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Project Summary:

GISMO is a project funded by the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, which deals with the visualization of large scale city models and terrain data. This project is carried out by the Visualization Group (VIS) of the Computer Science Department of the University of Stuttgart in collaboration with the Institute for Photogrammetry (ifp). The purpose of the project is the development of a visualization environment that is able to display high resolution terrain data and large complex city models at interactive frame rates and on cheap main-stream graphics hardware. The automatic generation of realistic, three dimensional environmental models has quickly advanced in the past years. Photogrammetric techniques have been developed to automatically gather geometry and phototextures for virtual landscapes. These techniques are not limited to terrain only, but can also be used to acquire the geometry of buildings. At the ifp large vector and raster data sets have been collected this way and the need to display these urban models interactively has arosen. Users of the visualization system will be able to experience a virtual flight over the city and may walk through the model visiting locations and buildings as a virtual tourist. Further areas of application include navigational systems and spatial-aware simulations. A more detailed german description of the GISMO project is available on this page.

Involved Institutes:

Institute of Computer Science, Visualization and Interactive Systems Group (VIS)

Prof. Dr. Thomas Ertl

Breitwiesenstr. 20-22, 70565 Stuttgart, Germany

Institute for Photogrammetry (ifp)

Prof. Dr. Dieter Fritsch

Geschwister-Scholl-Str. 24d, 70174 Stuttgart, Germany


VIS: Dipl. Inf. Stefan Roettger

ifp: Dr. Norbert Haala, Dipl. Inf. Martin Kada

Student Researchers:

Karsten Weiss

Related Projects:

NEXUS Group at the University of Stuttgart

The Nexus Group is developing a variety of spatial-aware applications that use (or will use) our visualization environment.

Virtual Terrain Project

VTP is an open source project for advanced terrain rendering. We have contributed our C-LOD terrain renderer to this project.


VTP is built on top of OSG, an open source scene graph implementation. We have contributed a hierarchical impostor implementation to this project.

These are some screenshots of the city center of Stuttgart, which show an early stage of facade texture acquirement. The facade textures were captured by a GPS tracked digital camera. After applying a perspective correction the images are correlated with the buildings in a semi-automatic process.
High Resolution Terrain Rendering Screen Shots:
The above screen shots show the city center of Stuttgart modeled with a high resolution height field and textures for an area of coverage of 2,500 square kilometers. At a spatial resolution of approximately 2 meters the textures consume more than 170 MB of graphics memory. Using S3TC texture compression the texture data fits into a graphics card with 64 MB of onboard graphics memory. The visualization runs with approximately 120 Hz on a AMD Athlon with 1.2 GHz and a NVIDIA GeForce3 graphics adapter. A demo version of our terrain renderer is available at the download page. A Java3D version can be browsed online here.
Preliminary Facade+Building Screen Shots:
Preliminary screen shots showing the large 2,500 square kilometer terrain data set with some prominent buildings in the city center which are already modeled with high resolution facade textures.
Final Screen Shots:
Screen shots of the final Stuttgart city model which includes 36,000+ buildings. This means that almost every building of the city and the closer suburbs is modeled (see overview on the left). The model also includes 5,000+ facade textures for over 500 buildings in the main pedestrian zone (compare center image). On the right the tool for facade texture placement is shown. The remainder of the buildings in Stuttgart are textured with generic facades. Due to the large number of building models and the huge terrain data set a walk through the virtual city is guaranteed to be a great experience stretching out far to the virtual horizon.