Visualization Challenge 2009

John Wagner's winning entry: "Reconstruction of the HMS Medway/Medina"

March 25, 2009
Greenville, NC

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Visualization Challenge audience

RENCI at ECU's second annual Visualization Challenge was another success. Students, faculty, and judges gathered at ECU's 21 x 6 foot Visualization Wall (VisWall) to experience presentations on topics ranging from 3D archeological ship reconstruction to research into genetic diseases using fruit flies. Presentations were about 10 minutes long and followed by questions from the audience.

Each presentation was the culmination of hours of hard work and dedication, so all participants received a stipend for their contributions. Of the seven presentations, John Wagner's 3D reconstruction of a 19th century gunboat won first place and was recognized during Research and Creative Achievement Week, March 30 through April 3.


Brief descriptions of all the Visualization Challenge entries are listed below in the order of their presentation:

Peter Campbell: "Reconstructing a 3rd Century B.C. Merchant Ship"

"Reconstructing a 3rd Century B.C. Merchant Ship" by Peter Campbell, graduate student of maritime history. Because Peter was attending a conference at the time of the Visualization Challenge, he was allowed to prerecord his presentation. Using archeological records and Rhinoceros 3D modeling software, Peter built a virtual recreation of an ancient merchant ship and its cargo. The computer software can also model the ship's behavior on water, revealing how the oddly shaped boat would have sailed thousands of years ago.


Teddy Allen: "Changes in NDVI and EVI within a Small Caribbean Nation"

"Changes in NDVI and EVI within a Small Caribbean Nation" by Teddy Allen, graduate student of geography. Taking advantage of the VisWall's large display, Teddy presented a visualization of monthly and annual changes in vegetation in Jamaica. Small vegetation maps of the island-nation were aligned to a grid, with each row containing maps for a given year and each column containing maps for a given month. The size of the VisWall allowed all of the information to be viewed simultaneously for easy comparison and recognition of trends across both months and years. (Teddy Allen was also profiled in RENCI at ECU's fall 2008 newsletter.)


Charlotte Dietrich and David Truesdale: "Virtual Analysis of Building Systems Engaged During the Construction Process"

"Virtual Analysis of Building Systems Engaged During the Construction Process" by Charlotte Dietrich and David Truesdale, undergraduate students of construction management. Buildings are more complex than most people realize. Charlotte and David demonstrated this with their layered 3D models of a recently completed hospital complex. Everything from the roof trusses to the concrete rebar in the foundation was modeled to scale using the building's original blueprints. Aside from visualization applications, this project can also serve as an accurate estimator of construction material needs for planned buildings.


Catherine Gouge: "Images from Drosophila Melanogaster"

"Images from Drosophila Melanogaster" by Catherine Gouge, graduate student of biology. Catherine studies the cellular biology of drosophila—fruit flies. With the VisWall, Catherine can view high-resolution images of microscopic tissue and examine genetic deformities occurring in the flies, even in 3D. By understanding these deformities, Catherine hopes to learn more about human disorders such as Alzheimer's and heart disease.


Carrie Tragert and Nick Lee: "3D Modeling of the Ocracoke Lighthouse"

"3D Modeling of the Ocracoke Lighthouse" by Carrie Tragert, graduate student of geogrphay, and Nick Lee, undergraduate student of geography. RENCI at ECU assisstants Carrie and Nick have been working on models for visualizing hurricane storm surge on North Carolina's Outer Banks. By modeling recognizable local landmarks and using SLOSH models to simulate the impact of storm surge flooding on those landmarks, Carrie and Nick hope to educate and warn the public about the risks of storm surges.


Laurynas Gedminas: "Visualizing Wind Farms along the Outer Banks"

"Visualizing Wind Farms along the Outer Banks" by Laurynas Gedminas, graduate student of geography. Inspired by proposed wind farm projects in Cape Cod, Laurynas used photographs and 3D modeling to measure the visual impact a similar project would have on the Outer Banks. The first part of his presentation used digitally modified photographs of the coast showing potential wind farms at 1 and 4 kilometers from the shore respectively. The second part of the presentation involves a Google Earth flyby tour of a potential wind farm location, complete with rotating 3D turbines. You can read more about Laurynas's project here.


John Wagner: "Reconstruction of the HMS Medway/Medina"

"Reconstruction of the HMS Medway/ Medina: A Medina-class Gunboat Abandonment, Meyer's Slip, Bermuda" by John Wagner, graduate student of maritime history. John's winning presentation described his 3D model of a 19th century shipwreck near Bermuda. Much of the wreck has corroded or been salvaged for scrap, leaving only a shell of the original vessel. John's model accurately replicates the wreck, but also incorporates, one layer at a time, structures and elements of the ship that have been lost over time, such as its cabins, guns, and sails. Viewers of John's model can watch the ship slowly transform from a wreck to a fully equipped and restored vessel, as it might have looked in its glory days.

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