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Home - General / All posts - New video - Big volcanoes project for viewer

5,491 post(s)
#19-Jul-18 16:26

There's a new video on the gallery page, created primarily for Viewer users to show how to use the big new Manifold World Volcanoes download.

Mike Pelletier

1,602 post(s)
#20-Jul-18 05:18

Nice video Dimitri. It is always fun to zoom to check out interesting places on our planet. I visited two dolmens recently in a suburb of Paris (Meudon) because of an earlier post you made. Thanks for that!

Couldn't help but think with the volcanoes how it would benefit from side views available with Google Earth. I've always been impressed with GE's speed over the internet compared to what traditional GIS software can do when viewing terrains with local data. Do you think with Mfd 9's speed, this may change significantly?


5,491 post(s)
#20-Jul-18 06:43

I've always been impressed with GE's speed over the internet compared to what traditional GIS software can do when viewing terrains with local data. Do you think with Mfd 9's speed, this may change significantly?

In a word, yes. Two things to keep in mind:

1. When you are viewing a 3D view generated by GE you are looking at a scene created by a single thread in a single core of a processor in a not-very-powerful computer. Google distributes storage, and it dispatches sessions from individual people in a sophisticated time-sharing strategy to one of very, very many computers sitting in Google racks somewhere, but each of those time-shared slices is not parallel. The primary speed gain with Google arises from distributed storage.

2. What Google shows you is an approximation watered down to the number of pixels tossed at the screen you use. It is designed to look OK to the human eye, with no claim to being accurate. Cutting that corner can save a lot of computation. GIS people typically want some basis to think that what they see has some claim to accuracy beyond just looking good. If you create a 3D view for a zoning presentation you want to be able to say, "Yes, I have reason to believe this proposed structure will or will not be visible from this location...".

Parallel processing helps with accurate views without having to cut too many corners as with 2. Local storage on SSD and having ample, cheap, local memory for plenty of local cache helps with 1. 9 is much faster than 8 with big raster images, and that same architecture will also help 9 to be much faster with 3D views of synthetic terrain, draped with imagery and so on, when those features show up.

I don't mean any of the above as a criticism of Google. I like their 3D views and wish they had them in more places than they do. Good for them they do this.

Speaking of locations and 3D views, an obvious thing for locations is to extend the notion to invocation of location-related external services. One can imagine all sorts of things, for example, launching a browser window that shows a particular location in Google 3D view, in Street View, pops up photos available, etc., as you can do today in a browser. No reason you can't have a URL in a Location, just as you can have a Description, and then that URL works its magic however you want.

For that matter, no reason you can't have a URL component. People could publish an .mxb like the Volcanoes project with a "Double-click me" component that launches the Volcanoes video from YouTube in a browser, to show people how to use it.

PS: Watch that dolmen thing... it's easy to get hooked. Those two dolmen in Meudon are just "gateway" dolmens... try them and before you know it you're telling your family and friends "I can quit whenever I want..." while planning family vacations around obscure dots on maps... :-)

We're going to make that easier with the addition of GPS/cell location-awareness and moving map mode. Load Viewer and a project onto a tablet and when everybody else in the rent-a-car starts freaking out as you guide your trusty Citroen through a field, you can confidently say, "no worries, it is just around this next corner on the other side of that clump of trees..."

By the way, upcoming demo projects will include UNESCO world heritage sites, US Civil War battlefields, and giant sinkholes of the world. Suggestions for other lists of sites for Locations (famous waterfalls?....) would be very much appreciated!

619 post(s)
#20-Jul-18 15:22

Suggestions for other lists of sites for Locations (famous waterfalls?....) would be very much appreciated!

How about shipwrecks and gold mines?


5,491 post(s)
#20-Jul-18 19:22

How about shipwrecks and gold mines?

Love it... Few things get you as instantly hooked as finding a stream in the Sierra based on a map of mines, and then when you pan a bit of black sand you see flecks of gold. That you just spent a few hours to get 10 cents worth of gold doesn't matter at all... :-)

Unfortunately, the best data for mines is in the US, with not much for the rest of the world. But it's a start. Below are gold mines by altitude in the Sierra, from a Release 8 project. Might be a bit much for a folder full of Locations. What would be great would be to reduce them down to a couple of hundred or so that can be seen in web servers and are easily visited. :-)



535 post(s)
#23-Jul-18 07:14

Revisit the atomic test sites? That was a great demo project (and thread I recall)


5,491 post(s)
#23-Jul-18 12:15

Revisit the atomic test sites?

I'll ask around, if anyone still has that project. In the meantime, a sample project showing nuclear power plants around the world is at

What's interesting about that project is the list of power plant sites that are censored by Bing and/or Google, as noted in the comments.

Research on that list came up after someone reported an "error" in the imageserver dataport which very quickly was understood not to be an error but deliberate obfuscation by Bing. The Bing obfuscation is always the same, but Google obfuscation varies significantly from very strong pixelation for some locations to just low res pixelation in others. Go figure...

Mike Pelletier

1,602 post(s)
#24-Jul-18 15:53

Thanks for the explanation Dimitri. Like the idea of adding URL option to Locations. Can also add that Google's approximation is all that is needed most of the time during rapid panning around, so perhaps Mfd 9 can somehow do that upfront and then fine tune the view once panning stops for accurate representations as you mentioned.

The other great thing about dolmens are they aren't on people's radar and we found really neat stuff in the area with no tourists around. I like making maps with interesting places to go see but no good deed goes unpunished :-)

Mike Pelletier

1,602 post(s)
#14-Sep-18 18:43

Was reading about the rendering technology and it reminded me of Dimitri's explanation of Google Earth's display speed. Unlike Google Earth, these guys have some killer indexing scheme to pull the bare minimum from a data set to determine a pixel's display color, resulting in instant display from unlimited data. That's probably not very accurately described, but nonetheless it is super impressive. Wow.

They do have some integration scheme with other software and possibly a format that Mfd 9 should consider supporting or at least keep an eye on.

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