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Terrain visualization is a difficult problem for applications requiring accurate images of large datasets at high frame rates, such as flight simulation and ground-based aircraft testing using synthetic sensor simulation. On current graphics hardware, the problem is to maintain dynamic, view-dependent triangle meshes and texture maps that produce good images at the required frame rate. We present an algorithm for constructing triangle meshes that optimizes flexible view-dependent error metrics, produces guaranteed error bounds, achieves specified triangle counts directly and uses frame-to-frame coherence to operate at high frame rates for thousands of triangles per frame. Our method, dubbed Real-time Optimally Adapting Meshes (ROAM), uses two priority queues to drive split and merge operations that maintain continuous triangulations built from pre-processed bintree triangles. We introduce two additional performance optimizations: incremental triangle stripping and priority-computation deferral lists. ROAM's execution time is proportional to the number of triangle changes per frame, which is typically a few percent of the output mesh size; hence ROAM's performance is insensitive to the resolution and extent of the input terrain. Dynamic terrain and simple vertex morphing are supported.
Visualization '97., Proceedings
Date of Conference: 24-24 Oct. 1997