We describe an artistic project that uses scientific tools to convey a sense of place. Detail is an important element in creating an artistic sense of place. This detail must be consistent with what we know about the correlation between topography and its surface appearance. The vegetation and exposed rock in the mountains of the North Slope of the Brooks Range are distinctly correlated with the digital terrain. Analysis of elevation, slope, and aspect generates tools used to create a probability mapping between the terrain and the appearance of the surface. Digital painting techniques create texture maps that we wrap around 3D models of the terrain. We use these models in our animation of a traverse of the landscape. These techniques aid in the development of high resolution geometry. A persistent theme in this process is the use of visual metaphor and visual thinking. Active geomorphology and the viscous flow of vegetation characterize the northeastern mountains of the Brooks Range. The vegetation exists, not so much in competition, but in response to solar energy niches. Colony ecology is significant. The surface creeps in response to the flow of water and ice. The ecology and topography appear unmodified by human hands. One gets the impression that the forces of nature are consistently and clearly expressed. Our art uses science to create a representation of this dynamic landscape.
Arthur William Brody,
"Generating high-resolution data using hints", Proc. SPIE 3017, Visual Data Exploration and Analysis IV, (9 April 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.270308; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.270308