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1 Overview

Geomview's main purpose is to display objects whose geometry is given, allowing interactive control over details such as point of view, speed of movement, appearance of surfaces and lines, and so on. Geomview can handle any number of objects and allows both separate and collective control over them.

The simplest way to use Geomview is as a standalone viewer to see and manipulate objects. It can display objects described in a variety of file formats. It comes with a wide variety of example objects, and you can create your own objects.

You can also use Geomview to handle the display of data coming from another program that is running simultaneously. As the other program changes the data, the Geomview image reflects the changes. Programs that generate objects and use Geomview to display them are called external modules. External modules can control almost all aspects of Geomview. The idea here is that many aspects of the display and interaction parts of geometry software are independent of the geometric content and can be collected together in a single piece of software that can be used in a wide variety of situations. The author of the external module can then concentrate on implementing the desired algorithms and leave the display aspects to Geomview. Geomview comes with a collection of sample external modules, and this manual describes how to write your own.

Geomview is the product of an effort at the Geometry Center to provide interactive geometry software that is particularly appropriate for mathematics research and education. In particular, Geomview can display things in hyperbolic and spherical space as well as Euclidean space.

Geomview allows multiple independently controllable objects and cameras. It provides interactive control for motion, appearances (including lighting, shading, and materials), picking on an object, edge or vertex level, snapshots in SGI image file or Renderman RIB format, and adding or deleting objects is provided through direct mouse manipulation, control panels, and keyboard shortcuts.

Geomview supports the following simple data types: polyhedra with shared vertices (.off), quadrilaterals, rectangular meshes, vectors, and Bezier surface patches of arbitrary degree including rational patches. Object hierarchies can be constructed with lists of objects and instances of object(s) transformed by one or many 4x4 matrices. Arbitrary portions of changing hierarchies may be transmitted by creating named references.

Geomview can display 3-D graphics output from Mathematica and Maple.