Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Limitations with ArcGlobe

Developing with ArcGlobe or ArcGIS Engine with the Globe control is great and provides a lot of opportunities in a lot of applications. However, there are several limitations with Globe that have restricted its real potential. Here are some important missing requirements with Globe:

1. Need the ability to animate layers. This is currently possible in ArcScene but is sorely lacking in ArcGlobe. What I mean by this is the ability to take some layer like a car that is represented as a point feature and move it along a predetermined path (polyline).

2. Need the ability to create fog, rain, snow, AKA weather effects. Right not you can create fog from ArcGlobe but to do this from Engine you have to write some custom OpenGL functionality. It would be nice to be able to randomly generate snow fields too.

3. Need the ability to set local orientation. Once again you can do this in Scene by setting the azimuth or inclination but not in Globe.You can get the local orientation with IGlobeCamera.GetLocalOrentation but there is no SetLocalOrentation.

4. Need better tools for navigation in globe like the one on Google Earth. This is also available in ArcGIS Explorer. You would think ESRI's higher level tools would provide the higher level functionality. Also, right now there isn't a direct way to pan vertically with ESRI navigations tools.

5. The ability to create 3D bookmarks programmatically and then the ability to dynamically zoom to them. To improve user experiences it's nice to dynamically zoom and pan around from one point to another but this is only possible with existing bookmarks.

6. Provide the ability to model water better. Right now it's pretty simple. You can shade polygon with a certain stipple but something like 3D Max can do this much better. It would also be nice if ESRI handled the Fresnel effect, flowing water, waves, etc.

7. ESRI needs to develop its own 3D model tool like Google Sketchup that supports COLLADA.

8. I'd also like to have the Sun in some scenes to provide more realism with the ability to place a flare effects like ring, glow or star effect around it.

9. Better lighting options like global illumination, local illumination, ray tracing, and radiosity.

10. And lastly some of these effects would be great too: lens effects, brightness/contrast, depth of field, motion blur, animated fire, smoke and explosion effects, etc.

Oh, and while you're at it ESRI, could you make it mow my lawn. Thanks.

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