Q: Can i run the
on my own computer?
A: Yes. Download the software,
which includes ready-to-run programs, data, and the complete C++ source
Q: Does it run on
A: Yes. If you are a developer, you can build the
software on just about any unix flavor (Linux, Irix, FreeBSD, Mac
OS X...) in addition to Microsoft Windows.
Q: Does it run on
Mac OS X?
A: It does build and run natively (if you are a skilled Mac
developer), but there are no prebuilt binaries, yet. Reportedly, the
VTP software for Windows does run well in emulation on the Mac, in
particular with VMWare
Q: What is the license on
the VTP source code? Is it under the GPL?
A: There are no restrictions. It is not under the GPL, but
instead under a more flexible license
which is basically the MIT/X license. You do not even have to disclose
the source if you improve it or include it in products that you sell.
- Q: Where is the documentation?
A: If you installed from the Windows Installer, there are already links
to the documentation on your Start Menu. If you installed the binaries
manually, there is a "Docs" folder under each application. Also, all the
documentation is online.
- Q: Is there a tutorial?
A: There are some simple tutorials in the
documentation. It is recommend to start with the
first tutorial. However, there are
hundreds of ways of using the VTP software, depending on what kind of
data you have. To cover them all would take hundreds of tutorials, because
there is no "common" case.
Consult the website about the kind of data you're working with, to learn
about it, then read the VTP docs for each application, starting with
VTBuilder. There is also the
mailing list to ask questions and get
- Q: How can i capture screen
output from the VTP (AVI/MPEG movies)?
A: Enviro has a snapshot feature for still images. For more
sophisticated capture including movies, there are numerous apps available
Camtasia Studio, or
perhaps an open-source alternative such as
TAKSI. For best results, try to
capture the video output externally (with a DVR or second computer) so that
the computer does not have to attempt 3D rendering and video capture at the
same time. Alternately, you can use Enviro's Play animation to disk
command in the Locations dialog, then encode the frames with your choice of
- Q: What's a heixel?
A: A heixel is a heightfield element - similar to how a "pixel"
is a picture element, "voxel" is a volumetric element, and "texel" is a
texture element. Other ways to refer to a heixel are "elevation grid sample
point" or "height of elevation raster at a given coordinate" - but consider
that heixel is a much shorter and simpler term.
- Q: Has VTP any image limit..? I
would like to work with a better resolution, but I found some problems with
A: Yes. With a single texture, the limit is your graphics card.
However, as of 2006, you can now use
to produce image tilesets which allow for any amount of imagery (and
elevation) which is smoothly paged at runtime.
- Q: How is the VTP software
different from Google Earth?
A: The VTP is an open platform for any kind of terrain visualization.
The list of what distinguishes VTP over GE is very long, here is a small
sample: supports coordinate system projections, dynamic procedural culture
including buildings, fences/walls/pipelines, vegetation that is
species-aware, bathymetry, direct loading of 3D models from every file
format, time of day lighting/shading, accurate sun location, simulation
elements including vehicles, procedural texture-mapped roads, support for
every geodata format including every USGS format, direct visualization of
GIS layers, 100% open and extensible, can be used by commercial users, fully
What distinguishes GE over VTP is: it provides free, limited (view-only)
access to a huge, seamless database of (public) elevation and (proprietary)
imagery. For more about GE, see
the online review.