ISSN 2079-3537      


Scientific Visualization, 2019, volume 11, number 2, pages 73 - 87, DOI: 10.26583/sv.11.2.06

Plinius: A Visualization System of Costa Rica's Tectonic Plates

Authors: F. Hernández-Castro 1,A,B, J. Monge-Fallas2,A

A Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica, Costa Rica

B Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany

1 ORCID: 0000-0003-3589-4588,

2 ORCID: 0000-0002-1651-3543,



The Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI) has been recording and archiving seismic activity data in Costa Rica since 1984.

We have designed and implemented a visualization tool, Plinius, to analyze the 3D location of 119 206 archived earthquakes occurring from 1984-2016, providing views from every desired angle and other specific needs of this scientific domain.

Using Plinius, OVSICORI seismologists can visualize the convergence of different tectonic plates in Costa Rica, detect new seismic activity, and facilitate necessary data management regarding the country’s geography. Most of the existing tools for this kind of task are 2D and do not have essential data filters for the domain; by contrast, Plinius enables scientists to analyze all the data in a 3D environment and to filter it in many different ways to derive better conclusions. This article describes Plinius and its potential.


Keywords: Seismic interpretation, earthquakes, hypocenter visualization, data visualization, interactive visualization, data interpretation, visualization paradigms.