Web3D Consortium Builds Momentum with X3D-Earth at SIGGRAPH 2008

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Web3D Consortium's X3D Earth team is now creating and deploying large model archives for developmental use. X3D mappings of world terrain, cartography and imagery is now available for use in X3D scenes, making it easy to geospatially reference and share X3D models while using royalty-free standards, the Web architecture, XML languages and open protocols. X3D Earth example worlds and video demonstrations are online at x3d-earth.nps.edu. Current efforts include invitations to various governments and agencies to both provide and expose geospatial terrain, bathymetry and imagery as sharable digital assets for the X3D Earth project.

The X3D-Earth Working Group of the Web3D Consortium announces its ability to build X3D Earth models usable by governments, industry, scientists, academia and the general public. This is accomplished using the Extensible 3D (X3D) Graphics international standard plus partnered open standards from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).

The X3D Earth team is now creating and deploying large model archives for developmental use. X3D mappings of world terrain, cartography and imagery is now available for use in X3D scenes, making it easy to geospatially reference and share X3D models while using royalty-free standards, the Web architecture, XML languages and open protocols.

OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 350 companies, government agencies, research organization and universities. OGC and the Web3D Consortium have executed an ongoing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work cooperatively. Among the many benefits expected from this collaboration are improved standards-based, location-enabled 3D Web services to support urban planning, architecture, engineering and construction, climate prediction, homeland security, emergency management, and other capabilities.

A one-year progress review of the X3D Earth Working Group was held on 1-2 November 2007 at Schlumberger in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Key members of Web3D Consortium, OGC and other industry partners met to discuss X3D Earth production software, the X3D Specification Geospatial Component, plus client data services, layers and overlays on top of the globe. Ocean bathymetry and subsurface structures are also being modeled.
Multiple demonstrations were recently given at the X Symposium on Virtual and Augmented Reality (SVR) held in Joao Pessoa and Sao Paulo, Brazil, 8-10 May 2008. In preparation for that meeting, Web3D Consortium participants identified and prioritized the technical requirements, available capabilities, open challenges and strategic partnerships needed for continued progress.

Progress of X3D Earth project was recently presented to the ISO/IEC JTC1/SC24 standardization committee on 27 June 2008 at Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. This presentation includes information on projected future changes to the X3D standard, further enhancing its ability to support geospatial data presentation and utilization. Video podcasts and slidesets are being made available at http://www.movesinstitute.org/video/web3d/x3d-earth

New software support is also being announced. FreeWRL is an open-source X3D and VRML browser that runs on Mac OSX and Linux. FreeWRL version 1.20.6, now released for SIGGRAPH 2008, includes preliminary support for X3D-Earth model rendering. FreeWRL also brings plug-in capabilities to the Safari browser on Macintosh and the Firefox browser on Linux.

The OGC Web Mapping Service (WMS) specification is designed to allow clients to access and overlay maps from any server. A WMS servlet for X3D developed by Aniviza Inc. is now available under an open-source license. This server-based application also includes an interactive Java-applet Web interface. WMS-X3D is available at aniviza.com.

This year Yumetech has continued to optimize and extend its X3D Earth client and server software. They are showing an optimized implementation of X3D Earth showing the Earth and the Moon in a combined scene during SIGGRAPH 2008 demos. Further software and information is available at yumetech.com.

Working group charter, goals and technical details are available publicly at http://www.web3d.org/x3d-earth. X3D Earth example worlds and video demonstrations are online at http://x3d-earth.nps.edu. Current efforts include invitations to various governments and agencies to both provide and expose geospatial terrain, bathymetry and imagery as sharable digital assets for the X3D Earth project. Inquiries are welcome.

Look for the X3D Earth tutorial at Web3D Symposium Sunday August 10, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 a.m., Web3D Tech Talk Wednesday Aug 13, 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m., Cartographic BoF Tuesday August 12, 12:30 p.m.- 2:30 p.m., and panel discussions on digital earth systems Tuesday August 12, 3:45 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Ongoing X3D-Earth demonstrations will be presented in the Web3D Consortium booth (#139), all at the Los Angeles Convention Center during SIGGRAPH 2008.

Press Contact: Web3D Consortium, Executive Director Anita Havele email: anita.havele (at) web3d.org

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Anita Havele
Web3D Consortium
248 342 7662
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