Over Two Decades of Integration-Based
Geometric Flow Visualization

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Abstract: With ever increasing computing power, it is possible to process ever more complex fluid simulations. However, a gap between data set sizes and our ability to visualize them remains. This is especially true for the field of flow visualization which deals with large, time-dependent, multivariate simulation datasets. In this paper, geometry based flow visualization techniques form the focus of discussion. Geometric flow visualization methods place discrete objects in the velocity field whose characteristics reflect the underlying properties of the flow. A great amount of progress has been made in this field over the last two decades. However, a number of challenges remain, including placement, speed of computation, and perception. In this survey, we review and classify geometric flow visualization literature according to the most important challenges when considering such a visualization, a central theme being the seeding algorithm upon which they are based. This paper details our investigation into these techniques with discussions on their applicability and their relative merits and drawbacks. The result is an up-to-date overview of the current state-of-the-art that highlights both solved and unsolved problems in this rapidly evolving branch of research. It also serves as a concise introduction to the field of flow visualization research.
Paper: Tony McLouglin, Robert S. Laramee, Ronald Peikert, Frits H. Post and Min Chen Over Two Decades of Integration-Based Geometric Flow Visualization, in Computer Graphics Forum, Vol. 29, No. 6, 2010, pages 1807-1829 (PDF file)
Related Papers: Frits H. Post, Benjamin Vrolijk, Helwig Hauser, Robert S. Laramee, and Helmut Doleisch, Feature Extraction and Visualization of Flow Fields in EUROGRAPHICS 2002, State of the Art Reports, pages 69-100, September 4-6 2002 (PDF file) Frits H. Post, Benjamin Vrolijk, Helwig Hauser, Robert S. Laramee, and Helmut Doleisch, The State of the Art in Flow Visualisation: Feature Extraction and Tracking in Computer Graphics Forum, Vol. 22, No. 4, 2003, pages 775-792 (PDF file)
Robert S. Laramee, Helwig Hauser, Helmut Doleisch, Benjamin Vrolijk, Frits H. Post, and Daniel Weiskopf, The State of the Art in Flow Visualization: Dense and Texture-Based Techniques in Computer Graphics Forum, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2004, pages 203-221 (PDF file) Robert S. Laramee, Helwig Hauser, Lingxiao Zhao, and Frits H. Post, Topology-Based Flow Visualization, The State of the Art, (peer-reviewed book Chapter) in Topology-Based Methods in Visualization (Proceedings of Topo-In-Vis 2005), Mathematics and Visualization, H. Hauser, H. Hagen, and H. Theisel editors, pages 1-19, 2007, Springer-Verlag (PDF file)
Tony McLouglin, Robert S. Laramee, Ronald Peikert, Frits H. Post and Min Chen Over Two Decades of Integration-Based Geometric Flow Visualization, in Eurographics 2009, State of the Art Reports, pages 73-92, March 30 - April 3 2009 (PDF file) Zhenmin Peng and Robert S. Laramee, Higher Dimensional Vector Field Visualization: A Survey in Theory and Practice of Computer Graphics , pages 149-163, 17-19 June 2009, (PDF file)
Dan R. Lipsa, Robert S. Laramee, Richard Walker, Jonathan C. Roberts, and Simon Cox, Visualization for the Physical Sciences in Eurographics 2011, State of the Art Reports, forthcoming (PDF file)
Paper Images: (Click on images for higher resolution version)
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Arrows showing the wind direction and magnitude over Australia. The arrows are placed along streamlines generated using the image-guided placement technique of Turk and Banks. Image courtesy of Greg Turk.

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Evenly-spaced streamlines on the surface of a gas engine simulation. Perspective foreshortening is utilized and the density of streamlines further away from the viewpoint is increased.

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Comparing streamlines of two datasets simulated using different turbulence models. The streamlines are compared using line glyphs, strip envelopes, and sphere glyphs to highlight the differences between them. Image Courtesy of Alex Pang.

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A Lorenz attractor visualized using streamlines. The streamlines are illuminated using a cylinder averaging presented by Mallo et al. Image courtesy of Ronald Peikert.

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A stream surface visualizing a tornado simulation.

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Stream surfaces showing the flow through an engine cooling jacket. Either side of the surface is colored differently to easily identify the orientation of the surface.

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A flow volume. Image courtesy of Roger Crawfis.

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Image guided streamline placement in 3D.

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A set of streaklines computed on the GPU.

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Illustrative streamline placement.

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A flow volume. Image courtesy of Roger Crawfis.

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A streaksurface showing complex flow structures.

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An implicit flow volume. Image courtesy of Roger Crawfis.

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A flow volume. Image courtesy of Roger Crawfis.


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