Purpose of Visualization. Identify the purpose of the requested visualization. For example, is the purpose to convey what the future experience could be like or to identify particular facilities and precisely where they will be located?
Scale and Accuracy. Scale is the size of features in a visualization relative to those features' actual size. Similarly, accuracy is the degree of closeness of measurements of features to their true values. These concepts hold whether the visualization is traditional or advanced. Include specifications on the scale and minimum accuracy of the presentation requested in statements of work for visualization services.
Duration. Include durations for the visualizations required. If different visualizations will be created (e.g., one to post on the Internet and one to use on laptops in the field), durations for each should be specified.
Perspective. Include indication of the number of view angles that are expected. For advanced visualization, the scope might also indicate whether more advanced functionalities, such as being able to observe relevant details in a 360º environment, are required.
Should users be able to modify the viewpoint of the visualization? In an animation, the viewpoint or path is chosen ahead of time. Once the animation has been developed its viewpoint cannot be modified without completely recreating the animation. Real-time simulations do not have this limitation; however, they can be more costly.
Aspect Ratio. The aspect ratio of an image is the ratio of the width of the image to its height. Include information on the desired or required aspect ratio.
Will additional nearby features be included? Include specification of whether the visualization will incorporate features such as people/pedestrians, moving water, lighting, and textures, colors, materials, or finishes consistent with the plans, concepts, and designs provided. Articulate whether, and to what degree, areas adjacent to the project site(s) will be modeled and displayed. This is especially important in advanced visualizations, as some viewers may expect those types of models to reflect reality to a greater degree than with traditional visualizations. Viewers may also expect each element depicted in a visualization to be rendered with extreme realism, regardless of its relevance to the focus of the visualization (e.g., power lines along a roadway). Therefore, it may be necessary to omit certain features that do not need to be portrayed in the interest of reducing the amount of measurement and rendering necessary, and eliminating potential points of distraction.
Will existing and proposed features both be displayed? Describe the degree to which features or visual cues, such as interchanges, buildings, landscaping, and related structures will balance realism (the existing built environment) with future project phases. A visualization might be developed to show only existing conditions, only future conditions, or both, as in a 3-D flyover where a transition to future conditions might be seamlessly simulated.
Interactivity. In the case of advanced visualizations, describe whether the visualization will include "hot spots" where the user is able to zoom and pan at a specific location. The scope might also describe whether users should be able to accelerate or decelerate the visualization.
Data Already Available. Include a list of the data already on hand. A project manager could inventory and report whether the following data, for example, are available to the entity developing the visualization: auto-turn data; high-resolution ground photography; 3-D topography; road geometry and schematics; striping plans; planometrics; aerial data; grading plan; any state specific design standards; traffic counts; current site plan; digital terrain map; CAD files of the existing and proposed structures; information on landscaping.
Environment Required. Include a discussion of whether specialized computer hardware or software programs will be required to view the visualization. It might also include the environment or medium (i.e., computer, hardcopy, or physical model) that the visualization is ultimately to be displayed in. For visualizations to be displayed in a computer environment, describe whether the project manager is requesting the visualization be navigable in a web-based environment, a laptop environment, both, or some other environment. A deliverable could be information on minimum hardware and software requirements. Another specification could be to require the visualization developer to provide installation packages for a variety of computing environments (e.g., Windows XP, Mac OS X, Linux, etc.). Alternatively, web-based dissemination where the visualization runs through a web browser would eliminate the need to download and install the visualization.
Technical Support Required. Include a description of whether ongoing technical support will be required once the visualization has been produced and approved. Example technical support activities include running or demonstrating the visualization on a computer or troubleshooting problems with playback. Consider including language that allows for the preparation for and testifying in court hearings as an expert witness to attest to the accuracy of a visualization and the methods used to create it. An organized training program that transfers knowledge about using the visualization to practitioners in the field would also be helpful. A multifaceted education, outreach, and training program can be an important component to effectively using visualization for ROW acquisition.
Revisions Required. Include indication of how many draft versions of the visualization are necessary. Some common points of review are at 50 percent and 90 percent completion. Indicate whether the visualization should be editable to accommodate for the following at a future date: changes to the structures as future phases are constructed or modifications occur at the visualized site; the ability for a production house to incorporate background music, narratives, and other media throughout the visualization. A deliverable could be an intermediate, draft visualization(s), including an agreement on the number of revisions to be provided.
Ability to Accommodate "Add-ons." Include a description of whether the visualization should be developed with the ability to be integrated with other components or services in the future. For example, the scope might describe whether the visualization could be made viewable in a real-time Google Earth or whether project timeline animations could be added. A project timeline animation might identify project phases or funding expended as the user travels in the virtual tour.
Method of Visualization Delivery. For advanced visualizations, include requirements for how the visualization will be delivered. Some example formats are physical model, hardcopy print out, visualization in a zip file, visualization on a CD-ROM or DVD, or visualization on a website. Request that documentation of the visualization development methodology be delivered.