Mixed Reality Flood Visualizations: Reflections on Development and Usability of Current Systems

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Interest in and use of 3D visualizations for analysis and communication of flooding risks has been increasing. At the same time, an ecosystem of 3D user interfaces has also been emerging. Together, they offer exciting potential opportunities for flood visualization. In order to understand how we turn potential into real value, we need to develop better understandings of technical workflows, capabilities of the resulting systems, their usability, and implications for practice. Starting with existing geospatial datasets, we develop single user and collaborative visualization prototypes that leverage capabilities of the state-of-the art HoloLens 2 mixed reality system. By using the 3D displays, positional tracking, spatial mapping, and hand- and eye-tracking, we seek to unpack the capabilities of these tools for meaningful spatial data practice. We reflect on the user experience, hardware performance, and usability of these tools and discuss the implications of these technologies for flood risk management, and broader spatial planning practice. 
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