We are developing advanced visualization software and web services for point cloud terrain data gathered with airborne LiDAR technology. A global data framework and integration into GIS software is the main goal of this research.
Close-up views of LiDAR point sets are problematic when using simple pixels to visualize the data (gaps between points). On the other hand, if triangular meshes are used, artifacts may appear around scattered data and noise. Using programmable shaders, advanced point primitives in the form of locally-fitted oriented ellipses can produce a high quality rendering of both continuous surfaces and scattered data.
With typical broadband Internet connections already offering speeds above 10 Mbps, remote storage and visualization is becoming a reasonable option for LiDAR use. Our adapted data structure offers quick remote retrieval of LiDAR points by range and level-of-detail. In addition to usual LiDAR data, point normals can also be retrieved for advanced lighting. All data can be sent compressed or in raw LAS format.
You can watch a demo of the technology here. You can test point-based rendering of web-stored data with our experimental program MaGeViz. Currently it is available only for Linux. Please read the included "Readme.txt" for instructions.