Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cesium.js Terrain Support

We've been adding support for one of Cesium's terrain formats recently.  Cesium, if you don't know it, is similar to WhirlyGlobe-Maply, but for the web.

Our toolkit has its own gridded terrain format, but I'd rather use someone else's.  Cesium has a better thought out and much more expansive set of terrain formats and tools available.

I was recently invited to discuss it at a Cesium meeting in Los Angeles.

SIGGRAPH Presentation

I used to attend to SIGGRAPH religiously, but I haven't been back in years.  It was a blast to walk the exhibition and see what's new.  Lots, of course, but a lot still looks the same.  Heck, it still smells the same.  No no, not that way.  It's the air conditioning and the projection displays.

Anyway, I gave a short presentation at Cesium's Birds of a Feather meeting last week.  Slides can be found here.

The Short Version

But what you're probably wondering (if you're still reading) is how well does the Cesium terrain work?

It's a start
Cesium has a funky way of representing terrain tiles that don't match to your standard TMS/Google/OpenStreetMap/Mapbox view of the world.  So we can't overlay those data sets on top.  This is limiting.

The Future!

Obviously, I'd like to fix that.  We'll need to do some resampling of image tiles as they come in to match the Cesium terrain.  It'll be a bit slower, but simple enough for the user.

So for now, you can show Cesium terrain, but without images on top.  If you'd like to fix that, hey it's open source, go for it.  Or you can wait until someone pays us to do that.  I suspect it'll happen in the next few months.