Interactive Exploration of Multidmensional Raster Geospatial Data through Sonification
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Taken as a broadly accepted definition, sonification refers to “the use of non-speech audio to convey information”(Hermann et al. 2011). To elaborate on this definition, data sonification is a way to code relationships that exist within data sets into acoustic signals as a way of enhancing the data’s interpretative and communicative capabilities. Grounding this research in its applications to geospatial data, the aim of this research is to explore sonification techniques as they could be employed in multidimensional geospatial data. There are inherent limitations in the display of multidimensional raster data through optical means (for example as a combination of three bands in RGB schemes). This can be problematic when the available data contains more than three useful dimensions that cannot be fully displayed with traditional visualization methods. It is proposed that utilizing the capabilities of the human ear to distinguish multiple dimensions of acoustic signals (timbre, pitch, loudness, and duration) could provide a complimentary method of analysing multidimensional data. A sonification platform is proposed for sonifying the spectral components of an RGB colour composite of a geospatial image. Informal user testing was carried to receive feedback on the proposed platform. Feedback received was mostly negative with regards to the perceived usefulness of the tool and of auditory displays.