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Interactive out-of-core rendering and filtering of one billion stars measured by the ESA Gaia mission
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Media and Information Technology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis was to visualize the 1.7 billion stars released by the European Space Agency, as the second data release (DR2) of their Gaia mission, in the open source software OpenSpace with interactive framerates and also to be able to filter the data in real-time. An additional implementation goal was to streamline the data pipeline so that astronomers could use OpenSpace as a visualization tool in their research.

An out-of-core rendering technique has been implemented where the data is streamed from disk during runtime. To be able to stream the data it first has to be read, sorted into an octree structure and then stored as binary files in a preprocess. The results of this report show that the entire DR2 dataset can be read from multiple files in a folder and stored as binary values in about seven hours. This step determines what values the user will be able to filter by and only has to be done once for a specific dataset. Then an octree can be created in about 5 to 60 minutes where the user can define if the stars should be filtered by any of the previously stored values. Only values used in the rendering will be stored in the octree. If the created octree can fit in the computer’s working memory then the entire octree will be loaded asynchronously on start-up otherwise only a binary file with the structure of the octree will be read during start-up while the actual star data will be streamed from disk during runtime.

When the data have been loaded it is streamed to the GPU. Only stars that are visible are uploaded and the application also keeps track of which nodes that already have been uploaded to eliminate redundant updates. The inner nodes of the octree store the brightest stars in all its descendants as a level-of-detail cache that can be used when the nodes are small enough in screen space.

The previous star rendering in OpenSpace has been improved by dividing the rendering phase into two passes. The first pass renders into a framebuffer object while the second pass then performs a tonemapping of the values. The rendering can be done either with billboard instancing or point splatting. The latter is generally the faster alternative. The user can also switch between using VBOs or SSBOs when updating the buffers. The latter is faster but requires OpenGL 4.3, which Apple products do not currently support.

The rendering runs with interactive framerates for both flat and curved screen, such as domes/planetariums. The user can also switch dataset during render as well as render technique, buffer objects, color settings and many other properties. It is also possible to turn time on and see the stars move with their calculated space velocity, or transverse velocity if the star lacks radial velocity measurements. The calculations omits the gravitational rotation. The purpose of the thesis has been fulfilled as it is possible to fly through the entire DR2 dataset on a moderate desktop computer and filter the data in real-time. However, the main contribution of the project may be that the ground work has been laid in OpenSpace for astronomers to actually use it as a tool when visualizing their own datasets and also for continuing to explore the coming Gaia releases.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 45
Keywords [en]
out-of-core rendering, large-scale visualization, hierarchical octree, GPU streaming, realtime filtering.
National Category
Media and Communication Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-151068ISRN: LiU-ITN-TEK-A--18/034--SEOAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-151068DiVA, id: diva2:1247648
Subject / course
Media Technology
Uppsok
Technology
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-09-12 Created: 2018-09-12 Last updated: 2018-09-12Bibliographically approved

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Interactive out-of-core rendering and filtering of one billion stars measured by the ESA Gaia mission(1523 kB)1391 downloads
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CiteExportLink to record
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