A new method for visualizing data on a globe or unit sphere is described. Information that is distributed over a sphere—global oceanographic or geographic measurements, all‐sky astronomy observations, or any quantities that are best represented in spherical coordinates—can benefit from this technique. Retaining a better sense of the geometry and information content of the data, 3‐D graphics can provide an unobstructed view of the entire sphere, without undo deformation of its surface area. A ‘‘parametrized ray trace’’ produces look‐up tables (LUTs) that can be used for all visualizations. The ray trace result shows one or more spheres with the data as a texture map and three reflecting rectangles that ‘‘mirror’’ the far sides of the sphere(s) into view. The LUTs need only be created once, and a general purpose computer will do. No special purpose hardware is required beyond a PC or workstation that supports color. Examples from astronomical and geophysical datasets, which are commonly displayed with an area deforming (2‐D) projection, are presented.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.