Autostereoscopic displays for thematic maps
Autostereoscopic visualisation methods are nothing absolutely new or unknown for cartographers. For about fifteen years the Institute for Cartography of the Dresden University of Technology, Germany, has been working with various visualisation techniques that allow the user to perceive a spatial impression of the geovisualisations spontaneously and without any additional viewing means respectively that enable to see multi-view effects combined in one single map. (Please note, if in the following the authors refer to autostereoscopic displays, these include both the possibility to create truly three-dimensional effects and also the so-called multi-view effects which will be described in this paper in more detail.) Within the scope of several research projects different autostereoscopic display techniques have been tested at the Institute for Cartography of the Dresden University of Technology and have been used for innovative products, but mostly for the visualisation of the relief (cf. El Nabbout 2007, Gruendemann 2004, Kirschenbauer 2004, Knust and Dolz 2009, Marschner 2006, Schneider 2008). These projects demonstrate the high potential of autostereoscopic display techniques for the true-3D visualisation of relief information. Thus, we can guess that there is also a high potential for thematic cartography, but up to now this has not been investigated in detail. Actually, so far no concrete test studies are dealing with this topic. In a current research project, a cooperation between the Institute for Geography of the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, and the Institute for Cartography of the Dresden University of Technology, the project partners are studying the potential of autostereoscopic display techniques, especially the lenticular foil technique, for thematic geovisualisations. A second step is envisaged to investigate the barrier stripes technique and how it compares to lenticular foil technique.