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Geomview -- a 3D visualization program

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: Geomview -- a 3D visualization program
  • From: xinwei at (Sha Xin Wei)
  • Date: Tue, 7 Dec 93 19:59:08 -0800

Dear Colleague:

This note is to let you know that version 1.4.1 of Geomview is
available in our ftp directory on  This release contains
many bug fixes and several new features and external modules.  Another
addition is a comprehensive user's manual.  This release also contains
complete source code which will compile on Silicon Graphics IRIS
workstations NeXT workstations, and 486 PCs running NeXTStep 3.x.

We are sending this note to everyone who has ever sent mail to our
"software at" mail address.  Many of you have explicitly
requested to be notified when the source code and or the NeXTStep
version is ready for release; thank you for your patience!  A more
complete announcement of this release, which we will be posting to
various newsgroups, appears below.

If you use Geomview in your work we would very much like to hear about
what you are doing with it. Please send a note via email to
"register at" describing what you're doing.  We need this
information so that we can report it to our funding agency, the
National Science Foundation.  See the file REGISTER in the new
Geomview release for details.

If you haven't used Geomview, we invite you to try it!


Subject: Geomview 1.4.1: Free 3D viewer for SGI, NeXTStep

The staff of the Geometry Center announce the release of version 1.4.1
of Geomview, an interactive geometry viewing program.  This version of
Geomview runs on Silicon Graphics IRIS workstations, NeXT
workstations, and 486 PCs running NeXTStep 3.x.  The distribution
includes source code and compiled binaries for these architectures.

Geomview is available via anonymous ftp on the Internet from host (IP address  It's in the subdirectory
`pub/software/geomview'.  Get the file README in that directory for
details.  The main distribution files are:

  geomview-sgi.tar.Z:	Compiled binaries for SGI workstations.
  geomview-next.tar:	Compiled binaries for NeXTStep 3.x systems.
  geomview-src.tar.Z:	Source code.

We recommend that you get one of the compiled binary distributions
unless you specifically want to look at the source code.

This release contains many bug fixes and several new features and
external modules.  Another addition is a comprehensive user's manual.
We are working on a version of Geomview for generic X windows; it
should become available within the next few months.

Geomview has been developed in the research environment of the
Geometry Center where there is an emphasis on visualization of
mathematical concepts.  It can be used as a standalone viewer for
static objects or as a display engine for other programs which produce
dynamically changing geometry.  Geomview was described in the
``Computers and Mathematics'' column of the October 1993 issue of the
Notices of the American Mathematical Society.  A brief overview of its
capabilities is appended to the bottom of this message.

The Geometry Center is an NSF-funded research center based at the
University of Minnesota.  Its mission is to support, develop, and
promote the computation and visualization of geometric structures.
The Geometry Center's official name is the "National Science and
Technology Research Center for Computation and Visualization of
Geometry Structures".

We are very interested in getting feedback from people who use
Geomview, so please let us hear from you!  Send correspondence via
email to software at, or via regular mail to

Software Development Group
Geometry Center
1300 South 2nd Street, Suite 500
Minneapolis, MN  55454

Thank you!

The Geometry Center Software Development Group

Overview of Geomview

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 represents the current state of an ongoing 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 Mathematica graphics output.

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