Species XML File Format
In 1998, there was no existing file format to represent a collection of plant
species along with information about how the plants would appear in a visualization.
A simple text format for this purpose was invented, then adapted to XML in 2001.
Specification Version 1.1
The format is perhaps best described by this small
example file. Here is an explanation
of the XML contents of the file:
- Element species
- Attribute name: Species name in binomial notation. Example:
- Attribute max_height: The maximum height to which typical plants
of this species grow.
- Element common
- Attribute name: Common name for this species. Example:
- Attribute lang: the two-character language code for this
common name. Optional, default is "en" for English. See
- Element appearance
- Attribute type: Values are 1, 2, 3:
- type 1: X-billboard image (e.g. .png)
- type 2: explicit 3D model (e.g. .3ds)
- type 3: Xfrog model (.xfr)
- Attribute filename: The filename of this appearance.
- Attribute width: Width, in meters, of the appearance.
For example, if it is a billboard image of a tree, this is the width
in meters of that billboard.
- Attribute height: Height, in meters, of the appearance.
- Attribute shadow_radius: Approximate radius, in meters, of
the shadow cast by this plant with the sun directly overhead.
It can be 0 for a plant that casts an insignificant shadow, such as
a tuft of grass. Optional.
- Attribute shadow_darkness: Approximate darkness, from
0 to 1, of the shadow cast by this plant. For example, a tree
with slim branches and small leaves may cast a light shadow (0.5) whereas
a tree with thick foliage may cast a dark shadow (1.0). Optional.
- There should be 1 or more common name elements for each species,
and 1 or more appearance elements.
- Although not directly related to this file format, here is a reminder:
For realtime 3D, texture maps (type 1 appearances) should be a power of
2 in each dimension, e.g. 256 x 128.
- Version 1.0 - First release
- Version 1.1 - Added lang attribute for common names, and made support
for multiple common elements explicit. Dropped previously optional
Future revision of this format will probably have additional attributes on
the appearance to encode aspects of an appearance, such as trunk diameter, plant
condition (diseased, damaged, etc.) and time of year for species such as deciduous
plants who appearance is time-dependent.