19 June 2001



T. Lovitt    B. Ray
Planning Systems Incorporated
Slidell, LA
K. Shaw
Naval Research Laboratory
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-5004



It has long been commonplace for military pilots to have access to sophisticated technology for flight simulation and mission rehearsal. Ground troops need similar training tools. The United States Marine Corps (USMC) has such a requirement to provide training and mission rehearsal tools on PCs that can access data stored on a remote server. Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) is available on the PC and does not have specialized hardware and software requirements as do some of the hi-tech flight simulators. This paper discusses a virtual reality capability currently being developed by the Naval Research Laboratory to provide realistic training and mission rehearsal to the USMC.

The data available for this effort is National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) Vector Product Format (VPF) data which is relational and inherently 2D. VPF data contains both spatial information such as coordinates and topology, and non-spatial information such as attribute values. The 3D components such as height must be extracted from the attributes. Another deficiency is the segmentation of features in VPF. A line feature such as a river is considered in the real world as a single feature, but may be represented in the VPF as multiple features. This representation in VPF causes problems in 3D rendering and feature identification.

This paper will highlight NRL's progress to date in the 3D rendering of spatial information in a fully object-oriented environment. This work has already demonstrated its utility in military mission planning and rehearsal via the Internet/SIPRNET. The discussion will include transformation of relational vector data to objects, persistence of objects in an ODBMS, translation of objects to VRML format, accessing the data remotely over a web browser, 3D rendering of the mission scene using a VRML player plugin to the web browser.

Sponsored by the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, the Defense Modeling and Simulation Office, and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency s Terrain Modeling Program Office.

Published in proceedings of the First Southern Symposium on Computing (SSC 98), Hattiesburg, MS, December 4-5, 1998.
Naval Research Laboratory Contribution Number NRL/PP/7441 98-0018.
Conference Proceedings