The ability to represent the landscape or townscape that exists and any proposed changes to it is important for the landscape profession. Visual representations or ‘visualisations’ are a good means of doing this but they must fairly represent what people would perceive in the field.  The sophistication of visualisation technique also needs to be proportionate to factors such as purpose, use, user, sensitivity of the situation and magnitude of potential effect.

A number of static and dynamic techniques are available, for examples:

  • 2D overlays
  • 2D perspective sketches
  • 2D photomontages – the superimposition of an image onto a photograph, by hand or using a computer
  • 3D physical models – by hand or using a 3D printer
  • 3D computer simulations

Visualisation information guidance

The latest edition of Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (GLVIA3) remains a definitive source of guidance in this area.

LI Guidance Note 02-17 Visual Representation (also sometimes known as “Proportionality” guidance) supports GLVIA3 by directing clients, regulators and practitioners towards an appropriate choice of technique when seeking visual representations of developments.  Principles within it may have wider applicability.

LI Advice Note 1/11 Advice on photography and photomontage and the formal answers to questions also cover visualisation using these specific techniques.  This document is in the process of being revised by a working group led by Bill Blackledge CMLI.

Whilst it is important to take a proportionate approach, guidance prepared by SNH relating to the visual representation of wind farms gives further useful insight into visualisation techniques in general, which may be helpful in developing approaches in other situations.

There may be more information in the Technical Resources Section or please email us: .