3D visibility analysis plays a key role in urban planning for assessing the visual impact of proposed buildings on the cityscape. A call for proposals typically yields around 30 candidate buildings that need to be evaluated with respect to selected viewpoints. Current visibility analysis methods are very time-consuming and limited to a small number of viewpoints. Further, analysts neither have measures to evaluate candidates quantitatively, nor to compare them efficiently. The primary contribution of this work is the design study of Vis-A-Ware, a visualization system to qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate, rank, and compare visibility data of candidate buildings with respect to a large number of viewpoints.
Vis-A-Ware features a 3D spatial view of an urban scene and non-spatial views of data derived from visibility evaluations, which are tightly integrated by linked interaction. To enable a quantitative evaluation, we developed four metrics in accordance with experts from urban planning. We illustrate the applicability of Vis-A-Ware on the basis of a use case scenario and present results from informal feedback sessions with domain experts from urban planning and development. This feedback suggests that Vis-A-Ware is a valuable tool for visibility analysis allowing analysts to answer complex questions more efficiently and objectively.