Geografie 2009, 114, 169-178

Visualization of geospatial data: chaos in the dimensions

Radek Dušek1, Jakub Miřijovský2

1Katedra fyzické geografie a geoekologie Přírodovědecké fakulty Ostravské univerzity, Chittussiho 10, 710 00 Slezská Ostrava, Czechia
2Katedra geoinformatiky Přírodovědecké fakulty Univerzity Palackého, tř. Svobody 26, 771 46 Olomouc, Czechia

2D maps, 2.5D terrain models and 3D visualization are examples of terms which are widely used in computer science, geography, cartography and also in geoinformatics. What do they, however, really mean? The paper tries to clarify the common terminology. Only the issue of three-dimensional space is discussed, without incorporating time and other dimensions. The authors want to draw attention to the often misguiding and pointless use of terms relating to the expression of space. The original and correct terms, originating from informatics and spatial data processing, have been transferred to the field of visualization, in which they are often ill founded and incorrect. An example commonly used in the literature is a reference to perspective projection as a 3D view, etc. Furthermore, the paper points to collisions in the use of these terms. Despite the fact that the terms are already commonly used in the literature, the authors recommend a change of the terms, especially in view of further technological developments in the field of spatial data visualization.


2D, 2.5D, 3D, visualization, space.


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