Representation: 3-D

Sisi Zlatanova

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


3-D modeling has been the subject of increased attention in the last two decades. Technology has been developed to such a degree that large datasets can be collected, processed, analyzed, managed, and visualized in reasonable time. Domain applications are looking with much interest at 3-D representations, acknowledging the increased possibilities for display and analysis of data. The tendency of using 3-D data from different domains in one application is growing, and this poses many challenges. Developed independently through the years, 3-D applications involve various representations (vector, raster, freeform curves, and surfaces), levels of detail, appearance, semantics, and topology. Representing the real world in 3-D differs significantly from representation in 2-D. Technology and approaches for data collection (detect vertical elements of objects, overhanging sections – as sheds, bridges, and roofs), data processing, data structures, data models, and visualization have to be adapted, extended, and/or improved to deal with vertical and overhanging elements as well as objects located inside, above or below each other. Many of the well-known approaches in 2-D GIS are not readily applicable to 3-D representation. This requires investigation of new possibilities for representation, structuring, and visualization of data. This entry outlines the most commonly used 3-D geometric representations in terms of their geometry, resolution, topology, and semantics, elaborates on their use in a wide range of applications, and discusses some of the challenges in research and development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe International Encyclopedia of Geography
Subtitle of host publicationPeople, the Earth, Environment and Technology
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-1187-8635-2
ISBN (Print)978-0-4706-5963-2
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2017


  • Cartography
  • Data modeling
  • geospatial
  • Representation
  • Visualisation


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