libGrid.png  OGL.jpg

The Mini Library
(or libMini for short) is a real-time terrain rendering system which is licensed under the terms of the LGPL. It is based on my '98 paper and supports asynchronous paging, dynamic terrain, multiple geospatial tile sets and much more. It compiles on Irix, Linux, MacOS X and Windows (VC++ and cygwin). The library is included in the Virtual Terrain Project of Ben Discoe and an early version is utilized in the DX 8 game AquaNox.

Get libMini from the download page.

Please visit the libMini User Gallery to see some user-contributed screen shots.

libMini QTViewer:

The libMini QTViewer is able to view multiple tilesets produced with VTBuilder on a night and day representation of the entire earth. It features an intuitive exploration of the tileset through the QT user interface. Below are some screen shots of multiple tilesets covering the Hawai'ian islands.

libGrid Library:

The libGrid library provides a resampling core similar to VTBuilder. With libGrid you can easily produce displayable tilesets from your geo-spatial data and imagery. The main difference to VTBuilder is that libGrid is able to produce the tilesets entirely automatic without manual interaction through a world map user interface. It also features a clean and generic interface to a geospatial resampling core, which is regression-tested to be accurate to the point. Below is a screen shot of the example data provided with libGrid:


libMini Demos:

Currently, four libMini demos are available: the Yukon Demo, the Stuttgart Demo, the Hawaii Demo and the Fränkische Demo. In order to compile the demos under Irix, Linux, MacOS X or Windows, download the Mini Library and the demos to the same directory, unpack the archives and follow the instructions in the README. Each demo can be run in stereoFX mode by supplying -s on the command line. Add -a for anaglyph stereoFX. Below are some screen shots of the demos.

Stereo image of Hawai'i using anaglyph rendering (red / cyan)

Stereo image of Hawai'i using wire frame mode

Yukon Demo:

The Yukon Demo illustrates the basic use of the Mini Library.
It additionally shows volumetric ground fog and a sky layer.

Kluane National Park in Yukon Territory, Canada

Stuttgart Demo:

The Stuttgart Demo visualizes hi-res LIDAR data of the city center of Stuttgart.
The dataset is courtesy of ifp.

The New Castle of Stuttgart, Germany

Hawaii Demo:

The Hawaii Demo is an example of handling high-res geo-referenced terrain data from multiple sources. For best performance a GeForceFX with at least 64 MB is recommended. On an Athlon 2.2 GHz GeForce FX 5800 Linux system the performance is about 20 million geomorphed vertices per second. At a target frame rate of 50 Hz, this translates to a system load of roughly 10-20%.

The terrain data includes all main islands of Hawai'i in an area of 750x540 square kilometers. The original data has a resolution of up to 10 meters. In order to keep download size reasonable (ca. 42 MB compressed), the data has been down-sampled to approximately 100 meters for the DEM and 50 meters for the orthophotos.

The back end of Waipi'o Valley on the Big Island of Hawai'i

Ben and me on the "illegal" trail at the back end of Waipi'o Valley

Visualization of a thunderstorm over Waimanalo, Oahu

Contour lines draped over the bathymetry using the libMini pixel shader plugin

Per-pixel shading using the libMini pixel shader plugin

The demo includes freely available terrain data from the following sources:

USGS Geographic Data Download

MapMart Global Mapping Solutions

LandSat ETM orthophotos and bathymetric data of Hawaii:
The Hawaii Project of the NOAA Coastal Services Center

LandSat TM and ETM+ orthophotos world-wide:
Global Land Cover Facility

Sky Dome:
Philo's Sky Collection

Oahu Demo:

The Oahu Demo uses the libMini async tile cache to page the 70 GB of original Oahu data in real-time. The entire island is covered with less than 0.5m for the aerials and 5-10m for the terrain. Due to the immense size of the data, the demo is only available as a tileset tarball (5GB).

Hires visualization of Makai Pier, Oahu, Hawai'i

East Ko'olau Range overlooked from Olomana Peak, remnant of an eroded volcanic caldera on Oahu

First part of Haiku Stairs aka Stairway to Heaven (see

 Up in Heaven (for a detailed hike description see

Hawaii Kai with on-the-fly sea level extraction

Hawaii Kai in wire frame mode to show the contour of the extracted shore line

Hawaii Kai with color-mapped bathymetry using the libMini pixel shader plugin

Fränkische Demo:

The Fränkische Demo contains 72MB of compressed GLCF data. It visualizes the distribution of vegetation near my home town in the "Fränkische Schweiz" and shows trees and bushes galore. So please don't bother trying if you do not have a fast machine and a hi-end GeForce FX!

The Hetzlas in the Fränkische Schweiz near Nuremberg, Germany

The included tree textures are from and the ground textures are from Paul Bourke, thanks!

The two following images show the huge impact of adding vegetation to a scene that is textured with ortho-photos. The seeding of the trees is determined by the NDVI, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index.

The Hetzlas is much prettier with vegetation

FaceOfMars Demo:

This demo merely is a proof of concept to show the usage of the Mini Library within the Irrlicht rendering engine (Linux demo only, the original Windows version is available at zenprogramming).

The "Face of Mars"