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Well-posed geoscientific visualization through interactive color mapping

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Morse, PE, Reading, AM ORCID: 0000-0002-9316-7605 and Stal, T ORCID: 0000-0002-4323-6748 2019 , 'Well-posed geoscientific visualization through interactive color mapping' , Frontiers in Earth Science, vol. 7, no. OCT , pp. 1-17 , doi: 10.3389/feart.2019.00274.

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Abstract

Scientific visualization aims to present numerical values, or categorical information, in a way that enables the researcher to make an inference that furthers knowledge. Well-posed visualizations need to consider the characteristics of the data, the display environment, and human visual capacity. In the geosciences, visualizations are commonly applied to spatially varying continuous information or results. In this contribution we make use of a suite of newly written computer applications which enable spatially varying data to be displayed in a performant graphics environment. We present a comparison of color-mapping using illustrative color spaces (RGB, CIELAB). The interactive applications display the gradient paths through the chosen color spaces. This facilitates the creation of color-maps that accommodate the non-uniformity of human color perception, producing an image where genuine features are seen. We also take account of aspects of a dataset such as parameter uncertainty. For an illustrative case study using a seismic tomography result, we find that the use of RGB color-mapping can introduce non-linearities in the visualization, potentially leading to incorrect inference. Interpolation in CIELAB color space enables the creation of perceptually uniform linear gradients that match the underlying data, along with a simply computable metric for color difference, ΔE. This color space assists accuracy and reproducibility of visualization results. Well-posed scientific visualization requires both “visual literacy” and “visual numeracy” on an equal footing with clearly written text. It is anticipated that this current work, with the included color-maps and software, will lead to wider usage of informed color-mapping in the geosciences.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Morse, PE and Reading, AM and Stal, T
Keywords: data visualization, seismic tomography, feature identification, color mapping, color space, CIELab, RGB
Journal or Publication Title: Frontiers in Earth Science
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN: 2296-6463
DOI / ID Number: 10.3389/feart.2019.00274
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 Morse, Reading and Stål. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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