Okay, you’ve all seen the hype generated about our new streaming terrain capabilities. You’ve all heard how we built this terrain using a combination of raw source data and some small amounts of hand modeled elements. Recently we put together a really simple video showing off Oahu, Hawaii. Here it is.
The video is long - it's 28 minutes long to be precise. Even though it only covers a small area of the island, you may not want to watch the whole thing. If you are thinking of fast-forwarding around, here are some highlights to check out. I will organize my tour by timeline so you can jump around and notice the effects.
1) 00:00 – When the video starts, the helicopter is taking off from a cut in runway that was generated in OpenFlight using common industry tools. Yes, those are the real runways; next time you land your private plane in Hawaii and look out the front, that’s what you will see.
The cut in runways are hosted on VR-TheWorld.com and added to the scene via a web link in your .earth file that looks like this:
And the earth without the runways would look like this:
This means, when your helicopter touches the ground, your terrain will look as good as your artist can make it. And the work your artist will have to do can be pretty small.
2) 00:19 – Now you are looking at airport trees. We did a bunch of manual work here to make this look good. Mostly we had to hand place trees using ArcGIS because source data wasn’t available. Good source data for tree placement is available for lots of places. Here it is for Washington DC:
Don’t fret quite yet, your tax dollars are at work: cities all over the world are collecting tree information as fast as they can. You can collect this information for Paris, Toronto, DC, and dozens of other cities and areas.
In all of those cities we know where and what kinds of tree are there. If you have the models, you can show the city in exquisite detail. We have several tropical tree models on VR-TheWorldServer that you can use too.
3) 01:27 – After another minute you can see the airport building. This is a geospecific model which was hand crafted and is served on VR-TheWorld.com. It’s downloaded into VR-Vantage on demand. Our goal was to produce a realistic airport and we wanted the real building. As you fly over it you will see the real roof. Also note the tree diversity - all hand placed, unfortunately. All the handcraft was done around the airport and included the runways, terminal, and tower building.
4) 15:00 – Here you will notice one of the common problems with building terrain off of real imagery. Sometimes the image coloring and resolution don’t match. Notice the stripe in the ocean. We had the ocean around the airport blended by Harris, but didn’t do the whole island.
5) 20:00 – At this point in the tour, you are crossing over to the other side of the island. You will notice some tree’s on the ridge line. These trees are procedurally generated from known forest area. As you fly through the island, you will note there are millions of diverse trees. Each of these trees was automatically placed when we uploaded publically available GIS data for forest areas. The effect of the trees becomes truly clear in a half minute at 20:30.
This is just a brief tour of the island. We have also created a hand modeled village for on-the-ground simulation. I encourage you to check it out by downloading FreeView (or using your VR-Vantage). Oahu is a big beautiful place, have a visit… virtual airfare is on us!