Savage Modeling and Analysis Language (SMAL) metadata for tactical simulations and X3D visualizations
Rauch, Travis M.
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Visualizing operations environments in three dimensions (3D) supports the warfighters' ability to make rapid, well-informed decisions by presenting complex systems in a naturalistic, integrated display format. Unfortunately, constructing these environments is a time-consuming task requiring specific expertise not typically available in the command center. The future use of 3D visualization in military operations depends on the ability of personnel with minimal graphics experience to create virtual environments quickly and accurately by leveraging data-driven customization of content from model archives with the data available in the command center. Practical 3D visualization depends on standardized scene autogeneration. The Extensible 3D (X3D) Graphics family of specifications is approved by the International Standards Organization (ISO) as the Web-based format for the interchange and rendering of 3D scenes. Previous work has demonstrated that an archive of X3D scenes, such as the Scenario Authoring and Visualization for Advanced Graphical Environments (SAVAGE) library, can be used to autogenerate sophisticated 3D tactical environments. Assembling and making sense of the data necessary to autogenerate a 3D environment requires context and good documentation, best accomplished through metadata. Metadata also supports data-centric, component-based design; key philosophies in promoting interoperability of networked applications. Coupled with recent developments in X3D, enhanced features of the Savage X3D Model archives are now sufficiently mature to support rapid generation of tactical environments. This thesis proposes an XML metadata standard to collect and organize the information necessary to create and populate a tactical 3D virtual environment: the Savage Modeling and Analysis Language (SMAL). The logical extension of a well designed standard is the ability to cross the boundaries of usage, allowing simulators to share data with command and control (C2) suites and mission planning tools based on the construction of a virtual scene. SMAL provides the informational "glue" necessary to perform tactical modeling, simulation, and analysis using networked, physics-based X3D virtual environments.
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