SPHΘRIPHΦR - Spherical Metaphor

Contents

Spheriphor Overview

My intent is to develop a novel spherical metaphor for multi-dimensional data visualization on a digital dome projection system. This spherical metaphor, or to coin a term “Spheriphor,” takes advantage of the opportunity to visualize high-density, multi-dimensional data using spherical coordinate systems. Virtual Globes may also use the Spheriphor to display non-GIS data. The Spheriphor opens a door into a new universe of rich visual metaphors based on spherical geodesic geometry and a Whole Systems Framework.

Buckminster Fuller Challenge Application

ISDE5 Technology Demonstration

Spheriphor Study 01

Spheriphor Study 02

Spheriphor Study 01

Spheriphor Study 02

Spheriphor Study 03

Spheriphor Study 04

Spheriphor Study 03

Spheriphor Study 04

Advanced to 2nd Stage of
Buckminster Fuller Challenge

FAQ - Digital Dome Projection System

Digital Fulldome Visual Acuity Limit

Spheriphor Study 05

 

Spheriphor Studies

To the right are links to studies for the creation of a visual metaphor for representing complex data clusters using spherical coordinate systems.

Trademark and License

The term SPHERIPHOR and the special spelling SPHΘRIPHΦR using the Greek letters phi (Θ) and theta (Φ) are trademark words coined by the author/inventor Thomas J. Greenbaum as a compound of the words "SPHERIcal" and "metaPHOR." Included in the Spheriphor Studies are 3D images and animations rendered with POV-Ray. Examples of POV-Ray scene description language source code is provided "as is" for the reader to use and experiment with.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Presentation Submitted to ISDE5

The following is my abstract submitted to the call for presentations at the 5th International Symposium on Digital Earth (ISDE5).


SPHERICAL METAPHOR (SPHERIPHOR) FOR GEOSCOPE MULTI-DIMENSIONAL DATA VISUALIZATION

This technology demonstration offers a innovative method for visualizing multi-dimensional data on a half-sphere (full-dome) Geoscope. The intent is to realize the Geoscope vision of R. Buckminster Fuller as stated in his Critical Path, “With the Geoscope humanity would be able to recognize formerly invisible patterns and thereby to forecast and plan in vastly greater magnitude than heretofore.”

While Virtual Globe technology has advanced considerably, Fuller’s original Geoscope design for a suspended, computer-controlled, globe for large audiences remains mostly unfulfilled.

There are more than 100 digital dome planetarium theaters worldwide. Their inside-out viewing and computer-driven capabilities are inspiring. Complete digital dome systems can be obtained for a fraction of the cost estimated by Fuller for a large-scale Geoscope (1962). However, an outside-in viewable, suspended Geoscope awaits practical realization.

At the Intel Rio Grande Innovation Centre, where I am Director, we have on display a nine LCD screens controlled by a single powerful desktop computer using off-the-shelf components at a nominal cost. Similar components can be adapted to create a small Geoscope.

3D animation demonstrates a portable Geoscope design which includes a full-dome projection system. Small, powerful projectors are arranged symmetrically around the outside of a translucent dome. The dome, approximately 3.4 meters in diameter, is hung from a frame which also supports the projectors. Combined image resolution is 8-10 megapixels. The ephemeral frame is 10.6 meters in diameter and can itself be floor-mounted or hung by cables.

The Geoscope is shown being erected in a high-school gymnasium. A large audience on bleachers views a hemi-spherical projection of the Earth nearly unobstructed. Because projectors are outside of the dome projecting inward, the interior of the dome is completely unobstructed for a small number of occupants to participate in a 360-degree immersive experience.

Projection areas are arranged around the dome based on a polyhedral design providing several benefits: simplified UV mapping, minimal projection area overlap feathering, and optimized pixel resolution.

Lastly, the demonstration unveils a novel spherical metaphor for multi-dimensional data visualization on the Geoscope. This spherical metaphor, or to coin a term “Spheriphor,” addresses the need for displaying data that is not necessarily geo-referenced.

Significant benefit accrues from visualizing geo-referenced data overlaid on global Earth maps. In addition, using a Spheriphor, the Geoscope offers an opportunity to visualize high-density, multi-dimensional data with non-GIS metaphors. Virtual Globes may also use the Spheriphor to display non-GIS data.

3D animation demonstrates how the metaphysical Spheriphor design is implemented on a physical Geoscope to enable a cognitively empowering environment. The intent is to enhance humans’ ability to interface with multi-dimensional data sets using a fully-immersive, full-dome, outside-in, projection system.

The Spheriphor departs from the way that spreadsheets and charts use mostly rectangular, flat display formats. With the Geoscope we are no longer constrained with thinking about data inside a box; using the Cartesian framework to visualize data. The Spheriphor opens a door into a new universe of rich visual metaphors based on spherical geodesic geometry and a Whole Systems Framework.

As an example of a Spheriphor application, the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) Design Revolution Project Library is given a project tracking interface on the Geoscope. BFI tracks a large number of projects with design artifacts ranging from micro-cosmic nanostructures to macro-cosmic global infrastructure solutions. The Spheriphor promises to aid the Design Science Revolution and the Design Science Planning Process by making visible the patterns of rapidly advancing technology.

The Spheriphor uses spherical coordinates to visualize multi-dimensional data on the Geoscope. In this demonstration, phi φ (zenith angle, or latitude) represents the Design Science Planning phase. The Define Problem phase is close to zenith and the Develop Artifacts phase is close to the horizon. Theta θ (azimuth angle, or longitude) represents the macro-to-micro scale of the design artifact.

3D animation demonstrates the Spheriphor use-case scenario in detail. Click on a project and it rises to the zenith of the dome. Geodesic lines connect this project with other designs showing the macro-to-micro inter-dependencies of components and systems. In this way, Buckminster Fuller’s principle of Synergetic Advantage may be visually detected.

Technical Requirements: The entire demonstration is played from a single Quicktime movie file. The 3D animation is developed with POV-Ray. All POV-Ray scene description language source code for the 3D animation, Spheriphor and Geoscope design is available from my personal website at: www.karmatetra.com/isde5/ Attendees may also view examples of my past work on this website.

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Selected Quotes

“With the Geoscope humanity would be able to recognize formerly invisible patterns and thereby to forecast and plan in vastly greater magnitude than heretofore.

“For the first time in all human history humanity’s function as local Universe information-gatherer and local Univers problem-solver will be a practical reality, using the whole of Earth’s comprehensive resources and data, and incisive, computer-augmented problem-solving capabilities with all humanity’s spontaneous democratic participation, allowing humankind to use its intellect to the fullest in attempting to make our existence successful.”

Even using today's technology, the Geoscope and Fuller's concept for a "World Resources Simulation Center" is still an ambitious project in terms of hardware, modeling software, programming, and data collection/analysis.

Even using today's technology, the Geoscope is an ambitious project in terms of hardware, programming, and data collection/analysis. The EARTHscope is a step towards realizing this dream. Using readily available software, web-friendly presentations of critical issues can be quickly built and easily displayed almost anywhere in the world.

Our hope is that ES will be the first in a new series of dramatically effective educational tools for positive world change

When maps are combined with supporting graphics, imagery, sound and text, all the essential ingredients are present for an engaging geo-storytelling experience.

By increasing the interactivity of maps to include the ability to turn on and off layers of visual information, zoom and pan from global to local view, and animate changes over time, the depth of the story is significantly enhanced.

The EARTHscope (ES) concept is based on Fuller's designs for an immersive, 200-foot Geoscope globe that would display world data and trends in real time.

In 1962, R. Buckminster Fuller published plans for a, "giant, 200-foot diameter... miniature earth -- the most accurate global representation of our planet ever to be realized." The Geoscope would be a massive 3-D educational environment, using an array of computers and databases to display real-time and historical data on nearly any world situation.

GIS is a collection of computer hardware, software, and geographic data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.

The goal of VTP (Virtual Terrain Project) is to foster the creation of tools for easily constructing any part of the real world in interactive, 3D digital form.

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Reference Links

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Display System Links

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Copyright © 2012 by Tom Greenbaum. Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved
email: tom@karmatetra.com

Albuquerque, New Mexico