vol 7 num 3

from VizMAP – letting you see where you stand…

Volume 7 Number 3

About VizMAP

VizMAP Pty Ltd, is a leading supplier of terrain simulation 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 here with 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

Maj. Bloodnok:

Seagoon, you’re a coward! 


Only in the holiday season. 

Maj. Bloodnok:

Ah, another Noel Coward! 

— The Goons

VirtualGeography – the newsletter

G’Day… and Welcome to VirtualGeography
from VizMAP
Welcome to another free VirtualGeography from VizMAP Pty Ltd. 

In the immortal words of Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman, "Ooh Aah".

The Federal Government’s "dark side" has been keeping us busy during winter here at VizMAP. Them, and the Queensland Government. Not to mention the Queensland Spatial Conference on the Gold Coast 17-19th July (http://www.qsc2008.com.au/). VizMAP hosted a workshop, "Behind the Scenes" (what a great title!) and presented a paper, "Case Studies in 3D Visualisation". A good time was had by all, particularly at the Casablanca themed conference dinner.

Our Grime List Server for VirtualGeography has been configured for newsletters only (i.e. from me to you) so you can’t respond to this e-mail. If you want to respond to me in person, send me an e-mail here

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If you didn’t already know, VirtualGeography is a collection of interesting snippets from all over the shop, dealing with industry issues concerning the computer based visualisation of geography and a few other associated (or otherwise) interesting bits and pieces. You are receiving this either because you subscribed to VirtualGeography or you have had recent dealings with VizMAP Pty Ltd. If you do not wish to receive further installments of VirtualGeography, just click on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of this e-mail. 

A new VirtualGeography is pushed out every now and then when we’ve collated enough interesting bits and pieces, which shouldn’t be too big a drain on your mailbox if you’re not already subscribed (of course it won’t be a drain on your mailbox if you ARE subscribed, either This is funny ;-)). The regularity of the distribution may vary depending on what else is going on at VizMAP at the time. If you know of anyone who might like to get VirtualGeography, 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 you 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. This comes to you from Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia, where it’s beautiful one day and perfect the next. As a postscript to that, you can have a look at the Mooloolaba beach, now, 800m from where I sit as I write this, here.

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 bond 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 here to make your comments.


Graeme Brooke
VizMAP Pty Ltd

P.S. You’ll need an active internet connection to view any images that are in the content. We’ve done it this way to keep the size of the e-mail to a minimum.

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The Industry’s Two Cents Worth…

TerraSim Releases TerraTools Version 3.5 
from TerraSim
Pittsburgh, PA – TerraSim has released Version 3.5 of TerraTools® Core, its 3D geospatial database construction product supporting correlated visual and constructive simulation systems. TerraTools supports up to eight parallel processing threads on a single multi-core Windows workstation, making it the most cost effective COTS database construction toolkit. TerraTools Core contains over 50 major feature enhancements and represents a significant increase in speed, usability, and functionality. We have added new TerraTools nodes to support enhanced building interior generation and other Urban Details™ construction as an integral part of basic TerraTools geospatial data processing. This includes new middle-eastern regional models and textures added to our extensive library of over 500 unique models and 1200 appearance textures. TerraTools 3.5 is being shipped to all TerraSim customers as a no cost upgrade under their annual maintenance and support agreement.

TerraTools 3.5 supports separately priced export options as plug-ins to TerraTools Core, including OneSAF, JCATS, CTDB, MÄK VR-Forces and OpenFlight, allowing customers to configure systems at cost-effective price points.

OneSAF export supports OOS version 2.0 as well as versions 1.1 and 1.5 for international customers and compatibility with ongoing exercises. OneSAF Ultra High Resolution Buildings (UHRB) produced by ARA’s U2MG building generator or imported from the TerraTools UHRB model library are fully supported including automated placement and building diagnostics.

In addition to producing the most polygon efficient generation of OneSAF terrain databases (OTF), TerraTools’ flexible scripting tracks all versions of the OneSAF Environmental Data Model (EDM). Advanced user diagnostic support and multi-cell export support results in a highly reliable and robust export capability for large area database construction.

For users with legacy OneSAF Testbed (OTB) requirements, TerraTools CTDB export continues to support GCS database construction and multi-cell GCS export as well as modeling of complex building (MES) structures.

JCATS users can choose between integrated TIN or vector features on gridded terrain representations in JCATS format 7.1.5 or recently released JCATS format 8.0. Enhancements for our OpenFlight and MetaFlight export support multi-textures, lightpoints, and large area database format. Our plug-in for BAE Systems SOCETSET GXP has been updated to support version 5.2. 

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

Beyond Graphics – The Present and Future of GP-GPU 
from ExtremeTech
It wasn’t so long ago that 3D graphics cards were only expected to deliver higher frames-per-second in your favorite 3D games. Sure, the graphics companies fought over some image quality issues like the internal color processing precision and the quality of anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering, but even that was targeted at game performance and quality. Of course, there have been graphics cards for years now designed for the professional 3D market—CAD/CAM, industrial design, folks like that. Still, it’s all 3D rendering of some form or another.

The first hint of graphics cards doing something "more than 3D" was with the introduction of video acceleration. It started out simple, with partial decoding of MPEG video, moving gradually into full acceleration of the MPEG2 used in DVDs, and today is quite robust. Modern graphics cards accelerate much of the decoding steps required for sophisticated codecs like VC-1 and H.264 (both used in Blu-ray movies), along with de-interlacing, noise reduction, dynamic contrast control, and more. Much of this work is done in dedicated video hardware on the GPU.

The release of DirectX 10, with unified vertex/pixel/geometry shaders and stream-out functions brought with it a class of hardware that is more flexible, and more easily able to handle other computing tasks. Research into using the powerful parallel processing of GPUs has been going on for years. They call it "GP-GPU," for general-purpose computing on a GPU, and it’s about ready for the mainstream. 

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

Street View Arrives 
from Asian Survey & Mapping
Google released Street View imagery of Japan and Australia on 5 August. A user can select a point on a road, and then view the scene in any direction. The imagery was derived from a 360 degree camera system.

The coverage of Japan is limited to the Tokyo-Yokahama-Chiba metropolis and Osaka on Honshu, and to Sendai, Sapporo and Hakodate on Hokkaido.

Coverage in Australia is the most complete of any country. It covers all the cities and much of the sparsely populated interior. Street View was introduced into five US cities in May. It is also available along the Tour de France route.

Google has not announced any plans for coverage in other countries in the region. However, it is facing legal challenges in Canada and the UK, because of privacy concerns, and may raise issues among security authorities in other countries.

Go to maps.google.com and press the Street View tag.

Read that full story here
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A Recent Outing…

Annapurna Circuit 
from VizMAP
VizMAP recently created a visualisation of one of, if not THE best walking trek on the planet – the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. This from WikiTravel:

17 to 21 days long, this trek takes you through distinct sceneries of rivers, flora, fauna and above all – mountains. The trek goes counter-clockwise and reaches its summit in Thorung La (pass) at the height of 5416m, or more than 16,000 feet. The route goes past the following mountains: Manaslu (an 8,000-plus meter peak), Langtang Himal, Annapurna II and IV, Annapurna III and Gangapurna, and, of course, Annapurna I and Dhaulagiri — passing through the world’s deepest gorge in between those two 8,000-plus meter peaks. Poon Hill, at the end of the trek, affords views of those two mountains, as well as South Annapurna and Macchupucchre, the "Fishtail Mountain." The trek also goes through Buddhist villages and Hindu holy sites, most notably the village of Muktinath, a holy site for both Buddhists and Hindus.

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

If you would like more information on this project, or need your own similar project performed, let VizMAP know

If you have a need to dynamically visualise your geographic data, let VizMAP know your requirements…
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OK, That’s Different…

Computer-generated Images: Hollywood Hair Will Be Captured At Last 
from Science Daily
ScienceDaily (Aug. 13, 2008) — University of California, San Diego today announced a new method for accurately capturing the shape and appearance of a person’s hairstyle. The results closely match the real hairstyles and can be used for animation.

Imagine avatars of your favorite actors wandering through 3D virtual worlds with hair that looks almost exactly like it does in real life. This level of realism for animated hairstyles is one step closer to the silver screen, thanks to new research being presented at SIGGRAPH, one of the most competitive computer graphics conferences in the world. The breakthrough is a collaboration between researchers at UC San Diego, Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq: ADBE) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The computer graphics researchers captured the shape and appearance of hairstyles of real people using multiple cameras, light sources and projectors. The computer scientists then created algorithms to “fill in the blanks” and generate photo-realistic images of the hairstyles from new angles and new lighting situations.

Adobe researcher and SIGGRAPH paper author Sylvain Paris explained that replicating hairstyles for every possible angle and then getting individual strands of hair to realistically shine in the sun and blow in the wind would be extremely difficult and time consuming for digital artists to do manually.

“We want to give movie and video game makers the tools necessary to animate actors and have their hair look and behave as it would in the real world,” said UC San Diego computer science professor Matthias Zwicker, also a SIGGRAPH paper author.

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

Check these sites for events to look out for in the Vis/Sim, GIS, LIS, Remote Sensing & Photogrammetry calendars…
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A Parting Gesture…Smile... it's free.

Answers to Geography Test Questions 
From About.com
This collection is supposedly derived from students answers to geography test questions:

  • Climate is caused by the emotion of the earth around the sun.
  • The people of Japan ride around in jig-saws.
  • The plains of Siberia are roamed over by the lynx and the larynx.
  • Lindberg is the capital of Germany.
  • The chief animals of Australia are the kangaroo, larkspur, boomerang, and peccadillo.
  • The inhabitants of ancient Egypt were called Mummies.
  • Don Juan is a town in the West Indies.
  • Germany is an industrial country because the poor have nothing else to do, so they make lots and lots of factories.
  • Where is Alaska? Alaska is not in Canada.
  • Spain’s national music is the cascarets.
  • What people live in the Po Valley? Po people.
  • In Pittsburgh they manufacture iron and steal.
  • In Athens there is a temple called the Pancreas.
  • The Alimentary Canal is located in the northern part of Indiana.
  • Georgia was founded by people who had been executed.
  • When we cross the Hudson River we come to the United States.
  • Where is the greater part of Europe? In New York.
  • The principal export of Sweden is hired girls.
  • The Indian squabs carry porpoises on their backs.
  • Among the enduring remains of Egyptian civilization are pyramids and obsequies.
  • The writing of ancient Egypt was called hydraulics.
  • Rome had a fine defensive position, being seven miles from the mouth of the Tiger.
  • The seaport of Athens is Pyorrhea.
  • The Greeks wore scandals on their feet.
  • In what general direction to the rivers of France flow? From the source to the mouth.
  • The general direction of the Alps is straight up.
  • Manhattan island was bought from the Indians for about $24, and now I don’t suppose you could buy it for $500.
  • The United States are mostly populated by people.
  • The State of Virginia was named for the Virgin Mary, who afterward married Captain John Smith.
  • What is the sound west of the State of Washington? The sound of the ocean.
  • Canadians raise boll weevils for their wool.
  • Where is Cincinnati? First place in the National League.
  • Floods from the Mississippi may be prevented by putting big dames in the river.
  • Denver is just below the ‘o’ in Colorado.
  • They don’t raise anything in Kansas but Alpaca grass, and they have to irritate that to make it grow.
  • The benefit of latitude and longitude is that when a man is drowning he can call out what latitude and longitude he is and we can find him.
  • Virginia is the mother of President Wilson and is also noted for her hysterical sights.
  • The chief products of the Hawaiian Islands is rainfall.
  • Philistines were inhabitants of the Philippine Islands.
  • The original tribes of Central America were the Axtecs, the Celts, and the Morons.
  • New Zealand is a democratic country. they passed a law there preventing women from sweating in the factories.
  • Malays are brown generally and inhabit Malaria.
  • The climate is hottest next to the Creator.
  • The Kaffirs of Africa are a very savage race. In times of war they beat their tum-tums and can be heard for miles around.
  • The American Indians travel in birchbark canoes on little streams of water that they make themselves.
  • The state flower of Colorado is the concubine.
  • The soil of Prussia was so poor that the people had to work hard just to stay on top.
  • The Mason line is the line running north of the Equator and the Dixon line is south.
  • In the west, farming is done mostly by irritating the land.
  • Oceania is a continent that contains no land.
  • There is a great deal of nothing in the center of Australia.
  • Asked to name six animals peculiar to Arctic regions, a boy replied, "Three bears and three seals."
  • Climate lasts all the time, but weather lasts only a few days.
  • Latitude tells how hot you are and longitude tells how cold you are.
  • The Menai Straits are crossed by a tubercular bridge.
  • Sienna is famous for being burnt.
  • The climate of Bombay is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere.
  • The sun never sets on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the east and the sun sets in the west.
  • The trade of Spain is small, owing to the insolence of the people.
  • The Eskimos are God’s frozen people.
  • The sun sets in the west and hurries around to the east to be in time to rise the next morning.
  • Name three animals peculiar to frigid regions. The lion and the giraffe and the elephant are peculiar to frigid regions, but the polar bear and the seal and the walrus live there.
  • People go to Africa to hunt rhinostriches.
  • Glaciers spread a murrain over the land.
  • The highest peak in the Alps is the Blanc Mange.
  • The Equator is a menagerie lion running around the earth and through Africa.
  • Imports are ports very far inland.
  • Nearly at the bottom of Lake Michigan is Chicago.
  • The chief occupation of Perth is Dying.
  • The inhabitants of Moscow are Mosquitoes.
  • The Pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain.
  • A mountain range is a cooking stove used at high altitudes.
  • An Indian Reservation consists of a mile of land for every five square Indians.
  • The only signs of life in the Tundra are a few stunned corpses.
  • Among the islands of the West Indies are the Pyjamas, noted for their toilet sponges.
  • Lipton is the capital of Ceylon.
  • The population of London is a bit too thick.
  • Persian cats is the chief industry of Persia, hence the word purr.
  • The Mediterranean and the Red Seas are connected by the Sewage Canal.
  • New York is behind Greenwich time because America was not discovered until very much later.
  • Henry VIII had an abyss on his knee which made walking difficult.
  • Certain areas of Egypt are cultivated by irritation.
  • Zanzibar is noted for its monkeys. The British Governor lives there.
  • A watershed is a shed in the middle of the ocean where ships shelter during a storm.
Smile... it's free.
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Letting you see where you stand…

Feel free to forward this to whomsoever you wish.
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…that’s all, folks. For now…