WIT Press

Quantitative Visual Impact Assessment Using Three-dimensional Computer Modelling


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WIT Press


C J B Cox & D Schofield


For the past 10 years, the AIMS Research Unit at the University of Nottingham, has employed Computer Graphics (CG) and Virtual Reality (VR) in civilian and industrial contexts for environmental and design visualization, accident reconstruction, risk analysis, data visualization and training simulators. It is recognised that Visual Impact Assessment (WA), unlike many other aspects of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), relies less upon measurement than upon experience and judgement. Hence it is necessary for a more structured and consistent approach towards VIA, reducing the amount of bias and subjectivity. For proposed developments, there me very few quantitative techniques for the evaluation of visibility, and these existing methods can be highly inaccurate and time consuming. Percentage view changes are one of the few quantitative techniques, and the use of computer graphics in this field can reduce the inaccuracy and the time spent evaluating the visibility of either existing or proposed developments. This paper describes a method to quantitatively assess the visual impact of proposed developments on the landscape using CG techniques. This method allows the determination of accurate percentage view changes with the use of a computer generated model of the environment and the application of specialist software that has been developed by the University of Nottingham. The principles are easy to understand and therefore planners, authorisation agencies and members of the public can use and understand the results. A case study is shown to demonstrate the application and the capabilities of the technology.