Relief representation : time to get 'back to basics'?
This thesis examines the evolution of the now dominant contour method of relief representation, associated interpretation problems and attempted solutions. A hybrid method of relief representation is then suggested combining a standard topographic map, to provide quantitative data, and computer generated three-dimensional visualisations, to give topographic structure. The hypothesis that this system will result in improved performance at relief interpretation tasks, particularly for inexperienced map users, was then tested. A second aspect of the hypothesis centred on the colouring of the 3-D views. Thus the experiment was expanded to assess if the more natural impression provided by layer colouring resulted in improved performance. The principle evaluation involved 2 Objective Tests of user performance. Subjective assessment of 3-D visualisation production and quality and Opinion Samples were also used in the overall evaluation. This thesis concludes that the three-dimensional information tested here has not produced the expected improvement. Reasons suggested for this include lack of training with 2 and 3 dimensional data, unfamiliarity with computer generated three-dimensional views and inability of inexperienced map users to manipulate complex three-dimensional imagery. Suggested improvements to the theory include increased training and use of more specifically targeted views, for example, to illustrate a walking route using a series of views along its course.