VTS wins patent for 3D PDF geospatial reporting

New technology makes it easier to distribute large 3D maps.

UK software house Visual Technology Services (VTS) has been awarded a patent for its new approach to compressing three-dimensional terrain grids for use inside 3D PDF documents. The technology is already in use in a variety of 3D technical reporting systems for such disciplines as civil engineering, marine and airborne survey, geophysical exploration, and utility development and management.

Blue Marble is one of many geospatial software firms that benefit from the 3D terrain grid technology in the VTS patent. (Source: Blue Marble)

As the use of 3D PDF documents has grown, the need for ever-larger maps embedded in those documents has increased with user sophistication. VTS says this patent—its second one in the field—strengthens its hand regarding intellectual property for 3D technical publishing using the PRC standard initially adopted by Adobe for the PDF environment.

The patent specifically covers PDF3D library proprietary methods used to compress large terrain grids, typical of digital elevation maps, bathymetric survey data, in a multi-level mesh packaged within a standard PDF file. The resulting document is reduced and more efficient to transmit, while enabling the recipient to open and navigate the 3D model with rotation, pan, zoom, geo-location probe, including geospatial image or attribute data draped onto the elevation mesh.