Development of a volcanic hazard visualisation tool for risk communication

Type of content
Theses / Dissertations
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Thesis discipline
Human Interface Technology
Degree name
Master of Human Interface Technology
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Pourgolmohammadgolshani, Amirali

New Zealand is one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of natural disasters. It is highly susceptible to geological disasters sch as earthquakes due to being located where the Pacific and Australian plates meet. New Zealand is home to 12 active volcanoes whose eruptions produce a wide variety of hazards, making the majority of the people living in New Zealand, susceptible to volcanic activity. Communication of geological risks is an important component of disaster risk management. Giving people who are at risk of being affected by volcanic hazards the right training and information is imperative for them to be able to make the correct decisions in the event of a disaster.

With the advances in computer technologies, new and interactive methods of communication and visualisation are possible. In this paper we created and evaluated an interactive volcanic hazard simulation and visualisation application. This application is capable of visualising the landscape of mount Ruapehu in 3D. The ap- plication also uses mathematical model of volcanic ballistics to simulate the hazard allowing the user to create custom eruptions and view them. The application also outputs the data generated by these simulated volcanic particles which can be used to visualise the hazard footprint of various eruptions using a top down map of Ruapehu.

A user study was conducted to evaluate whether such an application would allow volcanologist experts to better communicate volcanic hazard risks with the various stakeholders they engage with. Six volcanologists were interviewed and their feedback on the application was used to create a list of requirements for the future iterations of this application or to be used by other researchers and developers to create similar applications. The results of this study showed that volcanologist need interactive visualisation applications to better communicate with various communities to better disseminate critical information.

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