Assessing the applicability and effectiveness of 3D visualisation in environmental impact assessment
Computerised 3D models are more intuitive and rich in landscape detail. They are considered an essential visualisation method for the presentation of environmental data with spatial contents. The 3D technology has been increasingly applied in environmental impact assessment (EIA) and urban planning to view and better appreciate human impacts on the environment. Their uses are not restricted to the professionals. Because of their great likeness to the natural world, 3D representations have also been employed to convey information to the general population through public hearings, workshops, and the Internet. The use of 3D visualisation in EIA applications is not without problems, particularly for those without the necessary skills in computer operations and map comprehension. This paper is an assessment of the applicability and effectiveness of 3D visualisation in EIA. First we illustrate different scenarios of 3D portrayals in environmental management. This is followed by a discussion about the problems and concerns of using 3D visualisation in presenting environmental data. These issues are examined in greater detail to highlight various technical considerations and types of data suitable (or not suitable) for the implementation of 3D models. A reference is made to the potential incorporation of feedback mechanisms in a 3D system intended for public participation.
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