Include terrain databases constructed from DTED, shapefiles and OpenFlight formats.
FLAMES® includes robust support for modeling the terrain (the shape of the earth’s surface) and cultural features that are embedded within the terrain or that lie on top of the terrain. Terrain can be modeled in three different ways:
FLAMES Digital Terrain – Simple terrain representation based on Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DTED) files.
FLAMES Advanced Correlated Terrain (FACT) – Detailed terrain and cultural feature representation based on terrain databases generated by a third-party terrain database generation package.
FLAMES Enhanced 3D Scene – Geometry data and high-resolution textures and satellite imagery.
FLAMES Digital Terrain
FLAMES Digital Terrain can be created by directly importing one or more standard Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DTED) files that are readily available from a number of government and commercial sources. DTED files store the elevation of the earth’s surface at regular intervals within an area that is one degree in longitude wide by one degree in latitude tall. DTED data can be imported using the FLAMES Digital Terrain Importer.
Once DTED files are imported, the elevation data can be used by models to support their calculations, such as sensor models that consider the terrain in their line-of-sight calculations and ground vehicle models that move a vehicle over the surface of the terrain. The data can also be used by FORGE and FLASH to render 2D and optional 3D displays of the terrain. However, since DTED files contain only elevation data, FLAMES Digital Terrain does not support queries and calculations involving cultural features (such as roads, buildings, and bodies of water).
FLAMES Advanced Correlated Terrain (FACT)
FLAMES allows you to include a detailed terrain database as a part of the environment data in your FLAMES scenarios. Such databases can include a mathematical description of the terrain (the earth’s surface), bathymetry (the earth’s surface underwater), and cultural features (such as roads, lakes, and buildings). This data can be used by models to support their calculations, such as sensor models that consider the terrain, buildings, and other structures in their line-of-sight calculations and ground vehicle models that move a vehicle over the surface of the terrain or on a road.
FLAMES also allows you to include a detailed visualization database in your FLAMES scenarios. Visualization databases can include detailed geometry data and high-resolution textures and satellite imagery. This data allows both FORGE and FLASH to provide high-fidelity, 3D visualization of your scenarios. Visualization databases can also support mathematical calculations if a terrain database is not loaded in a scenario.
The data used by FLAMES can be imported from terrain databases created by Terra Vista™ ProBuilder™ (from Presagis™). Terra Vista provides a powerful user interface for building complex terrain databases using geospatial source data in many different formats. Terra Vista allows a database to be exported in multiple formats, all of which are correlated with each other. FLAMES uses data that has been exported from Terra Vista in two different formats, shapefile format and OpenFlight® format.
Two sets of shapefiles exported from Terra Vista contain the attribute, geometry, and vector data of the database. These shapefiles are imported into the FLAMES Scenario Database using the FLAMES Advanced Correlated Terrain Importer.
FLAMES Enhanced 3D Scene
The OpenFlight data exported from Terra Vista contains geometry data and high-resolution textures and satellite imagery. The OpenFlight data is imported into the FLAMES Scenario Database using the FLAMES Enhanced 3D Scene Importer. With perfectly correlated terrain and visualization databases, wasteful and distorting operations such as “ground clamping” are unnecessary.
OpenFlight data created by programs other than Terra Vista can sometimes be imported successfully using the FLAMES Enhanced 3D Scene Importer.
When correlated terrain and visualization data is loaded in FLAMES-based applications:
- Models can query the terrain data for geometry and attribute data and request such calculations as line-of-sight, height-above-terrain, terrain intersection, and terrain slope.
- Models can make queries for vector and attribute data from features, such as roads, buildings, and bodies of water. Models can also query a road network for road intersections and to perform path-finding operations.
- 2D displays can be rendered on an elevation contour terrain map which also displays the polygons associated with features (such as the polygons associated with roads, buildings, and lakes). 2D maps can display feature vector data such as roads and the perimeters of lakes and forested areas.
- 3D displays can render the terrain and the polygons associated with features (such as the polygons associated with roads, buildings, and lakes) in three dimensions, as described below.
Much of this capability is also supported when only visualization data is loaded.