VizArt merges data visualization and 3D modeling for relief maps

2D prints depict space and time with 3D shaded relief maps

In a project of discovery and imagination, VizArt is a data visualization and 3D cartography studio based in Orvieto, Italy, specializing in interactive visualization, static computer graphics, geovisualization and 3D shaded relief maps. The studio was founded by Silvia Spacca, a graduate in Entertainment Disciplines and Film Engineering, and Leonardo Zanchi, a graduate in Computer Science with a specialization in Virtual Reality and Multimedia. In an innovative collaboration, Leonardo’s growing interest in data visualization has found a new dimension with the application of Silvia’s 3D modeling knowledge, merging the two initially unknown fields and propelling an ever-evolving visual journey. Through the combination of traditional cartography and the use of satellite data, places distant in time and space are brought to life and made tangible, resulting in a series of vintage and modern 2D photos. prints illustrating 3D shaded relief maps available for purchase. VizArt mapping works include rendered and enhanced topographic maps, hypsometric relief maps, and data visualization infographics. Their projects were carried out with the support of cartographers Daniel Huffman, Peter Atwood, Morgan Hite and Joshua Stevens, who contributed their professional mapping and georeferencing techniques and knowledge.

detail of a viridis elevation tint from Europe

all images courtesy of VizArt

vizart mapping projects

The Studio based in Italy the work was carried out with the support of cartographers Daniel Huffman, Peter Atwood, Morgan Hite and Joshua Stevens, who contributed their professional mapping and georeferencing skills and knowledge. With their mapping work, the first phase of VizArt’s projects involves research, including finding the maps, the licenses that bind them, and the years of making them. Once Silvia and Leonardo have chosen a potential candidate, they carry out a thorough check of the state of conservation and an assessment of the possibilities of digital restoration. Restoration work may consist of the elimination of certain stains due to the wear of time, the correction of colors, the reconstruction of missing or torn parts, or even the erasing of the folding mark of the sheet. Then the map is georeferenced. From the information provided by the map itself, often simply the year of its realization and the scientific agency that commissioned it, the adequate projection is sought in order to situate it correctly in the geographical space. Then comes the research and positioning of digital elevation models which, depending on their nature, convey information on natural geographical reliefs, and general surfaces such as vegetation and buildings.

After several treatments of this information, Silvia and Leonardo combine the elements created with three-dimensional modeling software. This decides the light, the extent of the relief to show, and the depth of the shadows, and then the final product begins to be set up, much like a photograph or a render. Just like in a photograph, the temperature or intensity of the temperature of the light, or the tilt of a lamp gives each final image a different quality and feel. ‘As the papers we manufacture are meant to be an artistic product, and not technical papers, the emotional and visual aspect of the images is privileged, so in some cases the reliefs have been exaggerated to emphasize the evocative elements of a particular field. ‘, VizArt reviews. This improvement is evident in their series of ipsometric maps where colors have been assigned based on elevation, which has been greatly increased.

VizArt merges data visualization and 3D modeling to create relief cartographic maps
Geological map of Wyoming from 1985 with shaded relief

VizArt merges data visualization and 3D modeling to create relief cartographic maps
1942 topographic map of Maui with shaded relief

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