Terrain Rendering Project for Defense Intelligence Agency

I used to post frequently on several computer graphics, animation, and video oriented mailing lists. A contractor working on research for the Defense Intelligence Agency saw my posts and asked me questions about how to render terrain and atmospheric phenomenon. During the conversations he convinced me to join the effort.

Officially this work was described as "in support of American troops in the Middle East" due to the politically sensitive nature of the geography involved. For all practical purposes this was really to assist in the national defense of Israel.

This is all considered unfinished/prototype work. A few images were produced that were displayed to people as examples of the product this effort could create. The goal was to be able to produce realistic animations of views of "atmospheric phenomenon" over the "area of interest". This required effort to model the ground of the area of interest and then add an accurate rendering to represent the atmospheric phenomenon.

Some working proofs of early animation concepts were produced in Lightwave using lower resolution, faux-terrain data. The real animations of terrain were expected to be done in World Construction Set using satellite-collected, DTED data sets for the surface topography. The atmospheric phenomenon data was to be generated by another group of people on a supercomputer. I was to write software to translate the supercomputer-produced data sets into 3D graphic objects representing the shape and density (read: toxicity) of the atmospheric phenomenon and Lightwave would render the atmospheric objects over the terrain images rendered by WCS.

The contract was cancelled for basically unimportant reasons unrelated to the actual work. All the work that was completed was done on the Amiga. Our bid for the contract price was only about 20% (if I recall correctly) of the next lowest contract bidder.

CMORIG  First Color Map Rendered Terrain Image

CMANIM1  First Animation Frame of Color Map Rendered Terrain

GRIDLW  Latitude and Longitude lines Overlaid on Terrain

SIMUL30  Last Animation Frame of Atmospheric Rendering Test

ECOSATV  Early Test of Rendering DTED Terrain Data

ECOSEA  Rendering DTED Terrain Data with Ecosystem Color Maps