Geo View is a three-dimensional virtual universe in which a real-world or virtual object may be represented by one or more virtual objects whose attributes are derived from attributes of the real-world object via a flexible user-specifiable mapping. Typically a two-dimensional plane located in three-dimensional space is used to visualize the universe of interest. The placement of virtual objects in the universe typically having a shape is governed by the absolute or relative geographical location of the real-world objects, and also by a flexible set of user-specified layout rules. In addition to the visualisation of various objects, the human observer can attach sounds to objects. The representation of real-world objects with rapidly time-changing attributes may be simplified by the use of Synthetic Strobes, flexible user-specified filters which shift changes in the visual attributes of a shape from one time-domain to another.