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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Interactive, internet delivery of scientific visualization via structured, prerendered imagery

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In this paper, we explore leveraging industry-standard media formats to effectively deliver interactive, 3D scientific visualization to a remote viewer. Our work is motivated by the need for remote visualization of time-varying, 3D data produced by scientific simulations or experiments while taking several practical factors into account, including: maximizing ease of use from the user's perspective, maximizing reuse of image frames, and taking advantage of existing software infrastructure wherever possible. Visualization or graphics applications first generate images at some number of view orientations for 3D scenes and temporal locations for time-varying scenes. We then encode the resulting imagery into one of two industry-standard formats: QuickTime VR Object Movies or a combination of HTML and JavaScript code implementing the client-side navigator. Using an industry-standard QuickTime player or web browser, remote users may freely navigate through the pre-rendered images of time-varying, 3D visualization output. Since the only inputs consist of image data, a viewpoint and time stamps, our approach is generally applicable to all visualization and graphics rendering applications capable of generating image files in an ordered fashion. Our design is a form of latency-tolerant remote visualization infrastructure where processing time for visualization, rendering and content delivery is effectively decoupled from interactive exploration. Our approach trades off increased interactivity, reduced load and effective reuse of coherent frames between multiple users (from the server's perspective) at the expense of unconstrained exploration. This paper presents the system architecture along with an analysis and discussion of its strengths and limitations. © 2006 SPIE-IS&T.

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