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Submitted by Adrian Lark, posted on October 03, 2000

Image Description, by Adrian Lark

This false colour image of the north pole of Mars was created by my Planet3d visualisation software and is made up of 3.9 million polygons. The dataset used in this picture was produced from 15Gb of NASA data. 90% of the 2 million height points that make up the dataset are accurate to within 5m. The software renders at 1fps on a PIII 700 although lower resolutions can be selected for better frame rates.

Check out my site for more screenshots.

Adrian Lark

Image of the Day Gallery


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Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.
John W. Ratcliff

October 03, 2000, 12:26 PM

I don't normally reply to IOTD screenshots, but this I couldn't resist. That looks *sweet*!!!! Fun project, I'm jealous.



October 03, 2000, 12:42 PM

Very nice indeed! I wonder how you're doing the lighting... are you just doing it by slope?

By the way, you must have a big hard drive with 15 GB to spare ;-)



October 03, 2000, 01:31 PM

Is the NASA data freely available?

The Wolf

October 03, 2000, 02:07 PM

be nice on high end machines, probably can get it running at 10fps


October 03, 2000, 07:06 PM

From the looks of it, it's regular 3D lighting. Just assign some pseudonormals at the vertices based on the slope and add a light to the scene ... voila. Lighting might also be generated with methods similar to 2D bumpmapping.

- MK42

Adrian Lark

October 03, 2000, 09:04 PM

Thanks for the comments,

I'm using regular lighting like MK42 said.

The data I'm using can be downloaded from

The problem with the data in its downloadable form is that you just get height points along an orbit. You have to interpolate the gaps between the orbits to create a useable dataset.


October 03, 2000, 09:04 PM

How long did it take to sort through all the data?

Adrian Lark

October 03, 2000, 09:33 PM

When the data was in its original ASCII tab format it took an hour to process the 200 million height points into a dataset. I restructured the data using a binary format, this cut the total size from 15Gb to 2Gb and means I can now generate a dataset for any area of Mars in 4 minutes.


October 03, 2000, 11:33 PM

WOW !!


October 04, 2000, 01:46 AM

Pure beauty...


October 04, 2000, 10:24 AM

did you generate this for a specific purpose, or just because you found the data and thought it would be cool to see it in 3d

Adrian Lark

October 04, 2000, 07:41 PM

There was no specific purpose, I just thought it would be cool to work with this data because its so new.

This thread contains 13 messages.
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