vol 9 num 2

from VizMAP – letting you see where you stand…

Volume 9 Number 2 


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 visualisations and simulations 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.


To subscribe to VirtualGeography
click here.

To unsubscribe from VirtualGeography
click here.

A Moment's Notice

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea…

— Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

This is funny ;-)

VirtualGeography – the newsletter

G'Day… and Welcome to VirtualGeography
from VizMAP

Welcome to another non-denominational, co-ed, family friendly, mind-bogglingly interesting and totally free VirtualGeography from VizMAP Pty Ltd.

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. 

VizMAP finished the end of the financial year on a high with more TerraTools placements in this region than any previous year, making VizMAP the most successful TerraSim reseller on the planet. This has been predominantly due to the raft of new exporters for TerraTools allowing fully correlated virtual and constructive terrain databases. See "A Recent Outing" later in the newsletter to get a feel for this.

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.  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/or 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 Maroochydore 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 Maroochydore beach (otherwise known as the Pacific Ocean), now, 1,000m from where I sit as I write this, here.

The link between visualisation and surveying 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

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.

Back to Top

The Industry's
Two Cents Worth…

TerraSim Releases Xtract™ 1.1 
from TerraSim
TerraSim, Inc is pleased to announce the latest release of its geospatial visualisation database reuse tool: TerraSim Xtract™ 1.1. Xtract is a low cost, standalone application with support for 32 and 64 bit Windows workstations. Using TerraSim's proven and advanced terrain generation technology, Xtract works out of the box with a clean and simple user interface with no embedded format editors.

The latest release of Xtract includes over 30 improvements and bug fixes, including:

  •     Support for the Windows 7 operating system
  •     A more user-friendly interface
  •     Processing speedups
  •     Memory improvement
  •     Additional documentation including step-by-step tutorials with sample data

Xtract supports the ingest of OTBSAF CTDB, OneSAF OTF, and OpenFlight databases and individual models. It produces terrain surfaces, geospatial vectors, and 3D model libraries. Users can select multiple representations for each of these categories for fast and consistent data extraction. For example, a legacy terrain surface can be simultaneously exported as gridded DEM, as a triangulated irregular network (TIN), as well as a reprojected and resampled grid, all under user control.

Xtract exports to the widest variety of third party geospatial data processing products, including Global Mapper, 3DStudio Max, Bohemia Interactive Oxygene, ESRI ArcGIS, OpenSceneGraph viewers, Google Earth, Presagis Creator, and more. In addition, Xtract supports simultaneous model extraction and enhancement, converting to 3DStudioMax, COLLADA, VBS2 P3D, OpenFlight, and tiled scenegraph (TSG) format.

Read that full story here
Back to Top

Hardcore Stuff
(hardware bits)…

Cloud Gurus Share Their Own Hands-On Experiences in the Cloud with IT-Decision Makers in Frankfurt, October 28 – 29, 2010  
from Top 500

FRANKFURT, Germany –In 1969, Leonard Kleinrock, one of the chief scientists of the original Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) which preceded the Internet, said: "As of now, computer networks are still in their infancy, but as they grow up and become sophisticated, we will probably see the spread of 'computer utilities' which, like present electric and telephone utilities, will service individual homes and offices across the country."

This vision of computing as a utility, based on the service provisioning model, anticipates the massive transformation of the entire IT industry in the 21st century whereby computing and data services will be readily available on demand, like other utility services available in today’s society. And not to forget, IT service users (consumers) need to pay providers only when they access these services. Consumers no longer need to invest heavily or encounter difficulties in building and maintaining complex IT infrastructures. Therefore it’s understandable that Clouds are overwhelmed with discussions of the benefits of adopting Cloud Computing and enabling technologies such as virtualization.

What has been missing so far from the Cloud discussion is an analysis of what has to happen to make Cloud Computing a real success story.

The ISC Cloud'10 Conference is exactly what you need as an IT professional or a business leader who wants to understand what cloud computing can do for your organization. This one and a half-day conference will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the foundational elements of the cloud environment from a business, technical and research perspective. The conference will define the many terms and concepts that are fundamental to developing an understanding of cloud computing. In addition, you will learn about the economics of public, private and hybrid cloud environments as well as management, governance and security in the cloud. You will also learn how to get started with the development of a cloud services strategy that works for your organization, based on many case studies presented.

The ISC Cloud'10 Conference will include sessions about:

  • Public, Private & Hybrid Cloud
  • Many Case Studies from Industry & Research using vendor and end-use customer examples to examine cloud delivery models in detail: Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Software as a Service
  • Cloud Computing for Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises
  • Cloud Computing as one possible future of High Performance Computing
  • The fast-paced Hot Seat Sessions 'Hot Cloud' that have been a trademark of ISC for many years
  • The 'Cloud Debate' about the Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing
  • A Panel Discussion about how to start your Cloud, and finding the right Cloud strategy for your organization
Read that full story here
Back to Top

Softcore Stuff
(software & data bits)…

Google Earth helps discover rare hominid ancestor in South Africa
from Google Blog

Scientists announced a new hominid fossil discovery in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in South Africa. The discovery is one of the most significant palaeoanthropological discoveries in recent times, revealing at least two partial hominid skeletons in remarkable condition, dating to between 1.78 and 1.95 million years. We are especially excited because Google Earth played a role in its discovery.

So how did this come about? Back in March 2008, Professor Lee Berger from Witswatersrand University in Johannesburg started to use Google Earth to map various known caves and fossil deposits identified by him and his colleagues over the past several decades, as it seemed the ideal platform by which to share information with other scientists. In addition, he also used Google Earth to locate new fossil deposits by learning to identify what cave sites looked like in satellite images.

At the beginning of this project, there were approximately 130 known cave sites in the region and around 20 fossil deposits. With the help of the navigation facility and high-resolution satellite imagery in Google Earth, Professor Berger went on to find almost 500 previously unidentified caves and fossil sites, even though the area is one of the most explored in Africa. One of these fossil sites yielded the remarkable discovery of a new species, Australopithecus sediba. This species was an upright walker that shared many physical traits with the earliest known species of the genus homo — and its introduction into the fossil record might answer some key questions about our earliest ancestry in Africa.

We’re absolutely thrilled about this announcement, and delighted that our free mapping tools such as Google Earth and Google Maps continue to enable both individuals and distinguished scientists to explore and learn about their world. With these tools, places both foreign and familiar can be explored with the click of a mouse, allowing for new understandings of geography, topology, urbanism, development, architecture and the environment. Our efforts to organize the world’s geographic information are ongoing — but at the end of the day, seeing the way these tools are put to use is what most inspires us. 

Read that full story here
Back to Top

A Recent

Example of Correlated Virtual and Constructive Terrain Databases – "Sample Desert Village" built using TerraTools
from VizMAP
How do you guarantee that all your training and simulation terrain databases – across various platforms and software – are all in sync? You build them all from the same source data using one terrain database generation facility – TerraTools from TerraSim Inc.

Coupled with Calytrix Technologies' LVC Game software, VBS2, for example,  interconnects with other Live, Virtual and Constructive (LVC) applications using DIS or HLA networking protocols. Though LVC Game and VBS2 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.

Free downloads of these terrains are available via registration at the Calytrix website. Formats include VBS2 (Virtual Battlespace 2, produced by Bohemia Interactive Australia), OpenFlight (16.0), JCATS (7.1.5), JSAF (CTDB 8), OneSAF (OTF Format 6), OneSAF Testbed (OTF) (CTDB 7), Steel Beasts, OpenSceneGraph and MAK VR-Forces (GDB). These samples give LVC Game users a full set of correlated terrain databases to use as a testbed for each of their runtime applications.



OpenFlight (16.0)
Steel Beasts Pro (New)

MäK VR-Vantage 1.1 (New)

OpenSceneGraph (.osg) Compressed Textures (New)

OpenSceneGraph (.osg)
Compressed Textures (New)

OpenSceneGraph (.ive) Compressed Textures (New)
OpenSceneGraph (.ive)
Compressed Textures (New)
JCATS (7.1.5)

JCATS (7.1.5)

MÄK VR-Forces (GDB)
MÄK VR-Forces (GDB)
OneSAF 4.0 (OTF 8.0)
OneSAF 4.0 (OTF 8.0)
OneSAF 1.5, 2.0 and 3.0

OneSAF 1.5, 2.0 and 3.0

OneSAF Testbed (OTF) (CTDB 7)
OneSAF Testbed (OTF) (CTDB 7)

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…

Back to Top

That's Different…

Beam me up Shhhcotty … the Aussie space beer with zero gravity from The Age

Australia doesn't even have a space program but a partnership between space engineers and a Sydney brewery aims to make damn sure we won't be beaten to the first space-certified beer.

The beer, intended to meet anticipated demand for space tourism, has been developed by a joint venture between space engineering firm Saber Astronautics Australia and the 4 Pines Brewing Company, in the northern Sydney suburb of Manly. The new company is called Vostok.

The pair will be the first clients of non-profit space research firm Astronauts4Hire, which next month will sample the beer in a low gravity environment while doing "weightless parabolas".
Manly's 4 Pines Brewery and Saber Astronautics Australia celebrate Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human in space on the anniversary of the event on April 12 this year.

Manly's 4 Pines Brewery and Saber Astronautics Australia celebrate Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human in space on the anniversary of the event on April 12 this year.

A researcher will record qualitative data on the beer's taste and drinkability and biometric data on body temperature, heart rate and blood alcohol content.

"Humanity has had beer longer than we've had writing so, wherever humanity goes, beer is going to follow," Saber director Jason Held said.

"So if we're to go into space we need to understand how the human body responds to alcohol. It's very difficult to drink beer in zero gravity because you have a reduced sense of flavour and anything carbonated is going to have a hard time because gases respond differently in space than they do on Earth."

Alcohol is banned on NASA space missions and in the International Space Station but Held said this would change with the rise in space tourism over the next two to five years. He said there was a precedent for drinking alcohol in space even among professional astronauts.

"There's a lot of anecdotal evidence of astronauts sampling a bit – there is an issue of morale for long-term space missions," Held said.

"Historically, Russians would have a bit of a tipple in space … [and] Buzz Aldrin had a bit of wine to celebrate communion on the moon."

Jaron Mitchell, owner of 4 Pines, said he had already developed the first prototype of the beer, which was based on the company's regular stout product.

"We've made a few little tweaks to our beer that we have here at the bar and in bottle shops and pubs," said Mitchell.

"Your tongue swells when you're out in space so therefore you lose a lot of the ability to detect flavour, so we've come up with a beer recipe that has a lot of body and full flavour … to hopefully cut through the lack of sensitivity."

Another issue is the lack of gravity to separate air and liquid in the stomach, which Mitchell explained could cause "wet burps" in space.

"When you're on Earth, the gravity actually separates the air and the liquid such that if you burp, you burp the air, whereas when you're just floating around in space you can do what's called wet burps, which are little suspended balls of liquid just hovering around," he said.

"So we've changed a few of the properties of the beer to counter both those things."

Mitchell says he was unsure how the tests would go in November but it would nonetheless provide valuable research. There has not been any official testing of alcohol in space so the team has so far had to rely on research conducted using water, juice and soft drinks.

"It's just a great little first for humanity and that's the driver of all this; it's not to create some huge market because realistically even though space tourism is starting in 2012 it's going to be a long time until most people can afford to go up there for a weekend," he said.

Read that full story here
Back to Top

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…



Back to Top

A Parting
Smile... it's free.

Hilarious Geography Test Answers
From Jokes4Teachers
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.


Smile... it's free.
Back to Top

Letting you see where you stand…

Feel free to forward this to whomsoever you wish.
To e-mail the VirtualGeography Editor, click here.
To subscribe to VirtualGeography, click here.
To unsubscribe from VirtualGeography, click here.

…that's all, folks. For now…