Traditional two-dimensional profiles of collection system models present a distorted view of the system to fit as much visual information as possible into a limited space. Vertical axes are typically exaggerated to bring more of the system into view.
An acceptable level of distortion maximizes conveyance of visual information, outweighing the drawbacks of scale exaggeration.
The concept of an “acceptable level of distortion” can be applied to three-dimensional representations of collection system models and results. If one exaggerates the vertical axis, pipe cross-sections appear as tall, skinny ellipsoids. This approach misses the opportunity to display actual pipe cross-sectional shapes, and thus fit more visual information into the same view space. There are ways to preserve the pipe shape in a compressed three-dimensional view.
This paper explores techniques for maximizing the amount of visual information in a three-dimensional representation of a collection system model using custom tools developed to support SWMM 5 models.