An Integrated Global GIS and Visual Simulation System

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Lindstrom, Peter
Koller, David
Ribarsky, William
Hodges, Larry F.
Op den Bosch, Augusto
Faust, Nick L. (Nickolas Lea)
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This paper reports on an integrated visual simulation system supporting visualization of global multiresolution terrain elevation and imagery data, static and dynamic 3D objects with multiple levels of detail, non-protrusive features such as roads and rivers, distributed simulation and real-time sensor input, and an embedded geographic information system. The requirements of real-time rendering, very large datasets, and heterogeneous detail management strongly affect the structure of this system. Use of hierarchical spatial data structures and multiple coordinate systems allow for visualization and manipulation of huge terrain datasets spanning the entire surface of the Earth at resolutions well below one meter. The multithreaded nature of the system supports multiple windows with independent, stereoscopic views. The system is portable, built on OpenGL, POSIX threads, and X11/Motif windowed interface. It has been tested and evaluated in the field with a variety of terrain data, updates due to real-time sensor input, and display of networked DIS simulations.
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