3D Landscapes. Metrics, techniques and applications

Mihai-Sorin Stupariu, University of Bucharest, stupariu@fmi.unibuc.ro

Christine Fürst, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, christine.fuerst@geo.uni-halle.de 

Ileana Pătru-Stupariu, University of Bucharest, ileana.stupariu@geo.unibuc.ro


The aim of the symposium is to provide an interdisciplinary forum, in order to facilitate exchanges of ideas between scientists with different backgrounds and to enhance the understanding of landscape’s third dimension. It is envisaged to briefly survey the state of the art and to draft potential challenges and subsequent developments. One will equally address theoretical, methodological and applicative issues related to the integration of 3D approaches in the analysis of spatial patterns and in landscape representation. 


One of the main challenges in the last years is to develop models and methods incorporating the third dimension in landscape analysis. The need of deepening our knowledge on the 3D perspective derives equally from the methodological and technological developments and from the practical situations. Thus, the data acquired through airborne laser scanning is available in the format of point clouds lying in the three-dimensional space. There is a of wealth information, covering a wide range of scales, that still waits to be explored, and which could enhance our knowledge on how spatial patterns and ecological processes are linked. On the other hand, in many practical problems, extending the planar paradigm to a spatial one could bring new insights and could contribute to better understanding landscape-related phenomena.  

It is envisaged to cover theoretical, methodological and applicative issues. One will discuss the existing theoretical background, by addressing fundamental questions such as how landscape units could be defined in the three dimensional framework and how to include various vertical structures. Another theme is related to effective methods in 3D landscape representation, with a focus on adapting the existing landscape metrics and developing new ones, meaningful only in the 3D context. Directly related to the methodological approaches, the available tools and software will be briefly analysed and reviewed. Last but not least, one will attempt to discuss applicative aspects, by identifying how these methods and tools could help scientists from related areas, planners, managers or stakeholders in solving specific problems. For instance, one could expect that assessing the 3D shape of landscapes can enhance the existing knowledge in wildlife ecology regarding identification of future habitats or migration routes. On the other hand, the advances in 3D landscape representation could support regional planning, by providing tools useful to landscape aesthetics or identification of conflict / consensus areas.

This symposium will represent a meeting of the IALE Working Group ‘3DLM – 3D Landscape Metrics’. The main goal is to bring together scientists with common interests in understanding how the third dimension can be better integrated in landscape analysis and representation. The symposium will represent a forum for sharing experience, for interdisciplinary knowledge transfer and for drafting ideas to be subsequently developed. The IALE Congress participants interested in attending the symposium are kindly requested to contact the convenors in advance.

What can participants expect to learn?

  • types of interdisciplinary approaches that could be adapted for 3D landscape analysis;
  • software tools and applications that are already available or were recently developed;
  • potential areas of application of 3D landscape analysis and representation;
  • themes that could be subsequently developed in joint researches.


The dissemination strategy will follow two complementary tracks. First, it is expected that the conclusions of the workshop will constitute the basis of a joint paper, which is intended to represent a visioning paper, synthesizing the existing knowledge and sketching potential subsequent developments. The second track will target a larger audience, including researchers and potential beneficiaries such as planners and stakeholders. Thus, the main ideas discussed during the meeting will be communicated on the Working Group’s website in a form accessible to the wide public.