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Proceedings Paper

Navigation techniques for large-scale astronomical exploration
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Paper Abstract

Navigating effectively in virtual environments at human scales is a difficult problem. However, it is even more difficult to navigate in large-scale virtual environments such as those simulating the physical Universe; the huge spatial range of astronomical simulations and the dominance of empty space make it hard for users to acquire reliable spatial knowledge of astronomical contexts. This paper introduces a careful combination of navigation and visualization techniques to resolve the unique problems of large-scale real-time exploration in terms of travel and wayfinding. For large-scale travel, spatial scaling techniques and constrained navigation manifold methods are adapted to the large spatial scales of the virtual Universe. We facilitate large-scale wayfinding and context awareness using visual cues such as power-of-10 reference cubes, continuous exponential zooming into points of interest, and a scalable world-in-miniature (WIM) map. These methods enable more effective exploration and assist with accurate context-model building, thus leading to improved understanding of virtual worlds in the context of large-scale astronomy.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 January 2006
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 6060, Visualization and Data Analysis 2006, 60600K (16 January 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.648287
Show Author Affiliations
Chi-Wing Fu, The Hong Kong Univ. of Science and Technology (Hong Kong China)
Andrew J. Hanson, Indiana Univ. (United States)
Eric A. Wernert, Indiana Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6060:
Visualization and Data Analysis 2006
Robert F. Erbacher; Jonathan C. Roberts; Matti T. Gröhn; Katy Börner, Editor(s)

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