3D maps offer more

Maps of the future depict the relief three-dimensionally and without elevation lines

Computer generated 3D model of Europe © mbmSystems GmbH
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Reading a map is not difficult - is it? A new study by the Dresden University of Technology has revealed something astounding: around 60 percent of all alpinists can not interpret the contour lines correctly on a map. A life-threatening defect, which is now to counter novel maps. Because these form the third dimension very precisely and without any optical or technical aids - just really three-dimensional. With this "map of the future" even inexperienced people can quickly grasp the relief of the landscape from several points of view.

"The basis for the new true three-dimensional maps are elevation and terrain models, " explains Alexander Haun from mbmSystems GmbH, a spin-off from the Dresden University of Technology. "Based on this, a 3D model is calculated on the computer, which precisely maps the highs and lows. Then the cartographic information is incorporated on a lenticular sheet ", Haun summarizes the basic manufacturing steps. This special foil consists of tunnel-shaped lenses that, depending on the angle of view, show the viewer different perspectives of the depicted landscape. A three-dimensional picture is created. "At a glance, you can see how deep, for example, a river has cut into the terrain and how steep the mountain flanks rise on its banks, " Haun explains.

More dimensions for leisure

Floating lettering in the map sheet © mbmSystems GmbH

Especially in the field of hiking and ski tourism play the real-three-dimensional maps according to manufacturer specifications of their particular strength. Because without having to look long, the viewer spontaneously recognizes how steep the trail in front of him is or where a special steep section waits and when it runs flat. Panoramic panels are still being used in real 3D, but the developers at mbmSystems agree that the technical breakthrough in this segment can also be achieved by mid-2009. "Hiking and skiing maps will show more dimensions in the future and thus contribute to more safety in mountain sports", Haun is convinced.

Another advantage of the new technology is the constant use of nadir sight. In contrast to conventional panoramic panels, which use an oblique perspective to simulate three dimensions, real 3D maps can also depict the landscape from above. They also show the regions behind the next mountain, which were previously hidden by the oblique view. This winter, the first postcard-sized runway plans are to be delivered to the ski areas.

Variable labels

Real 3D map of Europe (school version) mbmSystems GmbH

But the new technology offers a whole range of additional possibilities: the inscriptions are integrated in one plane far above the relief. This allows the viewer to also take in information that would necessarily be obscured by conventional maps. This is a great advantage because it allows for the incorporation of -sighting wechseln designations, adds Haun. Thus, designations of rivers or cities can be mapped both in maps and in national languages, ie in two languages. By simply changing the viewing position, this effect is revealed to the viewer. display

also make teaching easier

"That makes the maps very well suited for geography or geography lessons, " Haun is convinced. If spontaneous and without long explanations, the student takes up the course of the relief and deals with the content of the lesson more attentively and with more interest. As teachers, they can explain to their students for a long time the typical cone shape of a volcano - or simply show them the mountain in its spatial form without long words, "Haun said In addition, the student learns intuitively where Napoli or Naples are located in Italy and that these are just two names for the same city. The new technology has already been used to create a series of maps specifically for school use based on the country's curriculum.



(Alexander Haun / mbm Systems GmbH, 24.08.2007 - AHE)