Enhanced Ft. Benning, McKenna Urban Training Site
The McKenna urban operations training center at Ft. Benning uses an enhanced version of the MetaVR™-developed 3D virtual replica of their facility for live training of soldiers. The McKenna site features an urban village that was built by Army engineers, which belongs to Ft. Benning’s Soldier Battlelab. This site is primarily used for live, virtual and constructive experimentation on soldier systems, weapons and equipment.
The visual realism of MetaVR's 3D virtual replica of the urban warfare training area was enhanced by using GIS survey data for feature placement and digital photographs of the site to aid in geo-locating geotypical vegetation.
Overview of the database
As part of the visual fidelity enhancements to the database, the locations of buildings and roads within the database have been refined using survey data taken at the site. Survey points were brought into the VRSG environment via a cultural feature data file and were used as guides to adjust placement of cultural elements. The resulting terrain database represents the true real-world coordinates of these elements to within a 0.1 meter tolerance. This degree of correlation is vital for enabling visualization of real-time feeds of positional data by instrumented soldiers carrying out exercises in the urban warfare training site.
Using .5 meter resolution imagery with 30-meter elevation data of the Ft. Benning area, MetaVR's full database extends the legacy geotypical virtual McKenna site to a 30 x 40 km terrain database, using MetaVR's terrain generation tools.
Geospecific aerial photography imagery was used to replace the geotypical textures used on the original McKenna terrain. A key component of realistic urban warfare infantry training is traversing the avenues of approach to the town. The geographic extents of the MetaVR database and the extensive tree lines around the McKenna site provide an environment for training soldiers how to approach urban centers undetected.
The buildings and trees were geo-located on the terrain to match the imagery. Buildings were placed visually by displaying survey data from the McKenna site as survey sphere objects in the database using the MetaVR 3D Layering Control Plugin for ArcMap. The survey data taken from the site and provided by Ft. Benning was put into cultural feature (clt) files with survey points mapped to survey sphere models as shown in the example below. The two co-located survey spheres are 1m and 2m radius.
MetaVR improved the original OpenFlight building models by enhancing their interior geometry and applying new photospecific and photorealistic textures to the surfaces based on photographs of the buildings at the McKenna site. For example, the model of Building H, shown below on the right contains some photospecific textures of the actual building shown on the left.
The building models have radiosity (soft shadows) applied to the geometry to increase their realism. Improvements also include the addition of other cultural features to the database, such as streetlight poles with electrical cables, and geo-located geotypical trees.
Specifications for the extended Ft. Benning, McKenna terrain database:
Actual and simulated views of the McKenna MOUT site
In the following set of images, you can compare photographs of the actual McKenna site on the left with VRSG screen captures on the right of MetaVR’s virtual McKenna site within the Ft. Benning database.
The MetaVR Ft. Benning terrain database is available upon request free of charge to MetaVR customers who are on active software maintenance and are US Government or NATO agencies or contractors (for official use only). The terrain database requires VRSG version 5.7 or higher.