The visualization team has been developing a framework for integrating drought monitoring into the visualization of urban environments and to support the generation of improved urban designs that are response to droughts and to water availability and quality. Such designs will help planning agencies design cities (and states) that can better accommodate the local environment.

We have developed a tool that supports altering the 2D layout of a dense urban environment in order to manually respond to desired changes (e.g., based on water, drought, population, and growth. Urban layouts consist of aerial-view imagery and street vector data (e.g., such as the data of Google Maps) and provide an intuitive way to understand a large urban space. The tool provides a new interactive example-based synthesis method and editing mechanism for such urban layouts. The method simultaneously performs both a structure-based synthesis and an image-based synthesis to generate a complete urban layout with a plausible street network and with aerial-view imagery (Aliaga, Vanegas and Benes 2008).

A second tool is a visualization application for regional planning agencies to evaluate alternative transportation investments, land use regulations, and environmental protection policies. Building upon a synergy with urban simulation, urban visualization, and computer graphics the tool automatically infers an urban layout for any time step of an urban simulation sequence. In contrast with previous work, this approach automatically updates the imagery and geometry of the layout based on changes in the simulation data and thus can scale to a large simulation over many years. In addition, several standard choroplethic visualization maps are provided. The method offers a substantial step forward in building integrated visualization and behavioral simulation systems for use in community visioning, planning, and policy analysis (Vanegas, Aliaga, Benes, and Waddell 2009a).

A third tool has been produced and it closes the loop between geometric modeling and behavioral modeling of large-scale urban spaces in order to enable visualizing changes to urban environments. The key inspiration is to tightly integrate geometrical modeling and behavioral modeling in a single (large) dynamical system by iteratively altering an urban model so as to conform to changes in the input data and to continually produce plausible urban behavior and urban geometry. In the context of urban modeling, the behaviors observed are interpreted as the attempts to reach a state of internal consistency between the demands of the environment (e.g., water, drought, climate), population, job market, transportation routes, and geometric structures of the urban space (Vanegas, Aliaga, Benes, and Waddell 2009b).

A decision support system has been developed which assists a variety of stakeholders in making key decisions regarding urban policies and climate/drought related issues. The tool enables visually exploring and understanding the link between urban land use planning policies and urban weather, in particular thunderstorms, heavy rainfall, and temperature changes. This work combines recent results from climate change assessment studies and meteorological simulations that show that regional temperatures are related to regional land-use and the shape and form of cities affects the local weather and results in visualization and computer graphics that show how to generate 3D city models from only coarse specifications. The end result is the ability to quickly and interactively generate models of current cities and of potential future city configurations which are then used in a weather simulation. We enable, and demonstrate, a first feedback loop of urban land use planning for mitigating extreme weather and climate change impacts in urban areas, yielding quick and intuitive controls and visualiza-tions of how cities affect weather and vice versa.

There are 4 datasets displaying historical drought data collected over a long period of time.