Information to Participation

From Information to Participation – Interactive Landscape Visualization as a Tool for Collaborative Planning

In this PhD thesis at the Institute for Spatial and Landscape Planning, ETH Zurich, I analyse the benefits of interactivity for the use of 3d landscape visualizations as a tool in participative planning. Two research questions guide the research: The first research question asks: How can different types of interaction with landscape visualizations facilitate the process and improve the outcome of collaborative planning? Hypotheses are formulated on the basis of the qualities of collaborative planning. The hypotheses are tested in a multiple-case study in the Entlebuch UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in central Switzerland. The second research question asks: Are there any relationships between user group characteristics and user preferences for different types of interactions? In this question, the users are the focus. Their rankings of importance are queried in a quantitative survey on different visualization features related to interactivity.

In the results, it is shown that interactivity is very important if 3d landscape visualizations are used to facilitate participation. Evidence for this proposition is presented for the analysis of participative workshops as well as it is documented for the specific planning outcomes of two cases. Based on these results, further recommendations for the use of interactive 3d landscape visualizations in planning are given.

Download the abstract from the ETH library (103 kb)

Download the full thesis from the ETH libary (46,35 MB)

Citation: Schroth, Olaf Gerhard. From information to participation – Interactive landscape visualization as a tool for collaborative planning. ETH (2007). http://e-collection.ethbib.ethz.ch/view/eth:30427

Interactive examples

Figure 3.19: 3D landscape visualization of moorlandscape in Entlebuch (LU) Switzerland from Olaf on Vimeo. The video relates to figures 3.18 and 3.19 in the PhD thesis. You can download a demo installation here.

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Figure 10.2: Interactive prototype for an expert interface for scenario navigation (image: Schroth and Ode, in Miller et al. 2006). Please try the sliders and buttons.


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