Real-time construction on the GPU of adaptive terrestrial relief model based on the spheroid

P.Yu. Timokhin, M.V. Mikhaylyuk, A.V. Maltsev


The paper considers a task of real-time modelling of Earth relief based on detailed global height maps specified relative to the rotational ellipsoid (spheroid) WGS-84. The technology of adaptive tessellation of triangular patches on the GPU is proposed, which provides real-time construction of complex polygonal models of the Earth's relief. The technology includes the stage of dividing the visible ellipsoid into coarse patches (low level of detail) and the stage of their tessellation into triangles of the relief model, executed in parallel and independently on the GPU cores. The paper proposes new, distributed methods and algorithms to extract the patches needed for visualization of the current frame, to increase their level of detail in accordance with the height map and screen resolution, and to transform to relief polygons. The novelty of the work is that the tessellation of triangular patches of an ellipsoid is based on the original scheme, which allows relief areas that require high level detail to be effectively localized. This significantly reduces the time of relief model construction and improves the quality of the created images.

The developed technology, methods and algorithms were implemented in program modules and tested in the visualization system of the Earth’s virtual surface. Modelling and visualization of the Earth's relief was carried out with a detailed texture of the underlying Earth's surface and the calculation of illumination taking into account the atmosphere. The approbation was carried out in a virtual space scene comprising a detailed polygonal model of the International Space Station (ISS). The obtained results confirmed the adequacy of the proposed solution to the task and its applicability for building of space video simulators, virtual environment systems, virtual laboratories, etc.


Full Text:

PDF (Russian)


V.A. Kuznetsov, J.G. Russu, V.P. Kupriyanovsky, “On the use of virtual and augmented reality,” International Journal of Open Information Technologies, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 75-84, 2019.

M.A. Bondarenko, V.A. Sukhomlin, “Analyze of video information alignment algorithms in aviation systems,” International Journal of Open Information Technologies, vol. 4, no. 10, pp. 76-81, 2016.

M.V. Mikhaylyuk, M.A. Torgashev, ““GLView” – visualization system for simulation and training complexes for cosmonaut preparing,” Manned Spaceflight, no. 4 (9), pp. 60-72, 2013.

V.V. Kovalenok, A.S. Ivanchenkov, S.V. Avakyan, “Effectiveness of Visual-Instrumental Observations in Long-Term Manned Space Flights,” Manned Spaceflight, no. 4 (21), pp. 103-117, 2016.

P.Y. Timokhin, M.V. Mikhaylyuk, “The method of height map bit depth compression based on visual significance criterion,” Proceedings of SRISA RAS, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 30-35, 2017.

L.M. Bugaevskiy, Mathematical cartography. M.:“Zlatoust”, 1998, 400 p.

P. Cozzi, K. Ring, 3D Engine Design for Virtual Globes, Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2011.

P. Cozzi, D. Bagnell, “A WebGL Globe Rendering Pipeline,” GPU Pro 4. Advanced Rendering Techniques, CRC Press, 2013, pp. 39-48.

T. Ulrich, “Rendering massive terrains using chunked level of detail control,” SIGGRAPH Course Notes, vol. 3, no. 5, 2002.

P. Cignoni, F. Ganovelli et al, “Planet-sized batched dynamic adaptive meshes (P-BDAM),” IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, 2003, pp. 147-154.

L.M. Hwa, M.A. Duchaineau, K.I. Joy, “Real-time optimal adaptation for planetary geometry and texture: 4-8 tile hierarchies,” IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 355-368, 2005.

M. Clasen, H.-C. Hege, “Terrain rendering using spherical clipmaps,” Eurographics/IEEE-VGTC Symposium on Visualization, 2006.

Y. Livny, Z. Kogan, J. El-Sana, “Seamless patches for GPU-based terrain rendering,” The Visual Computer, vol. 25, pp. 197-208, 2008.

O. Ripolles, F. Ramos et al, “Real-time tessellation of terrain on gra¬phics hardware,” Computers & Geosciences, vol. 41, pp. 147-155, 2012.

I. Cantlay, “DirectX 11 terrain tessellation,” NVIDIA WhitePaper, 2011.

E. Yusov, M. Shevtsov, “High-performance terrain rendering using hardware tessellation,” Journal of WSCG, no. 19(3), pp. 85-92, 2011.

B. Mistal, “GPU Terrain Subdivision and Tessellation,” GPU Pro 4. Advanced Rendering Techniques, CRC Press, pp. 3-20, 2013.

L. Zhang, J. She et al, “A Multilevel Terrain Rendering Method Based on Dynamic Stitching Strips,” ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, vol. 8, no. 6: 255, 2019.

M.V. Mikhaylyuk, P.Y. Timokhin, A.V. Maltsev, “A Method of Earth Terrain Tessellation on the GPU for Space Simulators,” Programming and Computer Software, vol. 43, no. 4, pp. 243-249, 2017.

M.Y. Vygodskiy, Handbook of higher mathematics, M.: ACT: Astrel’, 2006, 991 p.

M. Bailey, S. Cunningham, Graphics Shaders: Theory and Practice. Second Edition, CRC Press, 2011, 518 p.

M. Segal, K. Akeley, “The OpenGL Graphics System: A Specification. Version 4.6, Core Profile,” The Khronos Group Inc., 2006-2018. URL: (review date: 19.09.2019).

R.J. Rost, B. Licea-Kane, OpenGL Shading Language (3rd Edition). Boston, USA: Addison Wesley Professional, 2009, 792 p.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Abava  Absolutech IT-EDU 2019

ISSN: 2307-8162