Jared Stookey, Zhongyi Xie, Barbara Cutler, W. Randolph Franklin, Daniel M. Tracy, and Marcus V.A. Andrade. Parallel ODETLAP for terrain compression and reconstruction. In Walid G. Aref, editor, 16th ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems (ACM GIS 2008). 5–7 Nov 2008. URL: http://acmgis08.cs.umn.edu/.
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We introduce a parallel approximation of an Over-determined Laplacian Partial Differential Equation solver (ODETLAP) applied to the compression and restoration of terrain data used for Geographical Information Systems (GIS). ODETLAP can be used to reconstruct a compressed elevation map, or to generate a dense regular grid from airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) point cloud data. With previous methods, the time to execute ODETLAP does not scale well with the size of the input elevation map, resulting in running times that are prohibitively long for large data sets. Our algorithm divides the data set into patches, runs ODETLAP on each patch, and then merges the patches together. This method gives two distinct speed improvements. First, we provide scalability by reducing the complexity such that the execution time grows almost linearly with the size of the input, even when run on a single processor. Second, we are able to calculate ODETLAP on the patches concurrently in a parallel or distributed environment. Our new patchbased implementation takes 2 seconds to run ODETLAP on an 800 × 800 elevation map using 128 processors, while the original version of ODETLAP takes nearly 10 minutes on a single processor (271 times longer). We demonstrate the effectiveness of the new algorithm by running it on data sets as large as 16000 × 16000 on a cluster of computers. We also discuss our preliminary results from running on an IBM Blue Gene/L system with 32,768 processors.

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