Carto Project

Summary of July 22, 1998 - Carto BOF Meeting at SIGGRAPH 98

(The Carto Project is a funded ACM-SIGGRAPH Special Project)

Theresa-Marie Rhyne

SIGGRAPH Director at Large & Carto Project Director

On Wednesday of SIGGRAPH 98, the SIGGRAPH Carto Project held a Birds of a Feather session to report on 1998 activities and future projects for 1999. Since the Carto Project is a collaborative effort between both the International Cartographic Association's Commission on Visualization and the GeoVRML Working Group of the VRML Consortium, reports on these efforts were also provided.

Theresa-Marie Rhyne, ACM SIGGRAPH Carto Project Director, began the meeting with an overview of the 1998 project to inventory web sites whose content is related to cartographic data and visualization. This inventory can be found at ( . Additional contributions to this listing of cartographic visualization web sites continue to be appreciated. Please send email to ( with any new web sites you would like to see listed.

Alan MacEachren, Chair of the Commission on Visualization of the International Cartographic Association (ICA), then provided an overview of the evolution of geographic visualization and the activities of the ICA Commission on Visualization. The research agenda of this group was also highlighted. Research priorities include four themes that consider aspects of visualization as an interaction between humans and computers which is directed toward exploring and understanding geographic phenomena. These four themes are: (a) Representation; (b) Interface design; (c) Database-visualization links; and (d) Cognitive aspects of visualization tool use. Further details about this research agenda can be found at the ICA Commmission on Visualization Web site at: (

Next, Martin Reddy, contributing member of the GeoVRML Working Group of the VRML Consortium, reported on the online distribution of the "GeoVRML Request for Comment document on Coordinate Systems" that was released in honor of the SIGGRAPH 98 Carto BOF: ( This document provides guidelines for standard practices associated with the management of geographically registered data in VRML. Reddy also discussed the VisiblityInLine and QuadLOD nodes he developed for handling large terrain data sets in VRML. Technical information on this work can be found at: VisibilityInLine node ( and the QuadLOD node (

Don Brutzman, Vice President for Technology for the VRML Consortium, completed the Carto BOF presentations by showing the "Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Terrain Project 3D World that used Reddy's GeoVRML nodes. This demonstration was shown in real time on Brutzman's laptop computer and was created by masters student Greg Leaver at the Naval Postgraduate School. The project is in collaboration with Ray McClain at Moss Landing Marine Laboratory. The goal is to provide georeferenced terrain for VRML worlds as easily as textures can be added to HTML pages. Greg's thesis will be published online in September 1998. More information on this and other 3D World projects from Brutzman's students can be found at: (

The BOF continued with an active discussion on other geographic visualization projects underway. The Cave5D work at Old Dominion University was highlight by Cathy M. Lascara who is a research professor and contributor to the Cave5D project. More information on Cave5D can be found at: ( Gitta Domik, professor at the University of Paderborn in Germany, highlighted the need to consider data models for geographic visualization. There was some discussion about the need to relate geographic visualization work with efforts of the OpenGIS Consortium and other geographic standardization efforts. More information on the OpenGIS Consortium can be found at: (

The topic of meta-data for geographic and GeoVRML visualizations was also reviewed. Consideration is being given to hosting a workshop on metadata conventions for online geographic terrain. Theresa-Marie Rhyne agreed to continue facilitating these discussion topics into the 1999 year.