Carto Project

The Carto Project is an ACM SIGGRAPH Special Project that explores how viewpoints and techniques from the computer graphics community can be effectively applied to cartographic and spatial data sets. The "Carto Project" is in collaboration with the International Cartographic Association's (ICA) Commission on Visualization and the GeoVRML Working Group of the Web 3D Consortium. The project seeks viewpoints from the computer graphics community on technology (including hardware and software) and techniques that will impact and can be applied to cartographic visualization.

Our SIGGRAPH 99 Carto BOF Meeting was held Wednesday, August 11th, 1999, 12:30 - 1:30 PM, in Room 507 of the Los Angeles Convention Center, during the SIGGRAPH 99 Conference week.

During the 1997 year, we conducted a survey on cartographic and geographic visualization. These and other issues were discussed at an ACM SIGGRAPH 97 Birds of a Feather session on August 6, 1997.

In 1998, we have served as a focal point for information gathering on:

-- standardization of cartographic data representation among and between various computer graphics systems.

-- establishment of data standards for computer graphics and cartographic applications

-- tracking of trends in the adoption of VRML by the computer graphics and cartographic communities.

These efforts are continuing in 1999 and 2000.

At SIGGRAPH 98, we held our 1998 Carto BOF meeting. At the meeting, Alan MacEachren reported on the research agenda of the International Cartographic Associations's Commission on Visualization. Martin Reddy demonstrated his newly developed GeoVRML Nodes ( VisiblityInline and QuadLOD nodes) for handling large terrain datasets in VMRL. Don Brutzman also showed a GeoVRML application which used Reddy's GeoVRML nodes. The GeoVRML Working Group of the VRML Consortium also released its GeoVRML Request for Comment document in honor of the 1998 Carto BOF meeting.

In 1999, members of the Carto Project presented their viewpoints on integrating cartography and computer graphics. For VRML 99, Jason Dykes, Kate Moore, and David Fairbairn authored a paper on "From Chernoff to Imhof and Beyond: VRML & Cartography", ( In the March/April 1999 issue of IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, Martin Reddy, Yvan Leclerc, Lee Iverson, and Nat Bletter published a paper on "TerraVision II: Visualizing Massive Terrain Databases in VRML", ( A PDF copy of this article can be found at: (

The June 1999 issue of the International Journal of Geographical Information Sciences was devoted to visualization of spatial data. It was guest edited by the Chair (Alan MacEachren) and Co-Chair ( Menno-Jan Kraak) of the International Cartographic Association's Commission on Visualization. A Web Supplement of this special issue is located at: (

Theresa-Marie Rhyne, Carto Project Director (


Summary of August 11, 1999 Carto BOF meeting at SIGGRAPH 99

Web Supplement to the Speical issue on Visualization for Exploration of Spatial Data of the INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION SCIENCE

A Commentary on GeoVRML - appeared in a special issue of the International Journal of Geographic Information Sciences, issue 4 of volume 13, June 1999

VRML-Next Generation renamed to X3D Standardization Initiative

VRML-Next Generation Proposed Requirement: Double-Precision

Carto Project Inventory of Web Sites (1998 & 1999)

The Carto Project Survey Report - March 1997

The Carto Survey Summary - March 1997

Summary of July 22, 1998 Carto BOF Meeting at SIGGRAPH 98

Summary of February 16, 1998 Workshop on The Representation of Geographical Information in VRML, held at VRML 98

Summary of August 6, 1997 Carto BOF Meeting at SIGGRAPH 97

Web site for International Cartographic Association's
Commission on Visualization

Web site for GeoVRML Working Group of the Web3D Consortium

Working Draft Document on VR(ML) Geofunctions - June 1997

Example Geographic Visualization of a Digital Elevation Model
using VRML 2.0/97 (courtesy of Thomas Fowler and Theresa-Marie Rhyne, created at the US EPA Scientific Visualization Center)