vol 1 num 1


VizMAP – letting you see where you stand…

Volume 1 – Number 1


About VizMAP

VizMAP Pty Ltd, is a leading supplier of terrain Visualisation and related services to the defence, GIS, environmental, mapping, mining and exploration industries, engineering and construction firms, developers and planners, as well as government administration departments dealing with land, transportation and the environment. 

VizMAP‘s products are designed to be run on reasonably to highly configured graphics computers (PC, Linux and Unix) for public display, group training, mission rehearsal, environmental monitoring, etc. and to enhance management decision making. 

VizMAP is headquartered on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast (Australia) with affiliation in Asia, Europe, Africa and the USA and thereby provides support and services to customers worldwide. 

If you need to visualise anything geographic, e-mail VizMAP herewith the details. 

For more information about VizMAP visit the VizMAP Web site at http://www.vizmap.com.au.


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A Moment’s Notice 

Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others. – Groucho Marx


Welcome to VirtualGeography
from VizMAP
Welcome to the first outing of VirtualGeography – a collection of interesting snippets from all over the place, dealing with industry issues concerning the computer based visualisation of geography and a few other associated (or otherwise) interesting bits and pieces. If some of you recognise vestiges of The Shortech and TDC E-News, you could be right: similar content, familiar format, same editor. 

The plan is to push out a new VirtualGeography about once per month, towards the end of the month, which shouldn’t be too big a drain on your mailbox. If you know of anyone who might like to get VirtualGeography, let me know their e-mail address and I’ll forward them a copy, or feel free to forward this to them and ask them to subscribe. By the way, subscription and unsubscription details are at the bottom (click here).

So, g’day to all fans, followers, supporters, surveyors, purveyors, promoters, proponents, exponents, experts, converts, conceptualisers, advisers, advocates, sophisticates and enthusiasts requiring to visualise and simulate both urban and rural geographic information (GIS), cartography, photogrammetry, remote sensing, digital elevation modelling (DEM) and general mapping.

By the spelling of "Visualisation" you may have already guessed that we’re not US based – that’s a good thing, or at least not a bad thing. 

Also, the link between visualisation and mapping may seem a little esoteric if this is your first encounter with this sort of stuff, but let me tell you, the link is significant… but enough of that: on with the show… I hope you like it. Any feedback you might have is highly appreciated. E-mail me hereto make your comments.

Graeme Brooke
VizMAP Pty Ltd

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The Industry’s Two Cents Worth…

Visualizing the Urban Environment
from William J. Starmer and Jefferey A. Shufelt, Ph.D.
Reconstructing the World

While many communities throughout the world have captured their infrastructure in GIS databases, they are faced with yet another challenge: visualizing the complex 3D urban environment–with its myriad structures and interconnections–out of 2D data layers that uniformly represent objects in the form of abstract colored points or lines. Experts learn to "reconstruct the world" mentally, but this reconstruction is not easily communicated to decision makers.

One solution is to depict the city in three dimensions from its GIS representation. However, important visual and geometric information is necessarily discarded in collecting this GIS data. To construct a realistic representation of the city we must reverse the abstraction process that first produced the GIS, fully leveraging GIS information while reconstructing the 3D world in a principled manner. In this way we can produce a visualization that is faithful to reality and representative of the physical world as we navigate through it.

A varied user community that is made up of city planners, commercial developers, emergency first-responders, utility companies, and A&E firms requires increasing levels of support for interactive presentations and analyses of the urban environment. For the past several years, TerraSim Inc. has been working on applications of its TerraTools® system to provide that support. This article discusses some of the considerations involved in constructing a 3D world.

Read that full story here
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Hardcore Stuff (hardware bits)…

SGI Launches an Initiative to Deliver Supercomputer-Class Visualization for a Variety of Devices
from SGI
SGI’s Visual Area Networking Will Put the Power of a Graphics Supercomputer in Cell Phones, Television Set-Top Boxes and Wearable ‘Eye Piece’ Computers

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (July 17, 2002)-Silicon Graphics, Inc. (NYSE: SGI) announced today new advances that will soon enable technical and creative professionals to access supercomputer visuals from almost any mobile or consumer device over standard computer networks. This capability is a significant step in making SGI’s vision of universal access to advanced visualization a reality. SGI has been well known for transforming complex data into visualized information to create breakthroughs in defense technology, medicine, oil and gas exploration, engineering design and visual effects for the movies. 

In January 2002, SGI demonstrated the capability to enable customers to collaborate using real-time visualization, with common PCs, Linux® operating system-based tablets or any standard UNIX® OS-based workstation. The SGI solution-called Visual Area Networking-allows users to see graphics on their screens generated by an SGI® supercomputer at thousands of times the detail and complexity that normally could be handled by PCs, with their limitations in graphics and data handling capability. 

Now, SGI and its partners are making it possible to access this advanced visualization technology on new computing devices, specifically wireless mobile devices, television set top boxes and even wearable computers such as "eye pieces." Visual Area Networking makes that information-often based on data sets far too large and complex for a PC to handle-available to users over standard networks. In science, Visual Area Networking can be used for collaboration between researchers in far-flung places around the world. In engineering, it can be used for collaborative decision-making; in medicine this technology can enable doctors to have access to real-time 3D patient data, even if they are thousands of miles from the patient. Visual Area Networking could conceivably also be used in the entertainment industry to enable directors and editors to have access to supercomputer-quality visual effects, even when working in a remote location. 

"SGI is radically changing the way the world uses computer graphics," said Bob Bishop, chairman and chief executive officer of SGI. "In January of this year we introduced the breakthrough concept of Visual Area Networking that is revolutionizing the way our customers work. Now, a mere six months later, we’re extending the technology even further to a variety of mobile and wireless devices to enable our technical and creative customers with anytime and anywhere access to advanced visualization capabilities."

Read that full story here
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Softcore Stuff (software bits)…

TerraSim, Inc. releases TerraTools 1.5
from Bruce
TerraSim, Inc. has announced the release of TerraTools® 1.5, the latest and most comprehensive version of its premier geospatial database construction product. 

TerraTools 1.5 adds new and exciting capabilities in a number of areas including ease of use, data import, a continued focus on urban geospatial visualization, and additional support for port and harbor visualization. The most significant additions within TerraTools 1.5 include: 

Increased functionality.

Significant new functionality includes extensive support for advanced building extrusion with multiple appearance textures, allowing for user specification of foundation, storefront, topfloor, and roof railing textures for enhanced realism even with geotypical source data. 

TerraTools 1.5 incorporates modern graph analysis layout heuristics to give users cleaner and easier-to-read layouts of TerraTools project flowgraphs.

In keeping with our "Just enough GIS", our cartographic data editors provide for a logging facility to maintain a record of user modifications to source data. 

Read that full story here
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A Recent Outing…

Powerlink, Queensland, Australia
from VizMAP
Powerlink Queensland’s major function is to deliver a secure and reliable electricity supply to their customers via the statewide high voltage transmission grid. 

Powerlink owns, plans, develops and operates the Queensland transmission network. It is one of the world’s longest transmission grids, extending more than 1700 km, from north of Cairns in Far North Queensland to the New South Wales border. This ‘long thin’ network operates over a variety of terrains, linking distributors and customers with major power stations via a series of substations.

VizMAP has just completed a series of four projects with Powerlink to provide interactive, 3D visualisations of proposed transmission lines in order to be able to demonstrate to the general public what the proposed transmission lines will look like from any vantage point in the vicinity.

Sample still images from the four completed dynamic visualisations are displayed here. An active internet connection is required to be able to view these scenes.

Click on these small resampled images to view the full screen images from the web. Bear in mind that these are just screen dumps of a dynamic, interactive, 3D "flythrough". 

If you have a need to dynamically visualise your geographic data, let VizMAP knowyour requirements…

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…and Now for Something Completely Different

Video Scratching on M-M-Macs
from Wired
A couple of years ago, three New York video artists were trying to get their experimental films shown in the city’s art galleries and movie festivals, but they didn’t like the staid atmosphere these events engender. 

So they took their movies to raves and nightclubs, and in so doing, they’ve not only become leading practitioners of the new art of video-scratching, they’re finally being invited to perform at festivals and art galleries.

Read that full story here
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Whazzup Next with 20/20 Foresight…

Stuff to look out for in July, August & September This calendar of events has been collated from: 

July 1-3, 2002 13th Annual Laser-Scan User Group Conference Wyboston, Bedfordshire, UK
1-3 July  Air Pollution 2002 Southampton, United Kingdom
1-5 July 2002  United Nations Regional Workshop on the Space Technology for Disaster Management for Africa  Addis Abeba, ETHIOPIA
1-5 Jul. 2002  PIERS 2002 Progress in Electromagnetics Research Symposium  Cambridge, Massachusetts USA
2 July 2002  Store Location Planning  London, UK 
July 3-5, 2002  8th European Commission GI & GIS Workshop Dublin, Ireland 
3-5 Jul. 2002  TELEGEO 2002 3rd International Symposium  Nice-Sophia Antipolis, 
July 5-7, 2002  ESRI EDUC 2002 San Diego, CA USA
7-8 Jul. 2002  Pre-Symposium Joint ISPRS/ICA Workshop on Multi-Scale Representation of Spatial Data  Ottawa, CANADA
7-11 Jul. 2002 The Int’l Symposium on Optical Science and Technology – SPIE’s 47th Annual Meeting  Seattle, Washington USA
8th July 2002  MapInfo User Group UK  London, UK 
8-12 Jul. 2002 ISPRS Joint International Symposium on

Ottawa, CANADA
July 8-12, 2002 22nd Annual ESRI International User Conference San Diego, CA USA
July 14-17, 2002  Australian Map Circle 2002 Conference  Cairns, Queensland, Australia 
14-18 Jul. 2002  Sixth Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics – SCI 2002 Orlando, Florida USA
15-17 July  SVG Open-carto:net Zurich, Switzerland
July 17-22, 2002 Hong Kong Book Fair Hosted by the International Map Trade Association Hong Kong, Hong Kong
July 21-23, 2002 PPGIS: 1st Annual Public Participation GIS Conference New Brunswick, NJ USA
July 22-26, 2002 GML DEV Days – GML Developers’ Conference 2002  Vancouver, Canada
July 22-26, 2002  The Open Group conference Boston, MA USA
July 30 – August 1, 2002 National Collegiate CAD Conference  Seattle, WA USA
4-7 August 2002 Regional Conference of the International Geographical Union Durban, South Africa
August 5-8, 2002  GIS Standards Conference  Champaign, IL USA
6-10 August 2002  International Symposium on City Planning 2002  Taipei, TAIWAN
7-9 August 2002 Map Asia 2002 Bangkok, Thailand 
9 August 6th Annual Symposium on Precision Agriculture in Australasia Sydney, NSW Australia
August 11-13, 2002 Street Smart and Savvy Address Conference  Portland, OR USA
August 14, 2002 GITA Webcast  USA
15-16 August 2002  International Workshop on Mobile and Internet GIS -ISPRS WG IV/2, II/1, II/5, II/6 Wuhan, CHINA
18-23 August  Leica Geosystems’ GIS & Mapping User Group Meeting 2002 San Diego, California, USA
19-21 August GITA 2002 Melbourne, Victoria Australia
20-23 August 2002  ISPRS Symposium of Commission II "Integrated System for Spatial Data Production, Custodian and Decision Support"  Xian, CHINA
26 August – 6 Septmber 2002  The Eighth United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names  Berlin, GERMANY
27-28 August OZRI 2002 – ESRI Australia Brisbane, Queensland Australia
27-29 August 2002 ISCe – International Satellite & Communications exchange  Long Beach, CA USA
28-31 August ENVI Training – Exploring ENVI Brisbane, Queensland Australia
September 2-5, 2002  Society of Cartographers 38th Annual Summer School  Middlesex, UK
2-6 Septmber 2002  ISPRS Symposium of Commission V  Corfu, GREECE
September 2-6, 2002  11th Australasian Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Conference  Brisbane, Queensland Australia
2-6 September GIS ODYSSEY 2002 – International GIS Conference & Exhibition Dubrovnik & Korcula, Croatia
2-11 September  World Summit on Sustainable Development Johannesburg, South Africa
September 3-6, 2002 CARIS 2002 – Seventh International CARIS Users’ Conference  Norfolk, VA USA
September 8-10, 2002 IMTA Americas Annual Conference & Trade Show  Minneapolis, MN USA
9-12 Septmber 2002  Intel Developer Forum (IDF), Fall 2002 San Jose, CA, USA
9-13 Septmber 2002  ISPRS Symposium of Commission III PCV’02 PHOTOGRAMMETRIC COMPUTER VISION  Graz, AUSTRIA
11-13 September 2002 The Open Source Free Software GIS – GRASS users conference 2002 Trento, Italy
12-14 September  39th Annual Symposium and Map Curator’s Workshop Portsmouth, United Kingdom
September 12-15, 2002  EUGISES 2002 Girona, Spain
15-18 September  e-Safety Lyon, France
16-18 Septmber 2002 ISPRS Symposium of Commission VI  São José dos Campos, BRAZIL
16-19 Septmber 2002  Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Conference "GSDI 6 Conference – From global to local" Budapest, HUNGARY
September 17-19, 2002 GIS 2002 London, United Kingdom
17-20 Septmber 2002  X Congress of Quantitative Metods, Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing  Villadolid, SPAIN
19-23 September  EnviroMount 2002 – GIS and Remote Sensing in Mountain Environment Research Zakopane, Poland
20-28 Septmber 2002  The 27th General Assembly of ICSU & Associated Meetings  Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL
September 23-25, 2002 GITA’s 11th GIS for Oil & Gas Conference  Houston, TX USA
23-26 Septmber 2002 International Symposium on Geographic Information Systems "GIS2002"  Istanbul, TURKEY
23-27 Septmber 2002 9th International Symposium on Remote Sensing "Remote Sensing 2002" Crete, GREECE
24 September  GIS in Slovenia 2001-2002 – 6, biannual symposium Slovenia
September 24-27, 2002  ION GPS 2002  Portland, Oregon USA
25-26 September  GIS Conference 2002 Rotterdam, The Netherlands
September 25–27, 2002  9th Annual ESRI and ERDAS Latin American User Conference Mexico City, Mexico 
September 25-28, 2002 GIScience 2002 Second International Geographic Information Science  Boulder, CO USA
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A Parting Gesture… 

The Geography Lesson
from AhaJokes
Teacher: What is the axis of the earth?
Student: The axis of the earth is an imaginary line which passes from one pole to the other, and on which the earth revolves.
Teacher: Very good. Now, could you hang clothes on that line?
Student: Yes, Sir.
Teacher: Indeed, and what sort of clothes?
Student: Imaginary clothes, Sir.
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…that’s all, folks! (for now).