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Visualisation techniques to support public interpretation of future climate change and land-use choices: a case study from N-E Scotland.

Wang, Chen; Miller, David; Brown, Iain; Jiang, Yang; Castellazzi, Marie


Chen Wang

David Miller

Iain Brown

Marie Castellazzi


Mitigating and adapting to climate change includes a requirement to evaluate the role of future land uses in delivering robust integrated responses that are sensitive to local landscape contexts. In practice, this emphasises the need for community engagement, planning and inclusive decision-making. Community engagement may be potentially facilitated by the use of spatially explicit quantitative scenarios of land-use change in combination with interactive visualisation. This requires a coherent framework to integrate spatial data modelling, analytical capabilities and visualisation tools in a format that will also engage diverse public audiences. These challenges were explored with a case study of virtual landscapes from N-E Scotland that was used to test preferences for scenarios of future land use. Visualisations employed texture-based rendering rather than full photo-realistic rendering to facilitate interactivity and this provided additional scope for audiences to explore multiple future scenarios compared to the present landscape. Interactive voting in a virtual landscape theatre suggested preferences for visual diversity, good stewardship and perceived naturalness that should be considered in developing planned responses to change. Further investigation of preferences was conducted using interactive 3D features located within the landscape. Study findings are reviewed against objectives for inclusive engagement in the Digital Earth agenda and used to make further recommendations on the use of scenarios and visualisation tools. In particular, technical advances in user engagement need to be developed in conjunction with emerging good practice that addresses ethical, behavioural and inclusion issues so that the content is presented in as transparent and unbiased format as possible.


WANG, C., MILLER, D., BROWN, I., JIANG, Y. and CASTELLAZZI, M. 2015. Visualisation techniques to support public interpretation of future climate change and land-use choices: a case study from N-E Scotland. International journal of digital earth [online], 9(6), pages 586-605. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 20, 2015
Online Publication Date Nov 17, 2015
Publication Date Jun 30, 2016
Deposit Date Feb 17, 2017
Publicly Available Date Feb 17, 2017
Journal International journal of digital earth
Print ISSN 1753-8947
Electronic ISSN 1753-8955
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 6
Pages 586-605
Keywords Landscape visualisation; Geographic information systems; Landuse scenarios; Public participation; Knowledge exchange
Public URL


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