Getting Started
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Digital Earth > TerravisionTM > User Guide > Getting Started

Getting Started


TerraVisionTM is a distributed, interactive terrain visualization system developed by SRI International. It allows users to navigate, in real time, through a 3-D graphical representation of a real landscape created from elevation data and aerial images of that landscape.

The TerraVision system is available under Windows and Silicon Graphics machines. It comes as a standalone application as well as a Netscape plugin version and an ActiveX component. This user guide is provided to give you help installing, running, and using the TerraVision system. For the latest version of all TerraVision resources, please refer to the web page

Installing TerraVisionTM - Windows

You can download the full TerraVisionTM distribution for Windows from the TerraVision Download Page, or the Netscape plugin and ActiveX component from the TerraVision Plugins Download Page. In each case, there is an InstallShield executable that you can download and run in order to perform all of the installation for you. These executables are digitally signed by SRI International.

Windows Installer

Running TerraVisionTM - Windows

Once installed, you can run TerraVision by locating its menu entry in the Start/Programs menu, access by clicking on the "Start" button to the bottom-left corner of your desktop.

For the full version of TerraVision, you will find a menu entry called "TerraVision 5.1" with an option "Run TerraVision Browser". For the plugins version of TerraVision, you will find a menu entry called "TerraVision Plugin 5.1" with a number of options - try the "Netscape Plugin/Run TerraVision inside Netscape" example first (obviously, you will need to have installed the Netscape web browser for this to work).

Viewing Terrain Datasets - Windows

The first thing that you will probably want to do is to look at some terrain. If you have downloaded the TerraVision Plugins, then you can just go to one of the example web pages provided with the distribution to see TerraVision flying round a number of terrain datasets served from the SRI web server.

For the full Tcl/Tk version, you can either go to the "File/ Open Terrain" menu to view a specific terrain model from the SRI web site, or you can use the new "File/Open DotGeo" capability to automatically discover all datasets in your view (only works in 2D mode at the current time).

Installing TerraVisionTM - Unix

You can download the full TerraVisionTM distribution for IRIX 6.5 from the TerraVision Download Page. This comes as a compressed tar archive. Note that there are currently two versions: a Tcl/Tk version and an X/Motif version. The Tcl/Tk version is recommended as it is the one being actively developed. Let's say you wish to install the Tcl/Tk distribution into the directory /homedir/TerraVision. You could do this as follows:

  % cd /homedir
  % gzcat tv-tcltk-v5.tar.gz | tar xf -
(N.B. the percent symbol '%' is meant to represent the shell prompt and is not part of the command). Note that the distribution extracts into a TerraVision directory by default.

Configuring TerraVisionTM - Unix

In order for TerraVision to operate correctly, you should update your login script (e.g. .cshrc for csh) to include the TVHOME environment variable which points to the directory where you have installed TerraVision, e.g.

    # csh script to setup environment for TerraVision
    setenv TVHOME /homedir/TerraVision
    set path = ($path $TVHOME/bin)
Additionally, if you are installing the Tcl/Tk version of TerraVision and you do not already have Tcl/Tk 8.3 installed on your system, then you will need to update your LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable to point to the two Tcl/Tk shared libraries that are supplied with the TerraVision distribution. You should add this line to you shell start up script also:

     # csh syntax to add Tcl/Tk shared libs to search path
This is done to help TerraVisionTM find a few support files such as images used in the GUI, but more importantly, it is used to locate all of the Tcl/Tk scripts that are used to build the actual GUI. If you do not set a TVHOME environment variable, then TerraVisionTM will use the current directory where you ran TerraVisionTM from.

Running TerraVisionTM - Unix

Once you have added the above environment variable and path update to your login script, you should source that file (e.g. "source ~/.cshrc"), and then you can run the Tcl/Tk version of TerraVisionTM by typing the following command:

   % TclTV

Or you can run the X/Motif version of TerraVision by typing the command.

   % TerraVision

Viewing Terrain Datasets - Unix

For the full Tcl/Tk or X/Motif version of TerraVision, you can either load up a specific terrain database, or in the case of the Tcl/Tk version, you can use the new "Open DotGeo" option to automatically discover all datasets in your view (only works in 2D mode at the current time).

To load a specific terrain model and see something interesting in TerraVision, here are some steps to take:

  1. Make sure that you have some terrain data! You can browse dataset from SRI's web server or you can download a sample dataset from the TerraVision Download page.

  2. Tell TerraVisionTM to open the dataset. You can do this by going to the File/Open Terrain menu option. For more details, see the documentation for the File Menu (Tcl/Tk) or or File Menu (Motif).

  3. Select a view of the dataset (this step is optional for the Tcl/Tk interface). You can view the terrain from a 2-D pan/zoom interface, or a full 3-D fly through. For more details, see the descriptions for the View Menu (Tcl/Tk) or View Menu (Motif).



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Last updated: Wednesday, 10-Apr-2002 20:08:18 PDT.