Communicating flood risk through 3D visualization: informing model design through the uncanny valley

Authors: Frank LaFone*, West Virginia University, Trevor Harris, West Virginia University
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: GIS, Hazards, 3D, Geovisualization
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Roosevelt 5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Communicating about natural hazard risk between experts and the general public is invariably problematic and this particularly applies to flood mapping. One approach to influence stakeholder behavior and response to such risk threats is to make such messages locally relevant and personal. Abstract representations of flooding in the form of 2D maps are not always intuitively understood by the general public and communicating about flood risk is a challenging boundary object. 3D modeling and geovisualization could provide one potential avenue to bridge the divide between the differing levels of knowledge and understanding. However, adding the third dimension introduces considerable resource overheads into the mapping project not least if the intent is to engage the layperson through a representation of their personal structure in a flood mapping scenario. Despite the availability of rule-based modeling software such as CityEngine, customizing 3D models in terms of accuracy and detail can be labor intensive especially when dealing with tens of thousands of structures. In this paper we discuss how concepts of the uncanny valley might help inform system design about establishing the verisimilitude required for the layperson to cognitively appreciate the architecture of their structure, and its place and risk in the flood map representation.

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