Fusion3D software is a lightweight application for viewing digital elevation model (DEMs) and high-resolution imagery in a 3D environment. Developed by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL), in support of the U.S. Army Geospatial Center (AGC), Fusion3D software provides a quick and easy way to visualize BuckEye, HALOE, and ALIRT datasets.
The software is distinguished by its novel method of viewing complex 3D terrain as pixels that float according to their elevation value. Fusion3D supports draping Buckeye color imagery on top of the elevation pixels, providing a better situational awareness than from either type of data alone.
The traditional technique for visualizing 3D terrain data is to construct a continuous surface over regularly spaced elevation values. This technique works well when displaying large areas, but falls apart at very large scale or in trees.
Fusion3D software visualizes the terrain as a set of disjointed pixels that more closely model complex features. Where the terrain is smooth such as in grassy areas, roads and rooftops, it warps the pixels to create a smooth surface. Where the terrain is rough such as trees, building edges and steep mountains, the pixels are left disjointed. It has the strong advantage of making natural terrain look realistic and easy to interpret.
A powerful advantage of Fusion3D’s display method is that it allows high-resolution imagery to be displayed on the elevation pixels at full resolution. One-meter resolution elevation pixels can be draped with 10-centimeter resolution imagery to create a stunningly realistic view of the terrain. The software also supports basic mensuration and line of sight analysis.
Fusion3D software is government-off-the-shelf software and does not require a license. It is run from the executable file without installation. Speed and performance will vary based on the computer CPU, graphics card, and hard drive speed.
The software was developed to support stereoscopic viewing using a 3D monitor, and fast navigation using a 3D mouse device. However, it will perform well on a computer with a standard monitor and mouse.
To download the Fusion3D software and training datasets, and view how-to videos, visit the ‘Software and Tools’ or the ‘About LIDAR’ page on AGC’s websites.
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