Visdom is a software that combines visualization, simulation, and analysis techniques to assist decision making. The most prominent application concerns flood management, where a fruitful collaboration with several involved organizations has been established. The software is being developed in a number of research projects headed by the VRVis Vienna, the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management at the University of Technology in Vienna, and the Scientific Visualization Group at the ETH Zuerich.
The key to a successful decision support is the ability to test and explore alternative options. Users are able to pose "What if" questions to the system, for example, "What happens if a levee breach occurs?", "Does it make sense to install mobile protection barriers next to the hospital?", or "Can we guarantee the completion of all barriers in time if we employ 30 workers and two trucks?". In Visdom, the synergy of modules for flood simulation, analysis, and logistics provides the user with the answers to such questions. In dedicated visual representations, users can observe the effects of their decisions, including a flood extent or an expected damage to important infrastructure objects. In collaboration with the Flood Protection Center of Cologne, Germany, our technique has been successfully applied in the setting of real-world urban flood scenarios. The jointly identified applications of our approach to flood management comprise: risk assessment, education and public awareness, training of response personnel, planning of measures for disaster mitigation, as well as decision making during a flood event, supported by a fast flood simulation technique.
The Visdom applications are not limited to the field of flood management. It has proven to be convenient for research in the field of scientific visualization of data, which stems from flow simulations in general. For example, Visdom has been successfully utilized for studying indoor climate simulations. The goal of the study was to optimise the configuration of a revolving door with air curtains in order to minimise the leakage of the warm air through the door.