Magazine article National Defense

Digital Imagery Recreates Any Location on Earth

Magazine article National Defense

Digital Imagery Recreates Any Location on Earth

Article excerpt

Simulator technology aids news coverage of war in Iraq, depicts events within hours

Three-dimensional imagery increasingly is becoming an important training tool for the military services, fueling the demand for advanced graphics generators that can precisely replicate the geography of any region of the world.

An example of this technology is the Environmental Processor, developed by Evans & Sutherland Computer Corp., of Utah. The EP uses a combination of satellite, reconnaissance aircraft photos and other systems to recreate a virtual 3-D image of any location on Earth. The military system grew out of a similar program being used to train commercial airline pilots.

"War fighting has changed, and those changes demand that the military change the way it trains," said Nick Gibbs, E&S Simulation Systems general manager.

The simulator can run on high-performance computers or standard PCs. This allows customers to tailor the system to meet their financial and training requirements, said Gibbs.

EP systems generate 3-D, textured environments that can be augmented with high-resolution imagery and terrain insets. Customized imagery includes cultural lighting at dusk and night, and geographical representations of coastline, cities, urban areas, mountains, agricultural areas and tundra, said Gibbs.

Other features include weather effects, rapid generation and insertion of airfields and high-fidelity terrain for missions requiring low-altitude flying.

E&S was awarded a three-year, $10.8 million contract from the Defense Modeling and Simulation Office of the Naval Air Systems Command. The contract, known as the "Rapid Database Generation Research Initiative," calls for conceptualization, creation and testing of an architecture and process that will enable imagery and sensor data from disparate sources to be rapidly validated, correlated, distributed, and displayed in a standard format.

The technology got some well-publicized exposure when its EP-1000CT system was used by ABC News during reports in its coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The network used the imagery to show viewers actual events a few hours after they happened. EP not only depicts Iraq, complete with buildings and vehicles, but also other areas of the Middle East. It shows aircraft, land vehicles, ships and infantry involved in U. …

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