Synthesizing High Resolution Terrain for Radar Simulation

Training requirements for Real Beam Ground Map (RBGM) and Synthetic Aperture (SAR) Radar simulations demand high-resolution terrain data in order to synthesize a Radar image. Radar simulators render the scene differently than out-the-window rendering. This means that traditional texturing and lighting cannot be used to hide the triangular faceting that normally is used to construct terrain.

The resolution (grid post spacing) of a high fidelity terrain database may be as good as 1 meter but this resolution is not good enough when a Synthetic Aperture Radar is sampling terrain at sub-meter resolutions. The undesirable artifact is that constant sloped surfaces (a.k.a terrain facets) are visible causing the terrain to appear unnatural.

This paper describes a technique recently developed to use modern Graphics Cards’ Tessellation Shaders to synthesize realistic high-resolution terrain while staying true to the known elevation samples all at runtime with negligible performance impact to the frame rate. The end result is a natural looking high-resolution terrain skin that can be used by RBGM or SAR Radar simulations regardless of the source terrain database resolution.

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