CREATING A HIGH RESOLUTION MODEL OF THE TIMPANOGOS CAVE SYSTEM USING A TERABYTE SCALE LIDAR DATASET
In the winter of 2015, a 22-billion-point cloud of Timpanogos Cave System was collected over the course of two weeks from 478 terrestrial LiDAR scans. While not in color, its resolution is such that sub-centimeter scale cave formations, such as helictites and soda straws, are visible. A CESU (Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Units) agreement between the University of Arizona and Timpanogos Cave National Monument was enacted in 2018 to develop this terabyte scale dataset into an interactive simulation of the cave system. This simulator will be used for research and public outreach and will be featured in the new visitor center.
This talk summarizes the methodology and challenges associated with processing the Timpanogos Cave System dataset. Using high performance computing (HPC) solutions, python scripting, and meshing algorithms specially adapted to work with clouds exceeding several billion points, a model that is detailed enough to preserve the delicate formations the cave is famous for can be rendered using today’s hardware. A beta version of Timpanogos Virtual will be featured, allowing users to explore the cave system via a computer and/or virtual reality headset depending on space accommodations. A live demo for audience members to view after the talk will also be made available.