Implementation of Martian virtual reality environment using very high-resolution stereo topographic data

Jung Rack Kim, Shih Yuan Lin, Jeong Woo Hong, Young Hwi Kim, Chin Kang Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Topography over terrestrial or other planetary surfaces is an important base data for virtual reality construction. In particular, with inaccessible topography such as the Martian surface, virtual reality provides great value not only for public interaction but also for scientific research. For the latter application, since field surveys are essential for the geological and geomorphological researches, the virtual reality environment created based on verified topographic products provides an alternative solution for planetary research. The performance of virtual reality implementation over a planetary surface can be assessed by two major factors: (1) The geodetically controlled base topographic products, such as DTM and ortho-image, and (2) Technological integration of topographic products into virtual reality software and hardware. For the first aspect, the multi-resolution stereo analysis approach has already provided a solid basis so that specific topographic data sets over testing areas were generated by the hierarchical processor. To address the second problem, a parallel processor with multiple screen display combining 3D display software was employed in this research. As demonstrated in this paper, the constructed Martian virtual environment showed highly detailed features over the Athabasca Valles (one of former potential Mars Exploration Rover landing sites) and Eberswalde crater (one of the main original landing candidates for the NASA's rover mission scheduled to launch in late 2011). The employment of such virtual reality environments is expected to be a powerful simulator after integrating a 3D Martian model, engineering and environment constraints for Martian geological and geomorphic researches including landing site selection and rover navigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-195
Number of pages12
JournalComputers and Geosciences
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Geomorphology
  • High resolution DTM
  • Mars
  • Ortho-image
  • Stereo analysis
  • Virtual reality


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