Carto Project

Summary of August 11, 1999 - Carto BOF Meeting at SIGGRAPH 99

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

Theresa-Marie Rhyne

SIGGRAPH Director at Large & Carto Project Director

On Wednesday of SIGGRAPH 99, the SIGGRAPH Carto Project held a Birds of a Feather session to report on 1999 activities and future projects for 2000. Since the Carto Project is a collaborative effort between both the International Cartographic Association (ICA)'s Commission on Visualization and the GeoVRML Working Group of the Web3D Consortium, reports on these efforts were also provided.

Theresa-Marie Rhyne, ACM SIGGRAPH Carto Project Director, began the meeting with an overview of cross-organizational collaborations in 1999. In February 1999, at VRML 99, members of the ICA Commission on Visualization presented their viewpoints on integrating cartography and computer graphics. Jason Dykes, Kate Moore, and David Fairbairn authored a paper on "From Chernoff to Imhof and Beyond: VRML & Cartography" for this symposium that is available at: ( In the March/April 1999 issue of IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, Martin Reddy, Yvan Leclerc, Lee Iverson, and Nat Bletter published a paper on "TerraVision II: Visualizing Massive Terrain Databases in VRML", ( A PDF copy of this article can be found at: ( GeoVRML efforts were highlighted as topics for future directions in the "1999 US National Report to the International Cartographic Assocation: The State of US Cartograpy", published as Volume 26, No. 3, (July 1999) of the Journal of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping.

Alan MacEachren, Chair of the Commission on Visualization of the International Cartographic Association (ICA), provided an overview of the terms of reference from the second term of the ICA Commission on Visualization, (1999 - 2003). The Commission is actively focused on developing an international research agenda for cartographic visualization. The Terms of Reference for the ICA Commission on Visualization are available at: (

Next, Martin Reddy, contributing member of the GeoVRML Working Group of the Web3D Consortium, provided an overview of the GeoVRML tools that have been developed to date. Work is underway to assemble these tools into a GeoVRML 1.0 package. Tools pertaining to GeoX3D are also being explored. Martin Reddy's slides on the status of GeoVRML are available at the GeoVRML Web site.

As the final presentation, Jim Terhorst, from MountainTop Computing, highlighted a new GeoVRML application entitled EarthMaker. EarthMaker is a system for processing raster map and elevation data into a seamless multi-resolution terrain database. It then provides the ability to query for what information exists in the 3D terrain database at what levels of detail. Finally, it serves the 3D terrain database over the web via an easy-to-use java-based geographical front end. More information on MountainTop Computing is available at: (

The BOF continued with an active discussion on other geographic visualization projects underway. This included discussion of ArcView 3D Analyst ( from the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), highlights of activities associated with the OpenGIS Consortium ( and geographic visualization notions associated with the emerging X3D standard ( of the Web3D Consortium.

The group agreed to meet again at SIGGRAPH 2000.