Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
Conform for real time 3D visualization
January 10th, 2014 by Susan Smith
Andrew Tosh, founder of GameSim of Orlando, a 3D visualization and GIS applications used in the gaming and military simulation industries, talked about the plans to expand their product Conform into the GIS market. GameSim is looking at 30% growth (2013). Tosh started the company in 2008 and now they have 33 employess. They will do revenue at $3.7 million this year.
Conform is a product launched early in January 2013, which they had been using internally at GameSim.
The primary market targets for GameSim are gaming, the military simulation industry (very large in Orlando), and GIS. Tosh said that with military simulation they take raw GIS data to get it into the military simulator to make virtual environments.
“The gaming industry rely more on artists, they don’t need realistic environments,” noted Tosh. “Also the gaming industry is dealing with much smaller environments, so it’s not realistic for military simulation to generate all of the environments like they need to deal with big environments such as countries.”
When asked if the taking of GIS platforms into other areas such as commercial and gaming could be considered a trend, Tosh replied: “It has that potential. Games and training systems need to generate larger, more realistic environments on tight budgets. They have been looking toward procedurally generated content to help offset the cost of developing those environments by hand. Tools, like Conform, that can assist in the process of rapidly creating fused environments from GIS source data, can help fill that gap.”
A new big program within the military simulation industry is a big customer of Conform. They have a long pipeline of getting raw GIS data and having to clean it up and running it through to a lot of pipelines to make a final environment and finally getting to see it in 3D. At that point they may see they have a building sitting on top of a road. Conform can load all that raw data from the start and immediately provide 3D representation, “so we focused on being able to have high performance in real time, so it can take in raw feature data, elevation data, satellite imagery, lidar, point clouds, view that altogether in real time, and provide a 3D visual, and can edit that content and see effects of edits. Conform allows you to see all problems right away.”
“We’ve commercialized Conform and are making it available to a larger GIS community,” said Tosh. He said that the military are users of GIS for training purposes, with their goal to put it into military simulators which is now called the modeling simulation industry.
Everyone who has GIS needs to fuse their content together. Tosh said that Conform is a good use case, as “we can see it exported into game engine formats. Those creating large open world environments take GIS data and export into game engines, and can get artists to tweak it to be visually pleasing. It’s a way they can automate the process.”
Conform will be shown this year at GEOINT 2014.
“We are looking at showing how Conform can integrate into other systems, for example, to show integration with traffic simulation systems,” said Tosh. “You could import feature data from a road network and plan some sort of event, such as a hurricane and see where traffic is going, make changes to data and see how that would change the flow of traffic, a way to show integration with third parties.”
Conform is complementary to other GIS products, such as Esri and Intergraph products, etc. It is a vital tool in toolbox for any time there is a need to do real time vizualization. Conform is offered right now at $350 license, including customization services. Software engs can use the SDK and make customizations themselves.