Visibility volumes for interactive path optimization.

Manohar B. Srikanth, P.C. Mathias, Vijay Natarajan, Prakash Naidu, and Timothy Poston.
The Visual Computer (Computer Graphics International 2008), 23, 2008, 1-13.


We describe a real-time system that supports design of optimal flight paths over terrains. These paths either maximize view coverage or minimize vehicle exposure to ground. A volume-rendered display of multi-viewpoint visibility and a haptic interface assists the user in selecting, assessing, and refining the computed flight path. We design a three-dimensional scalar field representing the visibility of a point above the terrain, describe an efficient algorithm to compute the visibility field, and develop visual and haptic schemes to interact with the visibility field. Given the origin and destination, the desired flight path is computed using an efficient simulation of an articulated rope under the influence of the visibility gradient. The simulation framework also accepts user input, via the haptic interface, thereby allowing manual refinement of the flight path.