MetaVR creates 3D real–time environments that provide the fidelity of geospecific simulation with game quality graphics and performance.
In this issue:
50.A – U.S. Navy use of MetaVR visuals in Combined Arms Virtual Environment
50.B – MetaVR announces MetaVR Terrain Tools version 1.4
50.C – Recent updates to MetaVR 3D terrain
50.D – MetaVR visuals at UK Close Air Support Conference November 15-16
The U.S. Navy is using MetaVR visuals in its Combined Arms Virtual Environment (CAVE) training dome and desktop systems at three US-based facilities that specialize in instructing Navy and U.S Marine Corps close air support procedures within a virtual environment. The CAVE systems are used for initial qualification and currency training for Naval Special Warfare, Naval Expeditionary Combat Command, and Marine Corps joint terminal attack controllers (JTACS) and joint fires observers (JFOs). All three CAVE systems replaced legacy Multi-Purpose Supporting Arms Training (MSAT) systems, repurposing the 5-meter 240-degree field-of-view (FOV) domes from those systems.
The CAVE training system, designed and built by Battlespace Simulations (BSI), provides an immersive, large field-of-view partial dome display for sea- and land-based individual and team training in supporting arms and close air support. The CAVE is comprised of student desktop stations in a partial dome, an instructor/operator station (IOS), a role-player station, and a supporting arms station in an adjoining classroom. Ten Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG) channels are used in the CAVE to provide out-the-window (OTW) views for the partial dome, instructor station, and role player station, and the supporting arms station, as well as views for UAV camera feed and emulated military equipment (EME) devices. The CAVE also uses MetaVR's geospecific 3D terrain, and model libraries. The system uses BSI's Modern Air Combat Environment (MACE) as the CGF/SAF, as well as other BSI software: Viper DIS radio for an operationally realistic communications environment, DIScord for after action review and debrief, OpenStreetMap server, combat radio interface, and several BSI-designed EME devices to include a portable lightweight designator/rangefinder (PLDR), Vector21 binocular laser rangefinder, and an IZLID infrared illuminator. Most recently, BSI installed the latest CAVE system at the Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Pacific (EWTGPAC) in San Diego, CA, using MetaVR's real time rendering software and terrain to include our most recent Camp Pendleton, CA, with modeled CT 25 and Kilo 2 MOUT sites.
Students at each facility train in the CAVE for a week, followed by two weeks of training on a live range. In the CAVE students are initially exposed to the tasks, techniques, and procedures they'll use on the range and they complete simulation-only Joint Mission Enabling Task List objectives of JTAC training.
The U.S. Navy's CAVE system can participate in networked combined arms virtual exercises with both the U.S. National Guard and the U.S. Air Force as the two latter organizations have standardized on MACE and VRSG solutions for their close air support simulated training.
Newly released version 1.4 of MetaVR's Terrain Tools plugin to Esri ArcGIS contains the following new features and enhancements:
- Support for compiling terrain in native 64-bit executable.
- Support for building underwater geometry (bathymetry) to increase the terrain fidelity of the ocean sea floor for use in littoral scenarios with VRSG's 3D ocean sea states.
- New forest tool, which provides a quick and efficient way to distribute thousands of randomized and scaled tree points within a polygon.
- Blending of adjacent microtexture features.
- Faster feature processing, including large complex linear networks.
- Smooth transition between cut-in features and the terrain.
- New sample source data (of Baltimore, MD) for the Terrain Tools sample project used by the tutorial in the MetaVR Terrain Tools User's Guide.
MetaVR customers on Terrain Tools active maintenance can obtain Terrain Tools version 1.4 by downloading the software from their account on MetaVR's Download Server. Terrain Tools version 1.4 is also delivered on Blu-ray media. (MetaVR will provide a Blu-ray reader as a courtesy to customers who are in need of one to install Terrain Tools version 1.4.) Contact MetaVR for further information.
To complement terrain created with Terrain Tools, many MetaVR customers have begun to use Esri's CityEngine to generate a 3D urban model of a large number of geotypical buildings, and then reference the model and its placement on the terrain in a cultural feature file, which VRSG renders at runtime. CityEngine is a standalone software product for rapidly creating procedural 3D models from building footprints and road vectors using OpenStreetMap (OSM) data. The product can export models in the popular FBX model format, which users can then convert to MetaVR's model format with MetaVR’s conversion utility. As described in 50.C, MetaVR recently used CityEngine to build the city of Dubai with over 6,000 realistic 3D building models extruded and textured from OSM data.
In addition to its use in CityEngine, OSM data, which is a popular source for vector data, can also be used with Terrain Tools for terrain compilation projects. The sample project delivered with Terrain Tools version 1.4 uses OSM data for the Baltimore building footprints and road and light point vectors. The most common format for OSM distribution is the XML-based .osm format. Although ArcGIS does not natively load this format, there are a number of ways to convert this data into Esri's geodatabase or shapefile formats. One way is to use Esri's open source extension called ArcGIS Editor for OSM, which can be used to extract OSM ways and nodes into point, polyline, and polygon feature classes. The extension can also create symbolized layer files, which is useful for making a distinction between many types of polygon and polyline data.
MetaVR has recently built a number of new 3D terrain datasets, which are available to customers with active VRSG software maintenance:
- Updated Asia terrain for complete continent coverage, including North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia, Taiwan, and more. The terrain is constructed with natural color imagery ranging from 0.60 to 15 mpp resolution and DTED level 1 and 3-arcsecond void-filled SRTM elevation data, subsampled to achieve a nominal 60 m post spacing. Also new is the high-resolution (60 cm) city of Dubai, UAE, with over 6,000 realistic 3D building models, which were created with Esri CityEngine (see 50.B). The models were extruded and textured from OSM data.
- Australia and Oceania complete coverage terrain, constructed with imagery ranging from 0.30 to 15 meter-per-pixel (mpp) resolution and 3-arcsecond Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) 90 meter elevation data (Guam elevation is 3 meters (NED 1/9). The Australia virtual terrain includes 0.60 mpp high-resolution natural color insets of several areas of interest: Sydney, Perth, Canberra, Melbourne, and Brisbane. The Oceania virtual terrain includes 0.30 mpp inset of Guam and 0.60 mpp high-resolution natural color insets of Pohnpei and Weno Islands, Federated States of Micronesia; Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand; Rota Island and Tinian & Saipan Islands of the Northern Mariana Islands.
- South America complete continent terrain, constructed with natural color imagery ranging from 0.60 to 15 mpp resolution and 3-arcsecond STRM elevation data. The terrain includes 60 cm high-resolution natural color insets of many South American capital cities and others cities of interest.
- Updated Europe for complete continent terrain coverage, constructed with natural color imagery ranging from 0.60 to 15 mpp resolution natural color imagery and 3-arcsecond DTED level 1 and void-filled SRTM elevation data. The terrain includes 60 cm high-resolution natural color insets of many capital cities and others cities of interest.
- North America complete continent terrain (excluding the USA), with natural color imagery of Canada, Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Greenland ranging from 0.60 to15 mpp resolution and 3-arcsecond STRM elevation source data. The terrain includes 60 cm high-resolution natural color insets of many capital cities and others cities of interest. Note that MetaVR distributes higher-resolution terrain of Continental USA and Alaska and Hawaii (CONUS++) separately.
These new 3D terrain datasets, all built with Terrain Tools in MetaVR's round-earth Metadesic format, are available for purchase to all MetaVR customers who are on active VRSG software maintenance and are US Government agencies or contractors (for official use only). These terrain datasets are each delivered on an external hard drive. (A nominal fee covers the processing of large quantities of data in the Metadesic format and the hard drive distribution media.) The terrain datasets can be viewed only with a valid VRSG version 6 software license with valid software maintenance.
MetaVR's business partner Close Air Solutions is the lead sponsor of the annual Close Air Support Conference and Exhibition, to be held November 15 - 16, 2017, at the Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol, UK. (MetaVR is also a sponsor of this event.)
Close Air Solutions will feature MetaVR visuals and 3D content in their accredited immersive Close Air Support Simulator (iCASS). The iCASS includes computer generated/semi-automated forces and threat generation from MetaVR's business partner Battlespace Simulations' (BSI's) Modern Air Combat Environment (MACE), and BSI's Viper DIS radio for communications and DIScord DIS recorder for after action review. The iCASS is in use at the UK's FAC/JTAC Training Programme, at the Joint Forward Air Control Training and Standardisation Unit (JFACTSU), Royal Air Force Station Leeming, North Yorkshire, England.
The Close Air Support Conference is the leading unclassified forum for close air support at the tactical level in Europe. The emphasis of the conference is on the training, equipment, and communications of the TACP/FAC/JTAC/JFO on the ground and the doctrine and training that supports his interface with the CAS aircraft and other joint fires assets.
Close Air Solutions designs and integrates synthetic training systems and provides international training and simulation services for all aspects of close air support, air-land integration, and joint fires.
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