Tinman 3D® / Realtime Terrain

Software for terrain processing, rendering and analysis

2017-08-10  Tinman 3D SDK / RC3 is coming September 2017, including the Workshop Application and Source Code packages.

The Tinman 3D SDK is a software development kit for real-time three-dimensional terrain rendering, processing and analysis. It consumes unlimited amounts of geodata and processes them into ready-to-use terrain modules. Using these, Tinman creates a global coherent three-dimensional representation of the terrain: a fully textured and adaptive continuous level-of-detail triangle mesh. The terrain mesh is used for interactive rendering and real-time spatial analysis. Via export, third-party applications can benefit from efficient terrain geometry: precise tessellation and minimal resource consumption, both at the same time. 

Tinman 3D - Concept

Integration into existing software is easy: the Tinman 3D SDK is self-contained and has no third-party dependencies. It is available in C++ (ISO/IEC 14882:2011) and C# (language version 4). Tinman features a concise abstraction layer, which enables it to run on virtually every platform. Support for Windows, Linux and Macintosh based systems on 32-bit / 64-bit architectures is built in. Real-time rendering can be performed through any API that supports vertex / index buffers. Ready-to-use bindings for Direct3D (9 or higher), OpenGL (1.5 or higher) and OpenGLES (1.1 or higher) are included.

Rendering a terrain with the Tinman 3D SDK is simple: only one vertex / index buffer and one draw call is required. High throughput is easily achieved for multi-pass scenes. Tinman generates seamless terrain geometry and textures. All vertices have well-defined tangent-spaces, enabling robust surface shading. During runtime, terrain data is streamed in incrementally while conserving I/O and GPU bandwidth: from local data, networks, the WWW or external media (e.g. DVD). Up to 256 per-vertex materials can be used as metadata, for example to blend between texture layers or to specify ground properties for physics simulations.

View the embedded image gallery online at:

Built-in features of the Tinman 3D SDK cover common use cases and widespread file formats. All internally used binary data formats are fully interchangeable: between programming languages, operating systems and machine architectures. Due to its open design, the core feature set of Tinman can be modified and extended - even without touching its source code. Ready-to-use bindings to well-established third-party libraries are wrapped in a separate add-on, including: Geospatial Data Abstraction Library (geodata import), FreeImage (image loading) and Bullet Physics Library (terrain mesh collision).

The screenshots and videos on this website have been screen-captured from the Tinman 3D Demo application (using FRAPS).

These third-party geodata have been processed by Tinman 3D to generate the terrain imagery on this website:

Google Earth™ High Resolution Imagery

© 2014 Cnes/Spot Image, DigitalGlobe, Flotron/Perrinjaquet, GRAFCAN, Landsat, NASA, Southern Nevada Water Authority, TerraMetrics, U.S. Geological Survey, USDA Farm Service Agency

AIRTEC - 2016 - Munich

Slides of our presentation held at the congress of the 11th AIRTEC International Aerospace Supply Fair:
View the embedded image gallery online at:

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