Carto Project

Summary of July 26, 2000 - Carto BOF Meeting at SIGGRAPH 2000

Theresa-Marie Rhyne

ACM SIGGRAPH Carto Project Director

On Wednesday of SIGGRAPH 2000, the ACM SIGGRAPH Carto Project held a Birds of a Feather session to report on 2000 activities and future projects for 2001. Since the Carto Project is a collaborative effort between both the International Cartographic Association (ICA)'s Commission on Visualization and Virtual Environments and the GeoVRML Working Group of the Web3D Consortium, reports on these efforts were also provided. There were also three technical presentations on GeoVRML and related efforts. Martin Reddy provided an update on GeoVRML 1.0. Don Brutzman highlighted the status of the GeoVRML profile in X3D. Chris Thorne presented his new work in multiresolution terrain modeling.

Theresa-Marie Rhyne, ACM SIGGRAPH Carto Project Director, began the meeting with an overview of cross-organizational collaborations in 2000. In February 2000, the Open Source suite of tools for GeoVRML 1.0 became available and were presented in a technical paper at the Web3D/VRML 2000 Symposium. During 2000, the Commission on Visualization and Virtual Environments of the International Cartographic Association (ICA) has worked on elaborating a draft international research agenda in cartographic/geographic visualization. The four major focus areas of the agenda include: (a) Representation; (b) Interface Design; (c) Database-Visualization Links; and (d) Cognitive Aspects of Visualization Tool Use. The Commission (chaired by Alan MacEachren and co-chaired by Menno-Jan Kraak) meet in Australia in June 2000 to further define its efforts. More information on these activities are available at: (

Martin Reddy, Co-Chair of the GeoVRML Working Group of the Web3D Consortium, provided an overview of the Open Source GeoVRML 1.0 tools. Martin Reddy's slides on the status of GeoVRML 1.0 are available at the ( A lively discussion took place after Martin's presentation. Yvan G. Leclerc reported that SRI is building a scalable infrastructure for indexing georeferenced data of any kind. A proposal to ICANN (the non-profit corporation that is in charge of domain names, ( is expected to be submitted during the August - September 2000 time frame. There was also interest expressed in integrating GeoVRML 3D technologies with 2D technologies fostered by the OpenGIS Consortium ( as well as the newly established Geographic Network at: (

Next, Don Brutzman, Vice President for Technology of the Web3D Consoritum, highlighted the status of the GeoVRML in X3D. X3D is the next generation VRML specification and is based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML). Don also provided real time demonstrations of GeoVRML examples. Information on the latest technologies, source code, and software tools is available in the Web3D Consortium's Summer2000 Software Development Kit (Web3D SDK). More information on the Web3D SDK is available at: (

The final presentation was given by Chris Thorne, an active contributor to the GeoVRML Working Group who resides in Australia. Chris summarized his efforts to handle multiresolution terrain generation in GeoVRML, see: ( He addressed tiling, texturing tiles, efficiency, navigation, antiseaming techniques and the need for precision in VRML. Chris has developed a series of technical writeups on "Precision in VRML" that examine issues focused around the basic question: "Have you ever created VRML worlds where movement became jumpy?". These "Precision in VRML" discussions are available at: (

After some discussion about the desire to continue forward with the ACM SIGGRAPH Carto Project, the group agreed to meet again at SIGGRAPH 2001.