RENCI visualization expertise featured at International Symposium on Digital Earth

ASHEVILLE, NC—The Asheville-based Applied Visualization Lab premiered its climate and visualization expertise on a global stage at the 5th International Symposium on Digital Earth in Berkeley, CA, June 5 – 9.

The high-resolution animation, called “Water in Western North Carolina,” was presented on a portable GeoDome ™ visualization environment, an immersive format that allows viewers to virtually experience the destructive power of a flood and see how human activity—such as construction projects on steep slopes—affects the severity of flooding.

The visualization uses data from The National Climate Data Center (NCDC), GIS data, digital elevation models from the city of Asheville and Buncombe County, NC, and historical flood data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The Applied Visualization Lab, which consists of partners in the private sector, academia, and government in Western North Carolina that use and develop tools to better understand the effects of human actions on the environment, created the visualization through its collaboration with RENCI at UNC Asheville.  RENCI at UNC Asheville leverages the resources of the statewide RENCI organization and the expertise of researchers and organizations in the Asheville area to solve problems important to Western North Carolina and to the state.

“Community planners, disaster response officials and the public want and need to better understand not only the impact of climate change, but also the repercussions of our society’s actions and decisions,” said Jim Fox, operations director for RENCI at UNC Asheville.  “RENCI at UNC Asheville is developing tools for government planners that help them convert massive GIS and other databases into effective decisions.”

Other partners in creating the visualization are:

  • The Elumenati, an Asheville-based design and engineering firm specializing in developing and deploying immersive visualization environments.
  • Klein Digital, an Asheville-based design and animation studio engaged in commercial production, visual effects and technical animation.
  • The Media Arts Project, a grassroots initiative that initiates collaboration within Asheville’s lively, growing multimedia community by cultivating arts and technology.
  • The NCDC, based in Asheville, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and home of the world’s largest collection of environmental data.