Mubarmij asks: "A lot of people, including the ex-Vice President, think that Terrain Visualization and the Georeferencing of all kinds of data is the next big thing. Given the broad applications (sims, education, games, GIS, virtual tourism, etc) that can be derived from such technology, I would tend to agree that if this is not actually the NBG(tm), then at least it is very close. Like the internet, this technology has taken its time in obtaining it's current level of sophistication. However, there is huge potential here that has yet to be tapped, despite the fact that it currently fills a huge niche market. I had once read that NASA spends more than 70% of its resources on space imaging and visualization-related activities (unfortunately I link to the article that mentions this, but one should remember that the major goal of all space satellites is to take multihued pictures of Earth and other planets, and you will see that this is not an exaggeration), which is quite a lot of money." Open Source has provided several frameworks for GIS from which a "killer app" may spring from. Read more on the various Open Source projects on GIS, and feel free to share your thoughts on where this technology may head in the future.
"There are quite a few web sites, commercial and non commercial that tend to this technology. However, it seems like the early nineties, where people are just starting to get aware of the internet, but are still awaiting for the killer app to make this thing fly.
There are two open source projects I am aware of that deal with this area. The first, VTP, is a real open source project attempting to create a real terrain visualizer. The second, OpenSkies, is not really open source yet (despite its claim)... but it is interesting in that it allows networked people to fly or drive through virtual worlds that are reality based.
Here are a few other questions:
- Do you think that this technology will remain a niche market (albeit a big one)? If so, is this likely to occur?
- Are you aware of any open source projects other than the two mentioned above that deal with this area?"