Springer, 2001. — 169 p.A synthetic environment can be described as the presentation of one or more aspects of some given real-world environment in a digital simulation, which typically includes visual as well as experiential components. The visual component provides the user with a realistic, three-dimensional, replication of the real world. It includes terrain and terrain features (natural and man made); complex 3D objects; the ocean; the ocean bottom and its associated features; the atmosphere; and near space. In addition, a synthetic environment includes attributes of the objects in the environment, as well as the relationships amongst these objects. The experiential component immerses the user in the synthetic world by providing a set of interactions with that world consistent with the application area. For example, allowed interactions may allow the user to fly the aircraft using synthetic controls or to explore an urban area to learn the layout of its streets, buildings, etc. In both cases, associated sounds and other environmental conditions can be added for increased realism. Although synthetic environments were traditionally used in a military setting for mission rehearsal and simulations, their use is rapidly spreading to a variety of applications in the commercial, research and industrial sectors. Included in the many applications for synthetic environments are flight training for commercial aircraft as well as the Space Shuttle, city planning, car safety research in real-time traffic simulations, and video games. The growing popularity of synthetic environments in such areas may be due to the benefits often associated with their use. Automobile manufacturers, for example, can bring a new design to the testing stage in a synthetic environment where necessary modifications can be detected long before the first physical prototype is ever built. City planners are able to visually examine and understand the full impact of new urban development. NASA has found synthetic environments for Space Shuttle mission training more cost effective than physical simulators. In addition, the synthetic environment can be taken aboard the Space Shuttle for continued training during shuttle missions to keep performance at peak. In some cases, projects would be difficult if not impossible without the use of synthetic environments. For example, researchers using synthetic environments have realistically studied motor vehiclelbicycle traffic interactions to better understand ways of decreasing accidents between the two.An Overview of 3D Synthetic Environment Construction Multiresolution Modeling of Three-Dimensional Shapes Adding the Third Dimension to Digital Mapping Automated Reconstruction of 3D City Models Adaptive Capture of Existing Cityscapes Using Multiple Panoramic Images Urban Terrain Modeling for Augmented Reality Applications Development of Tools for Construction of Urban Databases and Their Efficient Visualization
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