3D Geological Modeling from Concept Sketches and Annotations

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During the early stages of any design project, specialists explore and refine ideas collaboratively by constructing conceptual models through hand-drawn sketches and renderings. The resulting models are then used to make decisions before moving to the detailed design phase of development. Sketch-Based Interfaces and Modeling (SBIM) is an area of research devoted to the development of computational tools to aid in this prototyping process. The main goal of SBIM is to construct models directly from hand-drawn sketches, leveraging the sketching skills of experts in different domains such as art, science, and engineering. In this thesis, I investigate the theory and practice of concept sketching applied to the problem of constructing conceptual models of geological structures describing subsurface environments. Geological models describe the disposition, geometry, and types of rocks in the subsurface, and are critical to a wide range of applications, such as oil/gas exploration. Current subsurface modeling workflows lack more interpretive and interactive modeling tools, which could enable experts to rapidly construct a variety of digital conceptual geological models directly from their interpretation sketches. In this thesis, I am addressing fundamental research in SBIM motivated by the challenges of constructing conceptual geological models from 2D hand-drawn sketches. This thesis explores the use of SBIM to complement existing geological modeling tools with more interpretive and interactive methods, with the goal of expediting the construction of concept geological structures described at the early stages of subsurface modeling. To this end, two new SBIM methods are proposed: (1) Geo-Editor aims to enable experts to more easily and rapidly edit/augment existing geological surfaces, using sketches directly in 3D with/without geological data. (2) Geo-Sketcher complements the previous approach by allowing the rapid construction of conceptual geological models from a blank-screen environment using rule-based SBIM. It leverages the standard language provided by geological and topographic maps to provide experts with a familiar notation for sketching. The results and feedback from domain experts demonstrate that the proposed methods can significantly reduce the time necessary to create or edit 3D geological models.
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Mendonça Amorim, R. (2017). 3D Geological Modeling from Concept Sketches and Annotations (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca. doi:10.11575/PRISM/24621