Real-time Terrain Mapping

Authors Tony Bernardin, Eric Cowgil, Ryan Gold, Bernd Hamann, Oliver Kreylos

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Tony Bernardin
Eric Cowgil
Ryan Gold
Bernd Hamann
Oliver Kreylos

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Tony Bernardin, Eric Cowgil, Ryan Gold, Bernd Hamann, and Oliver Kreylos. Real-time Terrain Mapping. In Scientific Visualization: Advanced Concepts. Dagstuhl Follow-Ups, Volume 1, pp. 275-288, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2010)


We present an interactive, real-time mapping system for digital elevation maps (DEMs), which allows Earth scientists to map and therefore understand the deformation of the continental crust at length scales of 10m to 1000km. Our system visualizes the surface of the Earth as a 3D~surface generated from a DEM, with a color texture generated from a registered multispectral image and vector-based mapping elements draped over it. We use a quadtree-based multiresolution method to be able to render high-resolution terrain mapping data sets of large spatial regions in real time. The main strength of our system is the combination of interactive rendering and interactive mapping directly onto the 3D~surface, with the ability to navigate the terrain and to change viewpoints arbitrarily during mapping. User studies and comparisons with commercially available mapping software show that our system improves mapping accuracy and efficiency, and also enables qualitatively different observations that are not possible to make with existing systems.
  • Earth
  • Space
  • and Environmental Sciences Visualization
  • Interaction
  • Terrain Visualization
  • Multiresolution Visualization


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