CPSC-533C  Information Visualization 

Term-project Proposal


Visualizing 3D Cloud Dataset


Quanzhen Geng (#63546014) and Jing Li (#90814013)

Email: gengqz@hotmail.com



Date: February 12, 2003



1. Overview and Background

         The high-resolution numerical climate models output huge amount of data. It is nearly impossible to the atmospheric scientists to quickly analyze and interpret these model output datasets  without using good data visualization tools. In atmospheric science, there are certainly many full-featured tools available for visualizing data in two dimensions. There are also programs for visualizing scientific data in three dimensions, but they tend to be complex, expensive or hard to extend. Our purpose is to develop software that can be used specifically for visualizing cloud dataset in three dimensions. Also, to facilitate the study of the relationships of clouds with other variables, we intend to implement a parallel coordinate visualization of cloud dataset.  


2. Dataset

        For this project, we use the three dimensional  cloud dataset from a high-resolution climate model output provided by Atmospheric Research Group of the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences of the University of British Columbia.  The dataset is a three dimensional, multi-variable grid data archived in the netCDF (Network Common Data Format)  format.


3. Goals

        The goal of the project is to develop the software that can be used specifically for visualizing large cloud dataset in three dimensions and visualizing the cloud properties (multi-variables) in parallel coordinates .


4. Objectives

The project tends to achieve 3 to 4 of the following objectives:

(1) General 3D display of the cloud body, which includes

      a) Display the cloud in 3D

      b) View the cloud in different directions

      c) Zoom in/zoom out the whole cloud body.

(2) Parallel coordinates visualization of cloud data

(3) Zoom a mouse-selected region

(4) Make slices of the cloud and see the inside of it, for example, the temperature and humidity inside the cloud

(5) Display the animation of the cloud development  in a time period


5. Implementation Approach

(1) Software Tools:     

      Development of the software will based on Visualization Tool Kit (VTK) and existing implementations of parallel coordinates.

(2) Programming Language:

      Java 2

(3) Platform:

      Windows 2000


6. Scenario of Use

      The software is intended to be user friendly. The following figure shows the general picture of what the software would look like.


The main window is divided into three regions, 

(1) The data selection region

(2) The rendering control region

(3) The graphics display region


The first two parts are related to the GUI (Graphical User Interface) of the software, and the third one is the graphics display window.