GeoVRML an Overview
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Dateline: January 10, 2001

You might not believe it but there are a whole bunch of ways to specify coordinates on the earth. The technical term for these coordinates is called geocoordinates. The ability to manipulate and interact with graphics and terrain that are accurately located on the earth's surface is quite useful and the best and truly only reasonable way to deal with data and make it available on the Web is to use GeoVRML. GeoVRML is a "Recommended Practice" created by a working group of the Web3D Consortium, but primarily created by Martin Reddy and Lee Iverson of SRI International. Getting back to geocoordinates some of the types of coordinates GeoVRML let's you manipulate are:

GDC Geodetic 
GCC Geocentric 
GEI Geocentric Equatorial Inertial 
GSE Geocentric Solar Ecliptic 
GSM Geocentric Solar Magnetospheric 
SM Solar Magnetic 
GCS Global Coordinate System 
PS Polar Stereographic PCS 
LCC Lambert Conformal Conic PCS 
TM Transverse Mercator 
UTM Universal Transverse Mercator 
LST Local Space Rectangular 

More then you care to know right!

The development and deployment of GeoVRML serves as a model for the development of any substantial functional extension to VRML. SRI, hosts the site at The web site contains not only the specification itself but example (open source) code and example applications using GeoVRML, and technical papers.

So what is GeoVRML anyway and why do we need it? First of all GeoVRML is a set of Nodes implemented as VRML PROTOs. Recall that PROTOs are the clean way to implement extensions to VRML. In terms of features to quote from the GeoVRML Introduction:

The following list provides a high-level list of capabilities that are specifically addressed by GeoVRML 1.0.

Now let's see what types of Nodes and capabilities we get with GeoVRML.

Let's look at X3D which among other things will use XML to encode the 3D scene graph.

Next page > Functions and Nodes > Page 1, 2

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