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Techniques for Viewing Terrain Data on Handheld Displays

Project Mission | Project Capabilities | Intellectual Property | Project Status
TerraNavigator Datasheet | Tactical Viewer Datasheet | Symbology SDK Datasheet
Flash Demo (full size)



This project developed the graphical software package called the Tactical Terrain Viewer, which can be used by soldiers in the field to view complex topographic information. This package can support a range of display platforms ranging from small handheld PDA devices to high performance 3D workstations. It provides 3D MIL 2525B symbology support.

Cybernet Terrain Data Viewing with Military Symbology


The Tactical Viewer (TV) graphical software effectively displays MIL –STD 2525B compliant tactical and topographic information on desktop, handheld computers, or other small displays such as PDAs. The purpose of the TV software is to present topographic information in a way that optimizes the perception of three-dimensional topography populated with tactical symbology while looking at a small computer screen.


  • Renders in 2D or 3D
  • Imports and displays DTED elevation file format (levels 0, 1, and 2)
  • Imports and displays Vector Product Format (VPF) data (roads and boundaries)
  • Imports and displays image overlays onto terrain.
  • Facilitates on-the-fly moving texture generation.
  • Provides query functionality for determining elevation, terrain type and closest feature information
  • Includes symbology library for importing/displaying MIL-STD-2525B symbology.
  • Radar / Line-of-sight displays capability
  • Allows the user to specify paths and points.
  • OpenSkies HLA communications for real-time networked collaboration/planning.
  • Custom GL-based GUI infrastructure (cross-platform)
  • Connection to TerraNavigator compass/GPS solution.


  • Windows – Hardware accelerated using OpenGL or software rendered
    • Desktop PC
    • Tablet
    • Laptops
  • Windows CE – Software rendering only.
    • Tablet PCs
    • PDA devices

Hardware and Software Terrain Rendering


Terrain Viewer Software.


Completed for U. S. Army (TEC).

Three-dimensional topography, with tactical symbology, on a small screen

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