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A new standard for simulated terrain

If you own multiple simulation systems, you probably own multiple versions of terrain software, and not all of them are compatible.

In September, Montreal-based Presagis, created in 2007 as an offshoot of CAE, released M&S Suite 13, a major upgrade to its modelling and simulation software portfolio. Among the notable features is the ability to standardize terrain across a range of simulators.

“One of our military customer standardized the terrain for all their divisions on our tool,” explained Stéphane Blondin, vice president of product management and marketing. “They came to the realization that when they buy an aircraft simulator, it comes with terrain, when they buy a naval simulator, it comes with terrain, a ground training or mission rehearsal systems comes with terrain – they keep buying the same terrain over and over and at different levels of detail and different levels of complexity.

“One of the key technologies underneath Suite 13 is a terrain standard which we call CDB, or common data base. With CDB, you can have all of these levels of detail co-existing in the same database – somebody flying two miles up and somebody driving on the ground. It allows us to model large, complex systems with multiple layers of information. People spend a lot of time fine tuning the database, so this is one central database that can be used by all of their functions that they can evolve over time.”

For military clients, the common standard and ability to show detail from a variety of systems in one common operating picture means users can always access an up-to-date 3D model map. The new suite also allows customers to present terrain as it would appear through different sensors or from different vantage points such as an aircraft or a vehicle, and as it would react to conditions such as wind, heat and water.

Blondin said the company also worked to better integrate its M&S products. “One of the challenges we kept hearing from customers was that they had issues understanding which version of our visualization tools to use with which version of our simulation engine, with which version of our database tools. Customers were also using their own products with somebody else’s viz engine, with somebody else’s sim engine.

“A lot of the money is spent in the industry on gluing stuff together, and we wanted to be better than the rest of our competition at pre-gluing those pieces together so that our customers could be more effective and more rapid at building applications.”

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