LIME: Software for 3-D visualization, interpretation, and communication of virtual geoscience models

Simon J. Buckley* (Corresponding Author), Kari Ringdal, Nicole Naumann, Benjamin Dolva, Tobias H. Kurz, John A. Howell, Thomas J.B. Dewez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)
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The use of three-dimensional (3-D), photo-textured representations of topography from laser scanning and photogrammetry is becoming increasingly common across the geosciences. This rapid adoption is driven by recent innovations in acquisition hardware, software automation, and sensor platforms, including unmanned aerial vehicles. In addition, fusion of surface geometry with imaging sensors, such as multispectral, hyperspectral, thermal, and ground-based radar, and geophysical methods creates complex and visual data sets that provide a fundamental spatial framework to address open geoscience research questions. Despite the current ease of acquiring and processing 3-D photo-textured models, the accessibility of tools for analyzing and presenting data remains problematic, characterized by steep learning curves and custom solutions for individual geoscience applications. Interpretation and measurement is essential for quantitative analysis of 3-D data sets, and qualitative methods are valuable for presentation purposes, for planning, and in education. This contribution presents LIME, a lightweight and high-performance 3-D software for interpreting and co-visualizing 3-D models and related image data. The software allows measurement and interpretation via digitizing in the 3-D scene. In addition, it features novel data integration and visualization of 3-D topography with image sources such as logs and interpretation panels, supplementary wavelength imagery, geophysical data sets, and georeferenced maps and images. High-quality visual output can be generated for dissemination to aid researchers with communication of their results. The motivation and an overview of the software are described, illustrated by example usage scenarios from outcrop geology, multi-sensor data fusion, and geophysical-geospatial data integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-235
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Parts of LIME have been developed to address research requirements in projects funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN) through the Petromaks and Petromaks 2 programs. The following grants are acknowledged: 153264 (VOG [Virtual Outcrop Geology]; with Statoil ASA), 163316 (Carbonate Reservoir Geomodels [IRIS (International Research Institute of Stavanger)]), 176132 (Paleokarst Reservoirs [Uni Research CIPR]), 193059 (EUSA; with FORCE Sedimentology and Stratigraphy Group), 234152 (Trias North [University of Oslo]; with Deutsche Erdoel AG, Edison, Lundin, Statoil, and Tullow), 234111 (VOM2MPS [Uni Research CIPR]; with FORCE Sedimentology and Stratigraphy Group), as well as SkatteFUNN (RCN) project 266740. In addition, the SAFARI project consortium ( is thanked for its continued support. The OSG and wxWidgets communities are acknowledged for ongoing commitment to providing mature and powerful software libraries. All authors thank colleagues past and present for studies culminating in the presented figures: Kristine Smaadal and Aleksandra Sima (Figs. 1 and 4); Colm Pierce (Fig. 2A); Eivind Bastesen, Roy Gabrielsen and Haakon Fossen (Fig. 3); Christian Haug Eide (Fig. 7); Ivar Grunnaleite and Gunnar Sælen (Fig. 8); and Magda Chmielewska (Fig. 9). Isabelle Lecomte contributed to discussions on geospatial-geophysical data fusion. Bowei Tong and Joris Vanbiervliet are acknowledged for internal discussions during article revision. The lead author thanks Uni Research for providing a base funding grant to refine some of the presented features. Finally, authors Buckley and Dewez are grateful to Institut Carnot BRGM for the RADIOGEOM mobility grant supporting the writing of this paper. Corbin Kling and one anonymous reviewer helped improve the final manuscript.




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