A GPU Tile-Load-Map architecture for terrain rendering: theory and applications

Yacine Amara, Xavier Marsault
USTHB, BP 32 EL ALIA, 16111 Bab Ezzouar, Algiers, Algeria
The Visual Computer, Volume 25, Number 8, 805-824


   title={A GPU Tile-Load-Map architecture for terrain rendering: theory and applications},

   author={Amara, Y. and Marsault, X.},

   journal={The Visual Computer},








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This paper describes a robust, modular, complete GPU architecture – the Tile-Load-Map (TLM) – designed for the real-time visualization of wide textured terrains created with arbitrary meshes. It extends and completes our previous succinct paper Amara et al. (ISVC 2007, Part 1, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 4841, pp. 586-597, Springer, Berlin, 2007) by giving further technical and implementation details. It provides new solutions to problems that had been left unresolved, in the context of a joint use of OpenGL and CUDA, optimized on the G80 graphics chip. We explain the crucial components of the shaders, and emphasize the progress we have proposed, while resolving some difficulties. We show that this texturing architecture is well suited to current challenges, and takes into account most of the distinctive aspects of terrain rendering. Finally, we demonstrate how the design of the TLM facilitates the integration of geomatic input-data into procedural selection/rendering tasks on the GPU, and immediate applications to amplification.
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