MetaVR Visuals in Baghdad Virtual Staff Rides at Combat Studies Institute
The Combat Studies Institute (CSI), an academic department within the Combined Arms Center at Ft. Leavenworth, KS, uses 3D terrain of areas in and around Baghdad, Iraq, from MetaVR. The Baghdad databases, or "virtual views" as CSI refers to them, are used to create enhanced warfighter training experiences and opportunities prior to deployment.
MetaVR developed the 270 km x 200 km 3D terrain from colorized 1 meter black and white imagery and 30 meter elevation data using our terrain creation software, both our commercial products and internal tools. Within the overall terrain databases, nine built up regions were developed, each with an average of approximately 885,000 polygons per scene, including six of areas in Baghdad, two of the town of An Nasiriyah, and one of Al Aziziyah, a town about 60 km east of Baghdad. Each 6 km x 6 km area consisted of built up microterrain with geospecific cultural content and colorized imagery.
About the delivery
The initial delivery contained high-resolution, geo-specific terrain and cultural content representing nine areas of interest in Iraq, including the cities of Baghdad, An Nasiriyah, and Al Aziziyah. These nine areas are located within an area of approximately 270 km x 200 km, ranging from 3431520N to 3698956N and from 427050E to 622213E.
CSI uses the 3D terrain to conduct virtual staff rides of selected Baghdad case studies as part of professional development training for U.S. Army officers.
About the models
To create realistic feature content, MetaVR’s model designers created photo-realistic models of several types of buildings and other cultural features, such as bridges, trees, sewer pipes, street lights, power lines, curbs, fences, culverts, and public monuments. Many of these features were built with photo-realistic textures based on public domain photographs of the Baghdad area. Content from MetaVR's 3D model libraries is also used in the databases.
About the databases
MetaVR subsequently compiled two large terrain databases to combine all of the area and cultural content of the databases described above. One database is 207 km x 190 km and contains the greater Baghdad area, which MetaVR enhanced with geospecific imagery and photo-specific models of the Green Zone area. The other database covers an area of 117 km x 111 km and is centered on An Nasiryah.
About the training environment
CSI’s training for military officers includes conducting virtual staff rides of selected Baghdad campaigns using MetaVR's terrain databases. The initial use of the databases is for training Command and General Staff College students. Instead of traveling to a site to execute a normal staff ride, students can use VRSG to visualize the terrain. They use the same procedures as in a normal staff ride except that they do not physically "walk" the terrain.
Actual and simulated views of the Baghdad area
Below is a series of images of the Baghdad area. You can compare photographs of the actual Baghdad area on the left side with the VRSG screen captures of the simulated view on the right. The models of buildings and other structures are photorealistic; the models were created from public domain photographs of the Baghdad area.