Tuesday, 4 June 2013

PhD studentship
3D visualization of volcanic hazards
Communicating the nature, sequence and impact of hazardous phenomena that occur during volcanic eruptions is a major challenge to volcanologists and disaster managers. Successful communication of the potential implications of such eruptive phenomena is essential in order to maximize risk reduction.

Many volcanic hazards, such as pyroclastic density currents and lahars for example, are either unknown to, or are very poorly understood by the general public. Furthermore many of the people at threat - who live in areas around these volcanoes, particularly in developing countries - are unfamiliar with using traditional 2D depictions, such as hazard maps. Some research indicates that 3D visualizations are a more effective way of communicating hazard information than 2D maps (e.g. Haynes et al 2007).

Specifically, this studentship will generate interactive 3D computer visualizations of hazards from potential future volcanic eruptions. It will build on expertise from the
Interactive Systems Studioat Plymouth University, which specialises in virtual and augmented reality solutions for public engagement using web and mobile technologies and will be underpinned by the School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences growing reputation in geoscience outreach.
This studentship will integrate CRES/UP with the large NERC/ESRC consortium STREVA (Strengthening Resilience in Volcanic Areas), of which Plymouth University is a project partner. The STREVA project runs from July 2012 to July 2016, across the entire duration of this studentship, and this work falls within the
Communication Analysiswork package. The STREVA project will implement new methods and techniques developed for hazard and risk analysis and communication at a range of volcanoes in the greater Caribbean region.
Therefore this studentship will make use of this excellent opportunity of timely integration with relevant on-going risk reduction research.

This studentship will develop 3D visualizations of eruptive phenomena in a user friendly computational environment (as opposed to much more technically challenging
simulations).
Aim This studentship will develop 3D dimensional visualizations of hazardous eruptive phenomena within a user friendly computational to contribute toward risk reduction and increase resilience of populations at volcanoes Objectives
In conjunction with the STREVA consortium, develop potential eruption scenarios at a STREVA volcano e.g. Soufriere (St Vincent, West Indies), Cerro Machin (Columbia), and Cuicocha (Ecuador).
 Follow an agile methodology for iterative development of software prototypes

 Develop interactive 3D visualizations of eruption scenarios as a communication tool for the general public, possibly within a user friendly platform e.g. Smart phones

 Implement visualizations on realistic 3D topography on at least one STREVA volcano

 Evaluate results of usability testing to inform future development of interactive 3D visualisation for public engagement.

Travel/fieldwork It is envisaged that the student will travel to at least one of the STREVA volcanoes in order to evaluate/ test the effectiveness of the visualization tools. Software Development The student will spend a proportion of their time with the Interactive Systems Studio to ensure a robust approach to software design and implementation. This will provide insight into related research and development and provide mentoring in specialised areas. Supervisory team

Director of Studies
- Dr Paul Cole (Centre for Research in Earth Sciences, Plymouth University) Prof Iain Stewart (Centre for Research in Earth Sciences, Plymouth University)
Dr Dan Livingstone (Interactive Systems Studio, School of Computing and Mathematics, Plymouth University)
Dr Jenni Barclay (School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia) STREVA consortium PI

Candidate Experience This studentship would suit an Earth Science graduate with strong computational experience and/or interests. A computer science or game development graduate with interests in Earth Science would also be considered. Programming ability with C# or related language is highly desirable. Experience of XML, JavaScript and development tools such as Unity 3D is highly desirable. References Haynes K, Barclay J, Pidgeon N. (2007) Volcanic hazard communication using maps: an evaluation of their effectiveness. Bulletin of Volcanology70: 123-138

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