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Autonomous Systems and Robotics Groups Release Desktop Exploration of Remote Terrain (DERT) Software
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Autonomous Systems and Robotics Groups Release Desktop Exploration of Remote Terrain (DERT) Software

The Planning and Scheduling and Deployable Automation Technologies Groups released the Desktop Exploration of Remote Terrain (DERT) software tool, version 1.0, on Github. DERT will be used to explore NASA Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) in 3D. It aids in understanding topography and spatial relationships of terrain features, and also performs simple analysis tasks needed by the planetary science community.

BACKGROUND: A DTM consists of a height map or Digital Elevation Model (DEM) draped with one or more co-registered ortho-images or layers. NASA missions have produced numerous DTMs for locations on Earth, Mars, and the Moon using terrain reconstruction techniques with data from orbiters and other remote sensors. When explored in 3D, these data sets can provide a unique perspective of the subject terrain and take advantage of computational features not available in a 2D setting. However, typically large and complex, DTMs are somewhat underutilized due to the lack of dedicated software and documentation. The goal of DERT is to provide a freely available software tool for exploring NASA DTMs in 3D on the desktop. To this end, DERT provides interactive 3D visualization and navigation capabilities, simulates realistic time-of-day lighting and shadows, renders multiple co-registered image layers, and provides several measurement tools.

DERT is the result of software development for several planetary missions. It leverages techniques implemented for science planning support applications for the Phoenix Mars Lander (PML), Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), and the Lunar Atmosphere Dust and Environment Explorer (LADEE). DERT is free and open source.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) project

TEAM: Laurence Edwards (Project Manager), Leslie Keely (developer), Mike Malin (science collaborator), and Ross Beyer (science collaborator)


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