Minerva: Integrating GIS, 3D, and Virtual Reality

Presentation | Presented

  • Adam Kubach, Arizona State University

This presentation introduces a new GIS program, Minerva, which unifies several existing GIS tools with high-performance, planet-wide 3D visualization. At the core, Minerva is a Windows desktop program that follows the document-view paradigm -- with the ability to open multiple documents at once -- and uses a plugin architecture for extensible design. Minerva also has multi-screen, virtual reality display capability, which can be thought of as another view to the document.

Using the Windows desktop application, the user queries for information from a variety of sources, including WMS servers, PostGIS databases, and the file system. Minerva keeps track of these "layers" using a collection of abstract base classes. Communication with the multi-screen display occurs via XML-based serialization and deserialization of these layer objects through a specialized table in a designated PostGIS database. Minerva's primary strength is the ability to display raster and vector data together from multiple sources with the benefit of high-performance computer graphics (including animating through temporal data sets). By using robust open source toolkits like OSSIMPlanet, we are able to manage gigabytes worth of terrain and image layers.

Minerva is an open-source project under active development at Arizona State University's Decision Theater (www.decisiontheater.org) and is used in our production facility to support policy decision-making meetings for our customers. Projects completed with Minerva vary from school enrollment to disease propagation studies.

Supporting Files