Standards for Procedural Terrain Generation
15 May 2019
Technologies and Architectures
Procedurally generated terrain has emerged as a preferred technology and an affordable solution in the rapid creation of virtual worlds used for modeling, simulation and training systems. Creating a terrain database using procedurally generated 2D and 3D feature models significantly reduces the schedule and cost. Moreover, using automated procedural generation techniques significantly improves the direct use of cleaned source data, and in-turn enables the direct sharing of terrain data between operational mission command systems and training simulation systems. Typically, runtime formatted terrain is built using specialized Database Generation Systems (DBGS). When procedural generation techniques are used within these DBGS tools they make the runtime databases production faster and more affordable. These runtime formatted databases support the traditional approach for terrain correlation and system interoperability by generating all of the runtime databases at the same time with the same content and then distributing these databases to the corresponding runtime systems prior to use in a training exercise. New and emerging methods to generate terrain in real-time (just-in-time) at the point-of-need is changing when procedural generation techniques are applied, demanding new processes and standards to ensure terrain correlation and system interoperability. It is often portrayed that using single rendering and reasoning system in a networked training environment will solve all interoperability issues. However, using a single rendering and reasoning system is very unlikely. Locking to a single vendor will reduce competition and limit innovation. Consequently, it is necessary that standards be defined for the use of cleaned source data in the procedural generation of terrain. This includes defining parameters for mission specific data tailoring, defining enhanced feature attributes and scripting for descriptively defining procedural models. This paper describes procedural terrain generation, for both pre-runtime and runtime systems, defines the correlation requirements, identifies the desires for data sharing and recommends definition and maturation of standards that increase data sharing, improve correlation and minimize data obsolesce. The paper begins with background on procedural generation techniques and introduces a conceptual architecture in-which to identify data interface and storage standards. The paper also discuss procedural techniques used today for the generation of synthetic aerial imagery, synthetic textures, correlated material maps, and the procedural generation of 2D and 3D feature models. The paper provide lessons learned from the use of procedural generation techniques in current database production programs.