vol 8 num 1

VirtualGeography
from VizMAP – letting you see where you stand…

Volume 8 Number 1 

Contents

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 here with the details. 

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

VirtualGeography
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A Moment’s Notice

"Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning." 

— Rich Cook

VirtualGeography – the newsletter

G’Day… and Welcome to VirtualGeography
from VizMAP
Welcome to another free VirtualGeography from VizMAP Pty Ltd. this one being spat out on the 2009 side of New Year’s Eve. So, when in Rome… Happy MMIX!!

…It’s actually a lot later than it was written. The problems with the web server escalated and two servers later, here we are! You might receive another VirtualGeography quite soon. I have so much to tell!

The VizMAP webserver appears to have had a serious gutteral exposure and malfunction. This VirtualGeography is being sent using Grime resources instead. If you don’t see anything on www.vizmap.com.au for a few days, that’s (I think) OK. If this persists, let me know here and we’ll investigate another server. Never put all your eggs in one server.

12 months ago, 2008 kicked off with VizMAP heavily involved in a Port of Brisbane project that you will see a bit of later on in this edition. After a hectic year, 2008 ended for us finalising a couple of very interesting projects, one, yet another revisit of the Cadia Valley gold and copper mine near Orange in NSW where they are working on an 18 year plan of what the place is going to look like. Another was a proposed trans-shipment coal terminal in central coastal Queensland that will keep the big coal ships at bay (no pun inten… yes it was! This is funny ;-)). 
Other interesting stuff in the later bit of 2008 was the new VBS2 exporter that TerraSim was demonstrating at the annual I/ITSEC show in Orlando. More of that later too! 

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

The List Server has now been configured for automatic subscriptions and unsubscriptions.

  • To subscribe, send a blank 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.

Enjoy…

Graeme Brooke
VizMAP Pty Ltd

Graeme Brooke

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…

VBS2 and OneSAF Correlation on Display at I/ITSEC 2008
from TerraSim
December 1, 2008

Pittsburgh, PA – During I/ITSEC 2008, Calytrix Technologies and Bohemia Interactive Australia will demonstrate real-time interaction between VBS2 and the US Army’s OneSAF runtime environment, interconnected via LVC Game and using correlated terrains produced by TerraSim’s TerraTools®. This demonstration will take place in the Calytrix and Bohemia Interactive joint exhibit space (Booth #2647).

VBS2, more formally known as Virtual Battlespace 2 and produced by Bohemia Interactive Australia, is the leading “serious games” technology 3D visualization product. High fidelity urban environments, correlated for visual and constructive simulation, are in high demand for training and mission rehearsal. TerraSim, the provider of technology-leading 3D database development product TerraTools, has released a new plug-in module that outputs 3D visual terrain databases in VBS2 format.

Coupled with Calytrix Technologies’ LVC Game software, VBS2 interconnects with other Live, Virtual and Constructive (LVC) applications using DIS or HLA networking protocols. Though VBS2 and LVC Game have been in combined use for several years, customers have had to develop VBS2 format and SAF terrain databases independently, usually with results lacking critically-needed correlation among diverse formats. Now, with TerraTools’ production of terrain databases for VBS2 and other constructive simulation formats, the required correlation is assured.

TerraSim’s VBS2 exporter plug-in extends TerraTools’ impressive range of capabilities to export 3D terrain databases correlated for both visual simulation and semi-automated forces (SAF) applications of constructive simulation. More information about these companies and products is at www.calytrix.com, www.vbs2.com, and www.terrasim.com.

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

Sun Delivers Industry Leading Virtualization Solutions for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses
from Sun
Sun x64 Server Sets World Record on Industry-Leading Virtualization Benchmark
SANTA CLARA, CA January 15, 2009 Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: JAVA) today announced that it has expanded its portfolio of small- and medium-sized business (SMB) solutions with the introduction of two new virtualization solutions that combine Sun’s leading x64 server and open storage products with VMware ESX and Microsoft Hyper-V software. Sun also announced a new world-record VMmark benchmark result on the Sun Fire X4450 server, demonstrating superior performance among all 24-core systems with the best result based on Intel Xeon processor technology. For more information on Sun’s SMB virtualization solutions visit www.sun.com/smb. To test Sun’s solution in a free 60-day trial through Sun’s Try and Buy program, visit www.sun.com/tryandbuy.

Sun’s Virtualization solutions for SMBs using VMware ESX and Microsoft Hyper-V software deliver tested and optimized storage and server configurations that make it easy for customers to deploy leading virtualization offerings. Sun’s solutions pair Sun’s ultra-scalable Sun Fire X4150, Sun Fire X4250, Sun Fire X4450 servers and Sun Storage 7210 Unified Storage systems with VMware ESX, and Sun Fire X4250 server and Sun Storage J4200 systems with Microsoft Hyper-V. These solutions allow customers to build an agile IT environment that can quickly meet the changing needs of their businesses through rapid virtual server deployment, reducing costs and achieving optimal performance through maximum server and storage utilization. Partners can also benefit from these solutions by gaining added value in configuration, implementation and installation services, diversifying their offerings and expanding their customer reach.

"Sun has been helping the world’s largest companies with virtualization for years," said David Simmons, senior director, Mid-Market Business, Sun Microsystems. "Now we’re bringing these capabilities to our SMB customers. Sun’s x64 servers and new and innovative open storage systems combined with industry leading SMB virtualization software allows customers to easily virtualize their IT environments increasing business performance and their competitive advantage in the marketplace."

Sun’s SMB initiative delivers uniquely designed solutions for Web services, database, email and virtualization deployments, while reducing total cost and complexity. Sun’s SMB solutions portfolio includes Windows Essential Business Server (EBS), Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 upgrade, MySQL database and Sun’s secure web server solution. Sun’s overall commitment to open source software and industry-standard hardware make it easier and more affordable for SMBs to access Sun’s leading products. Customers can choose from a wide range of products and platforms like the Sun Fire x64 servers and Ultra-SPARC processor-based servers; multiple operating systems like Solaris 10, Windows and Linux; and industry-leading databases like Sun’s MySQL database. Sun’s SMB initiative continues to deliver customer value across a range of industries from media and entertainment to education and technology. Sun SMB customer case studies can be found at http://www.sun.com/customers/. 

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

DigitalGlobe, AEgis to launch 3D imagery solution
from GIS Development
16 January 2009
Longmont, Colo., USA, January 15, 2008 – DigitalGlobe, high resolution satellite data provider, and The AEgis Technologies Group, a provider of expert modeling and simulation services, announced the availability of ImageScape, a rapid 3D imagery solution that will provide governments, enterprises and developers with the capability to create rich simulations of any location in the world. ImageScape can generate 3D virtual terrain models of the world’s land mass by integrating high-precision, accurate satellite and aerial imagery and Digital Elevation Models (DEM) with a flexible, lightweight viewer which creates media-broadcast quality terrain models.

Using 3D wireframe terrain topologies and high-resolution commercial imagery from DigitalGlobe’s ImageLibrary and satellite constellation, ImageScape users will be able to fly through virtual representations of desired locations at a full 1:1 resolution. ImageScape provides a highly interactive and easy-to-use environment for all levels of users, including robust mapping and measurements tools to enhance the 3D experience, celestial models for day/night effects, environment options for snow, smog and rain, together with simple integration and output to broadcast media video and geospatial products.

ImageScape is a superior geospatial 3D solution in terms of the speed at which models are created, performance, file size and cost effectiveness. The models are available within days, and, using the free lightweight viewer, output rendering is four times faster than other 3D modeling and simulation products. The final file size is up to 1/10 of the normal size of geo-tiff delivered imagery and frame outputs at 60 frames per second instead of the normal 20-24 per second. The result is an extremely flexible and lightweight simulation environment with both 3D and 2D views delivering fast modeling and analysis results. Its lightweight feature enables its use on personal navigation and mobile devices for more realistic depictions of major cities and remote rural areas.

“There is increasing demand for imagery to be integrated and displayed in more ways than ever before and the 3D experience is key to delivering a more interactive and intuitive perspective of our world” said Jill Smith, president and chief executive officer of DigitalGlobe. “We chose to join forces with AEgis because of its leadership in modeling and simulation. AEgis’ technology moves the 3D viewing experience to a new level with its speed, output quality and lower production cost, all of which aligns with DigitalGlobe’s mission to make world imagery available faster and more cost effectively and more easily accessible.”

Read that full story here
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A Recent Outing…

The Port of Brisbane
from VizMAP
Back in 2007, VizMAP was engaged as technical lead on a project performed for the Port of Brisbane through Paul Donato’s Lighthouse Central. This brought together a number of disciplines with a view to creating a scenario-based emergency/terrorism training exercise. VizMAP was responsible for the geospatial aspects of the exercise including the 3D modelling of a significant portion of the roads, wharves and other infrastructure of the port. VizMAP managed a team of modellers and interface programmers and liaised with security and surveillance specialists to develop an application that portrayed a “scenario” that included a semi-trailer roll-over including a chemical spill, a series of terrorist-set fires with pluming smokeand changeable weather conditions.

The eventual scenario was played out in front of an invited audience of over eighty professionals in January 2008. Conducted by Paul Donato (whose credentials include Director of Commercial Security within the Olympic Security Command Centre and Program Director Security Sydney Olympic Committee (for the) Olympic Games SOCOG), VizMAP handled the geospatial components including mapping, geospatial coordination and visualisation, including overhead projection of the live visualisation.

The semi-trailer (tractor-trailer) rollover on the roundabout with the chemical spill was a particular hit!

VizMAP's PortWatch #1 VizMAP's PortWatch #2
VizMAP's PortWatch #3 VizMAP's PortWatch #4
VizMAP's PortWatch #5 VizMAP's PortWatch #6
VizMAP's PortWatch #7 VizMAP's PortWatch #8

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…

How Video Will Save the Audio Star from Wired
LAS VEGAS — After years of enduring the poor sound quality caused by compressed digital audio formats, your ears are about to get a break. The unlikely saviors? Newly dominant high-definition video protocols, specifically HDMI and Blu-ray.

"I think it’s had a great effect on the whole marketplace, really," said Tom Dixon, vice president of marketing for surround sound company DTS. "From the consumer research we get, we’re looking at probably a higher acceptance curve for Blu-ray than what DVD had in its first three years."

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, manufacturers are showing a host of technologies that will bring better sound quality to your ears. The easiest and most effective way to improve your sound quality has always been to upgrade your headphones and speakers, because those final links in the audio chain matter more than any other factor. But due to the connected nature of today’s entertainment world, you can now achieve sound quality improvements near the edge of the network, just before sound reaches the speakers.

Here’s how it’s going down. The Blu-ray audio-video format will have a much better chance at popularizing high-definition audio than specifically audio-oriented formats like SACD or DVD-A. That’s partly because Blu-ray got a huge boost last year when its competitor, HD DVD, died after Warner Brothers pulled its support for the format.

As part of its initiative to promote better-quality audio, the Blu-ray Disc Group is using the phrase "the perfect audio" to promote its format. And as consumers upgrade to Blu-ray and high-definition signals, they’re connecting their devices with an HDMI cable, with profound implications for home audio fidelity.

Before this, high-quality cables were either of paramount importance or totally irrelevant, depending on who you asked. Consumer Reports’ assistant project leader Rich Hammond falls into the second camp. "There’s no point in [testing cables] for our readers," he told us during a tour of their testing facilities. "If someone was really interested in having a blind shootout of high-end cables, the kind of money and the kind of systems that might possibly reveal those differences or make people think they can hear those differences [are too expensive] … there are some things that are pointless for us to pursue."

However, HDMI, with its ability to carry HD audio and video, is a cable that makes a real difference in terms of quality and convenience. Now that consumers can send HD audio and video throughout their home entertainment systems with ease, manufacturers hope they’ll be more likely to upgrade to surround sound.

Essentially, audio is piggybacking on video on the road to high definition. Once it gets there, the stage will be set for digital and physical better-than-CD-quality audio formats. Dixon said DTS is in talks with various players in the music industry, and that many people — especially the artists — are excited about Blu-ray’s extended dynamic range and surround sound.

Retailers are on board too. David Bales, marketing manager for Pioneer, is optimistic about his company’s future as consumers make this switch, despite the current economic outlook.

He said Best Buy, Circuit City, Amazon and other retailers are champing at the bit to sell us all 7.1-channel A/V receivers, and that they plan to offer discounts on them when people upgrade their televisions to HD. To that end, he said, "We expect to see some pretty big promotions going out over the next year."

And high-definition audio doesn’t necessarily mean paying audiophile prices. Bales said all of Pioneer’s new A/V receivers now have HDMI 1.3a repeaters, and that even the company’s low-end $200 model can handle 1080p, 24-frame video and high-definition audio.

"HDMI’s level of video, and sound resolution and bit depth, the amount of information running through the wires, and with the copy protection and all the other things that go with the new high-definition formats — it’s just the new standard," Bales said.

Pioneer and other CE manufacturers hope that the receiver — not the computer — becomes the brain of your home entertainment system, by connecting to computers and portables for digitally distributed content while integrating seamlessly with cable boxes, physical media players and televisions via HDMI.

Once the home has been made safe for high-definition audio, the next step will be to do the same on the portable side. 

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.

Noah’s Flood
From About.com
A visitor to Texas once asked, ”Does it ever rain out here?” 

”Yes, it does,” replied the rancher. ”Do you remember that part in the Bible when it rained for 40 days and 40 nights?” 

”Yes, I’m familiar with Noah’s flood,” the visitor said. 

”Well,” said the rancher, ”we got two and a half inches during that spell.”

Smile... it's free.
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VizMAP
Letting you see where you stand…

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…that’s all, folks. For now…