamental for many academic, industry, and government different geoscience activities and this need provides a driving force for research to develop enhanced terrain analysis and visualization tools.

Emerging technologies that combine the flexibility of digital landscape representation with 3-D physical models open new possibilities for user interaction with geospatial data. Virtual terrain modeling tools are particularly effective in combination with geographic information systems and numerical landscape process models. A prototype tangible geospatial modeling environment will be described that allows users to interact with landscape analysis and simulations using a tangible physical model and its use illustrated through an exploration of various structure placement and terrain modification scenarios for sediment control and flood prevention in a small watershed on the North Carolina State University experimental farm.