Tangible 3D printouts of scientific data volumes with                                FOSS - an emerging field for research...
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Tangible 3D printouts of scientific data volumes with FOSS - an emerging field for researchEGU 2013 [ESSI Poster #1544]

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Humans are very good in using both hands and eyes for tactile pattern recognition: The german verb for
understanding, "begreifen" literally means "getting a (tactile) grip on a matter". This proven and time honoured
concept has been in use since prehistoric times.
While the amount of scientific data continues to grow, researchers still need all the support to help them visualize
the data content before their inner eye. Immersive data-visualisations are helpful, yet fail to provide tactile
feedback as provided from tangible objects. The need for tangible representations of geospatial information to
solve real world problems eventually led to the advent of 3d-globes by M. Behaim in the 15th century and has
continued since.
The production of a tangible representation of a scientific data set with some fidelity is just the final step of an arc,
leading from the physical world into scientific reasoning and back: The process starts with a physical observation,
or a model, by a sensor which produces a data stream which is turned into a geo-referenced data set. This data is
turned into a volume representation which is converted into command sequences for the printing device, leading
to the creation of a 3d-printout. Finally, the new specimen has to be linked to its metadata to ensure its scientific
meaning and context.
On the technical side, the production of a tangible data-print has been realized as a pilot workflow based on the
Free and Open Source Geoinformatics tools GRASS GIS and Paraview to convert scientific data volume into
stereolithography datasets (stl) for printing on a RepRap printer.
The initial motivation to use tangible representations of complex data was the task of quality assessments on
tsunami simulation data sets in the FP7 TRIDEC project (www.tridec-online.eu). For this, 3d-prints of space time
cubes of tsunami wave spreading patterns were produced. This was followed by print-outs of volume data derived
from radar sounders (MARSIS, SHARAD) imaging the north polar cap of Mars.
While these first pilot applications have demonstrated the feasibility of the approach, further research is required
to explore both the methodology and application scenarios.

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Tangible 3D printouts of scientific data volumes with FOSS - an emerging field for researchEGU 2013 [ESSI Poster #1544]

  1. 1. Tangible 3D printouts of scientific data volumes with FOSS - an emerging field for research Peter Löwe¹, Jens Klump¹, Jens Wickert², Marcel Ludwig², and Alessandro Frigeri³ ¹ Centre for Geoinformation Technology, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany ² GPS/Galileo Earth Observation, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany ³ INAF-Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica · Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology IAPS, Rome, Italy Contact: ploewe@gfz-potsdam.de 3D printed Handpieces for Science Communication Researchers need to communicate their findings both within Academia and towards the general public. This requires the interpretation of scientific data to reach the intended audiences. Since the rise of Geoinformatics, this task is often accomplished using computer based visualisations, ranging from animated movies to immersive virtual reality environments. 3D printing enables the creation of tangible representations of scientifc data, adding haptic perception as a channel for science communication, based on a rapid and affordable production process. Figure 2: A 3D print of the north polar cap of Mars (left) was produced based on a volume model produced by the italian Free and Open Source GIS for Scientific 3D Printing National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) based on ground penetrating radar from the SHARAD and MARSIS sensorsFigure 1: 3D print of a landscape surface (right)[Frigeri 2012].derived from a Laserscan Digital Elevation A novel workflow based on the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) tools GRASS GIS andModel. Paraview to convert scientific data volume into printable data formats has been developed by GFZ Potsdam. An extrusion deposition printer (RapMan) is used to create tangible scientific data printouts.Towards a Scientific 3D Application FieldsPrinting Process Tangible 3D printouts are used in several applications in Geography, Geology, Planetology andThe production of a tangible representation from a Tsunami Simulation:scientific data set is the final step of a larger The initial motivation was quality assessment on tsunami simulation data sets in the FP7 TRIDECprocess, linking the physical world and scientific project (www.tridec-online.eu). For this, 3D printouts of space time cubes of tsunami wavereasoning: The process starts with an observation spreading patterns were produced. Other applications involve high resolution land surfaces (Figureresulting in a geo-referenced data set. This data is 1), geologic layers (Figure 4) and ice deposits (Figure 2). Additional application fields are currentlyturned into a volume representation for the printing investigated.device, leading to the creation of a 3D printout. Figure 3: The 3D printing process for science data: StartingFinally, the new 3D specimen has to be linked to its with a scientific data set, a printable representation is derived,metadata to ensure its scientific meaning and resulting in the 3D printout. This printout must be connected tocontext (Figure 2). the metadata of the original data and the printing workflow. Figure 4: 3D printed stack of the underlying geology of the eastern german basin. The 3D prints depict permocarbon volcanics (red), Rotliegend sandstones (brown), permian Zechstein (blue), triassic Buntsandstein (purple), upper cretacious (green), and quaternary deposits (yellow).www.gfz-potsdam.de

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