Carto Project

Summary of August 2, 2006 - Carto BOF Meeting at SIGGRAPH 2006

Theresa-Marie Rhyne

ACM SIGGRAPH Carto Project Director

On Wednesday of SIGGRAPH 2006, the ACM SIGGRAPH Carto Project held a Birds-of-a-Feather session to report on 2006 activities and to demonstrate future projects underway. As the Carto Project is a collaborative effort with the International Cartographic Association (ICA)'s Commission on Visualization and Virtual Environments and the X3D GeoSpatial Working Group of the Web3D Consortium, reports on these were also provided.

Theresa-Marie Rhyne, ACM SIGGRAPH Carto Project Director, highlighted the theme focus on "Exploring GeoVisualization" that is part of the July/August 2006 issue of IEEE Computer Graphics & Applications magazine. Theresa-Marie, Alan MacEachren, and Jason Dykes co-guest edited this theme focus.

Alan Hudson demonstrated progress associated with open-source Java-based Xj3D's GeoSpatial support. This included a review of various code updates and revisions. An real time presentation showed new X3D models for Pearl Harbor Hawaii harbor defenses and terrestrial parking orbits around the satellites. These demos showed effective geospatial referencing with large models, lots of textures, effective user interaction and even networked agent-based simulation entities.

Don Brutzman announced the Web3D Consortium's decision to establish an X3D Earth Working Group. This group will build a distributed backdrop X3D model of planet Earth using publicly available terrain datasets, publicly available imagery and cartography, the X3D Geospatial Component and related open standards. An invitation-only workshop will be held at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) this fall to determine X3D Earth usage requirements, current capabilities, and necessary next steps for the working group. Please see: (

Chris Thorne presented his recent work on approaches to error minimization for hi-fidelity scalable geospatial simulation and visualization. Significant improvements in rendering accuracy appear to be possible when floating-point roundoff errors are avoided by moving georeferenced scenes into viewpoint space (rather than object space). Upcoming work will adapt and test these approaches using the Xj3D codebase. His efforts will be presented in a paper at Cyberworlds 2006. An online version of the paper is at: (

Michael Jones of Google Earth concluded the Carto BOF session with a demonstration and update on the pervasive usage of Google Earth application for many customized applications by geographers and novices to geography. For more information, see (

After this well attended session, it was agreed to extend the Carto BOF session at SIGGRAPH 2007 to two hours to allow for presentations of applications created with Google Earth and X3D Earth. Dean Johnson (at Western Michigan University) agreed to help with encouraging and coordinating application presentations.