A Video Game Platform for Exploring Satellite and In-Situ Data Streams

Monday, 15 December 2014: 2:25 PM
Yang Cai, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, United States
Exploring spatiotemporal patterns of moving objects are essential to Earth Observation missions, such as tracking, modeling and predicting movement of clouds, dust, plumes and harmful algal blooms. Those missions involve high-volume, multi-source, and multi-modal imagery data analysis. Analytical models intend to reveal inner structure, dynamics, and relationship of things. However, they are not necessarily intuitive to humans. Conventional scientific visualization methods are intuitive but limited by manual operations, such as area marking, measurement and alignment of multi-source data, which are expensive and time-consuming. A new development of video analytics platform has been in progress, which integrates the video game engine with satellite and in-situ data streams. The system converts Earth Observation data into articulated objects that are mapped from a high-dimensional space to a 3D space. The object tracking and augmented reality algorithms highlight the objects’ features in colors, shapes and trajectories, creating visual cues for observing dynamic patterns. The head and gesture tracker enable users to navigate the data space interactively. To validate our design, we have used NASA SeaWiFS satellite images of oceanographic remote sensing data and NOAA’s in-situ cell count data. Our study demonstrates that the video game system can reduce the size and cost of traditional CAVE systems in two to three orders of magnitude. This system can also be used for satellite mission planning and public outreaching.