VRML terrain modeling for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS)
Leaver, R. Greg
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This thesis develops an online model of the topographic terrain of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) seafloor. Written in the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), the model is an interactive 3D application composed of hundreds of topographic tiles linked together to form a mosaic of the bay. Low-resolution tiles are traded for higher resolution tiles as the viewer gets closer to the terrain. Important contributions include a naming convention for autogeneration of interlinked files, test usage of proposed metadata conventions linking VRML and the eXtensible Markup Language (XML), demonstrajed use of the GeoVRML Working Groups proposed QuadLOD node, and a preliminary 3D navigation icon for terrain interrogation and wayfinding. Terrain data was produced from registered, smoothed and subsampled bathymetric sonarscan results. Because the model is geo-referenced with the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinate system, a user can easily add scientific content or data to a selected location of the MBNMS in a manner analogous to adding 2D content to an HTML page. Thus, the user can place 3D content anywhere in the MBNMS in geographic context merely by specifying the geographic coordinates and depth of the content in standard VRML syntax. Future work includes improvement of metadata intewperability, navigation icon user testing, and autogeneration of image-based texture tiles for scientific visualization.
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