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Terrain simplification simplified: a general framework for view-dependent out-of-core visualization

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2 Author(s)
Lindstrom, P. ; Lawrence Livermore Nat. Lab., CA, USA ; Pascucci, V.

We describe a general framework for out-of-core rendering and management of massive terrain surfaces. The two key components of this framework are: view-dependent refinement of the terrain mesh and a simple scheme for organizing the terrain data to improve coherence and reduce the number of paging events from external storage to main memory. Similar to several previously proposed methods for view-dependent refinement, we recursively subdivide a triangle mesh defined over regularly gridded data using longest-edge bisection. As part of this single, per-frame refinement pass, we perform triangle stripping, view frustum culling, and smooth blending of geometry using geomorphing. Meanwhile, our refinement framework supports a large class of error metrics, is highly competitive in terms of rendering performance, and is surprisingly simple to implement. Independent of our refinement algorithm, we also describe several data layout techniques for providing coherent access to the terrain data. By reordering the data in a manner that is more consistent with our recursive access pattern, we show that visualization of gigabyte-size data sets can be realized even on low-end, commodity PCs without the need for complicated and explicit data paging techniques. Rather, by virtue of dramatic improvements in multilevel cache coherence, we rely on the built-in paging mechanisms of the operating system to perform this task. The end result is a straightforward, simple-to-implement, pointerless indexing scheme that dramatically improves the data locality and paging performance over conventional matrix-based layouts.

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Visualization and Computer Graphics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 3 )