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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

30 November 2015

I/ITSEC 2015: Database Generation for Maritime Simulation

Simulation users have become accustomed to the high visual quality provided by today’s computer games, which led to increasing importance of serious games in the simulation and training industry. However, with traditional tools and modelling techniques results are not as convenient, as simulation projects have constrained budgets, especially taking the demanded large virtual terrain dimensions into account.

TrianGraphics uses Delaunay triangulation from the exact coast line, depth contour lines, areas and depth points (soundings), to form a fully featured database targeting maritime simulation. (Screenshot: TrianGraphics)

The Berlin-based company TrianGraphics has developed a novel database generation system that meets these demands for quality and quantity through an extraordinary high level of automation. Besides traditional landscapes for flight, combat, or driving simulation, Trian3DBuilder now also supports large-scale maritime terrains for simulation.

A typical terrain project is set up by applying a multitude of input data, typically satellite imagery, and height and vector data in miscellaneous formats. Depending on the input attributes generation features can be applied and a terrain is written for a visual database with Meta-data for various additional simulation tasks like computer generated forces (CGF).

In terms of maritime simulation, so called ENC vector data is imported, containing all information that can be found in nautical charts. The standard formats used are S57 or the encrypted S63 format. The data is sorted based on the ENC code and all attributes are used on import for post-processing and preserved for later use.

The seabed is Delaunay triangulated from the exact coast line, as well as depth contour lines, areas and depth points (soundings). This is combined with a multitude of further terrain generation techniques to form a fully featured database targeting maritime simulation in a matter of only a few hours setup time. Buildings are created from footprints, rails, and profiled roads, while junctions are automatically created from middle lines and canals; furthermore, rivers and seas are cut in the terrain mesh. The terrain is further “beautified” by adding vegetation like huge forest areas and specific models using point object placement.

ENC data is imported and combined with additional data sources to create a fully featured terrain of unlimited size. (Screenshot: TrianGraphics)

Especially important for nautical training is the correct placement of buoys. Each buoy is imported with specific model and topmark, as well as exact light assignment including colour, direction, range, intensity, and blink codes. Piers and shoreline constructions are also added.

When having imported all data and set up the project, the data can optionally be edited and enhanced in the database generation system. The result is optimised for real-time rendering and can be exported to a variety of well-known standard formats like OpenFlight, FBX, or VBS.

Modern software tools like Trian3DBuilder drastically simplify the generation process for large-scale 3D terrains. Now, maritime simulations with their very special demands are also targeted, enabling users to generate densely populated landscapes of unlimited size. This demand cannot be fulfilled with traditional modelling tools through technical limitations, and even less due to the huge amount of handiwork that would be needed to be invested. TrianGraphics’ solutions meet all demands for quality and quantity, giving the user what he really needs.

For more information please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #12/2015, available at the show on booth #453; and frequently check back for more NEWS FROM THE FLOOR.