Using 3D visualization methods in landscape planning: An evaluation of options and practical issues

Andrew Lovett, Katy Appleton, Barty Warren-kretzschmar, Christina Von Haaren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


Technical advances in landscape visualization have tended to, and still do, outstrip the understanding of how best to use them in practical planning contexts. This paper draws upon recent literature and experience gained during a number of projects to address three key questions regarding the most effective use of 3D landscape visualizations for communication purposes. In essence these are “when?” (to use them), “what?” (to include) and “how?” (to display them). Three main visualization options (rendered still images, animations and real-time models) are compared and particular constraints and strengths are discussed. In addition, an evaluation is made of the ability of the information presented in landscape visualizations to meet criteria of credibility, salience and legitimacy when communicating with stakeholders. Closing guidance is given on the use of visualizations in landscape planning and suggestions regarding future research needs are made. These focus on the need for applications of 3D visualization techniques to be more systematically evaluated, ideally as part of landscape planning exercises where the benefits of particular approaches for different purposes and audiences are examined across all stages of the decision-making process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-94
Number of pages10
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


  • Landscape visualization
  • realism
  • Interactivity
  • Immersion
  • Public Participation
  • Evaluation

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