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Visualizing Three Dimensional Space: VRML and Flash

Students in many engineering sciences must learn to visualize positions in three-dimensional spaces and understand how they "relate" to two-dimensional plane systems used on a daily basis.

VRML for Geodesy (for programming Satellite Orbits)

These animations are from a course in geodesy or methods of mapping positions on the sphere of the planet earth. Students must "unlearn" flat-plane coordinates and learn how positions are mapped in different three-dimensional coordinate systems.

Download demo files for your own course

VRML was chosen as a platform which allows students to see animations, but change viewpoints as often as needed. VRML files are also light (about 2-5K) and can be programmed by hand by an instructor knowledgable in HTML and three-dimensional coordinate systems.

Flash Animation (via Swift 3D)

These animations show how the measurements of a three-dimensional object are mapped into two-dimensional orthographic projections. The objects were mapped in Swift 3D and converted to Flash animations.

Download demo files for your own course

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©2007 Penn State. Contact Elizabeth Pyatt (ejp10@psu.edu) for more information.