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3rd Place, 2008

Rain on Mars

Dmitri Svistula, Computer Science

The image represents a visualization of water flow for an area around Mariner Valley on Mars using Rain Table. Rain Table lets users interact with large two-dimensional maps on a high-resolution digital table to select locations of rainfall.

Users position tracked electronic pucks over areas to indicate the location, or locations, of rainfall, as several people can cooperatively interact with the system at once. The pucks' coordinates are input to a mathematical rain runoff simulation model, which generates a real-time visualization of the rainfalls, the development of channelized streams of water, and the effect of these streams as they merge with one another and flow into lakes and rivers and oceans.

Rain Table allows users to interactively explore the flow of water across digital maps and discover the concepts of watersheds, floods, and the interconnectivity of river systems. Multiple pucks allow each user to generate water flow independently of one another so small groups work together interactively, eliminating passive viewing and equalizing user’s control of the visualization model.

The image shows four screens of a digital table shot from overhead while several users interact with it.