Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2011


Great Plains Research 21 (Fall 2011):215-30


© 2011 Copyright by the Center for Greot Plains Studies, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Landscapes such as the Great Plains have been described as lacking human scale. This study developed a quantitative model of human scale and compared it with viewers' perceptions of visual structure. Visual structure was selected from the physical features of Otoe County, NE, forming boundaries, found as ground textures, vegetative screens, and topographic breaks and was depicted in photographs of landscape scenes. The model used and tested nine classes of scale based on grain and extent of the photos rated by viewers against those from the model. Viewers identified boundaries representing grain and extent that were synthesized into a viewer-perceived scale class. Good agreement with the proposed model occurred at four smaller scales but deteriorated as scale increased. Larger-scale scenes appear to offer more opportunities for the viewer to select closer or farther visual boundaries, thus changing their interpretation of scale.