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SCEC-VDO Reborn: A New 3-Dimensional Visualization and Movie Making Software for Earth Science Data

Kevin R. Milner, FNU Sanskriti, John Yu, Scott Callaghan, Philip J. Maechling, & Thomas H. Jordan

Published August 24, 2016, SCEC Contribution #7039, 2016 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #335

Researchers and undergraduate interns at the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) have created a new 3-dimensional (3D) visualization software tool called SCEC Virtual Display of Objects (SCEC-VDO). SCEC-VDO is written in Java and uses the Visualization Toolkit (VTK) backend to render 3D content. A prior version of SCEC-VDO, which began development in 2005 under the SCEC Undergraduate Studies in Earthquake Information Technology internship, used the now unsupported Java3D library. Replacing Java3D with the widely supported and actively developed VTK libraries not only ensures that SCEC-VDO can continue to function for years to come, but allows for the export of 3D scenes to web viewers and popular software such as Paraview.

SCEC-VDO offers advantages over existing 3D visualization software for viewing georeferenced data beneath the Earth’s surface. Many popular visualization packages, such as Google Earth, restrict the user to views of the Earth from above, obstructing views of geological features such as faults and earthquake hypocenters at depth. SCEC-VDO allows the user to view data both above and below the Earth’s surface at any angle. It includes tools for viewing global earthquakes from the U.S. Geological Survey, faults from the SCEC Community Fault Model, and results from the latest SCEC models of earthquake hazards in California including UCERF3 and RSQSim. Its object-oriented plugin architecture allows for the easy integration of new regional and global datasets, regardless of the science domain. SCEC-VDO also features rich animation capabilities, allowing users to build a timeline with keyframes of camera position and displayed data. The software is built with the concept of statefulness, allowing for reproducibility and collaboration using an xml file.

SCEC-VDO runs on all recent 64-bit Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux systems with Java 8 or later. More information, including downloads, tutorials, and example movies created fully within SCEC-VDO is available here: http://scecvdo.usc.edu

Milner, K. R., Sanskriti, F., Yu, J., Callaghan, S., Maechling, P. J., & Jordan, T. H. (2016, 08). SCEC-VDO Reborn: A New 3-Dimensional Visualization and Movie Making Software for Earth Science Data. Poster Presentation at 2016 SCEC Annual Meeting.

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Communication, Education, and Outreach (CEO)