Ocean (2009)

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3 Responses

  1. I’ve just started to do some 3-D modeling with GEBCO data

    http://kitwallace.tumblr.com/post/78065857357/3d-modeling-land-and-seas

    and came across this lovely work. I wondered what the height exaggeration actually was in this model. I calculate that the average shell thickness would only be 0.5% of the radius if it was to scale whereas it looks like about 10% in the print. ie. 20 fold. I was wondering what your thoughts were on the message this exaggeration leaves on the viewer. Of course such distortions are a core problem of all visualisations and I’ve used a factor of 5 on my small area prints.

  2. Peter Morse says:

    Chris – thanks for your kind words! From memory I think we were using a 10x exaggeration in this render – though I am uncertain as it was a few years ago. I’ll ask Paul – he may be able to dig up details.

    We experimented with various scales (see e.g.: http://paulbourke.net/miscellaneous/oceans/ )- both for fulldome & 3D printing (http://www.petermorse.com.au/2009/09/visualising-gebco-a-new-way-of-seeing-the-global-oceans/) and found that different outcomes were desirable: for printing fairly extreme exaggeration is useful, both from a mechanical POV (i.e. establishing a manifold mesh; material strength, dependent upon the medium) and for aesthetic/insight reasons (e.g. ‘handleablity’ – some notion of haptics here), whereas things can be quite different and variable for screen purposes, obviously.

    This is a very striking viz of the ‘actuality’: http://water.usgs.gov/edu/earthhowmuch.html

    So, I take your point that this representation is potentially ‘misleading’ in some respects – though, as you say, that is precisely the problem: how to show it at all? And what do we show? And in what kind of new way? It’s always going to be a trade off, and I guess the point is to be explicit about that – but how, exactly, is a good question.

    Anyway, I am keen to follow what what you are doing and seeing how it develops – very interesting!

  3. Hi Peter, many thanks for your comprehensive reply – I think your niece rather nicely illustrates the problem in the other blog post when she is amazed by the ‘realistic depth and volume’ of the oceans. I re-did the numbers and see I was out by a factor of 10 – average depth 4.3km, radius of Earth 6371km so water is 0.07% i.e the thickness of a sheet of 80gm paper in a soccer ball. So the real challenge is to illustrate the extreme fagility of the water layer.

    So I’m just of to make a model of the Mariana Trench . Perhaps no exaggeration will be required at all! .Wonderful to have such great opendata sources available.

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