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Minerva was born out of a need for multi-screen, view-frustum corrected, planet-wide management and inquiry of geospatially referenced data of all kinds. This includes satellite images, terrain, temporal vector data, temporal volumetric data, and standard GIS "shape" data, loaded either from disk, spatial databases, or internet protocols.

Further, a lot of non-traditional geospatial data is underground, such as groundwater data and urban infrastructure. Minerva is a platform flexible enough to display data below the surface.

The desktop application is made by wrapping the core functionality with a Qt based application framework called Helios. For multi-screen display, an executable based on VR-Juggler exposes the functionality of Minerva.

The entire project is written in platform-independent C++ with an extensible plugin architecture. It builds on several popular open-source projects, including: OpenSceneGraph, GDAL, and Boost.

Architectural Overview

  • Semi-transparent ground
  • Connect to ArcIMS servers
  • Arbitrary latitude and longitude extents
  • Ability to turn tile "skirts" on/off
  • Hide or show the back side of the ground tiles
  • Change the distance in which tiles subdivide
  • Arbitrary number of background threads building tiles
  • WMS imagery
  • Imagery from georeferenced raster formats (e.g., geotiff)
  • Vector data from PostGIS databases
  • WMS terrain using 16-bit greyscale PNG images
  • ArcAscii terrain
  • Click to define center of rotation
  • Fly underground
  • Ellipsoidal and flat land models
  • Local caching of imagery and terrain data for fast load
  • Planetary tiling engine that manages level-of-detail
    • Runtime generation of tiles
  • Arbitrary number of color-to-alpha mappings for each raster layer
  • Ability to display data according to a time-stamp or time-window
  • Multi-pass antialiased rendering
  • Export screenshots of arbitrary pixel dimensions
    • Bounded only by system memory and destination file format
  • Planets are actual size
    • Does not normalize radii
  • Multiple elevation layers composite

Primary developers are