web page downloaded may 15 1995 339w


"The song still remains which names the land over which it sings." Heidegger

Travelers on digital terrain experience it in different ways. One computes the cross-section of a linear path over the terrain, and use it as an audio waveform, spinning the line of the path about its center (like wearing a propeller beanie with a miles-long elevation-sensing prop). Another slows down when going uphill, and speeds up going downhill. Yet another, like a drunken sailor in a motorboat who passes out at the helm until hitting the opposite shore only to shove off and pass out again, sends out tendrils that search for the shore like retractable curb feelers, and uses the feeler lengths to control musical parameters.

Some examples of cross-sections as audio: * [IMAGE] Mt. Tamalpais, Marin County, California (98K) * [IMAGE] Berkeley, California (120K) * [IMAGE] The Grand Canyon, Arizona (126K)

The first "Terrain Broadcast" was performed live on KPFA-FM in Berkeley, CA on Barbara Golden's Crack O' Dawn in August of 1991. The first 1:21 of the CD mix is available as [IMAGE] 8-bit audio.

The Terrain Reader was performed at the Exploratorium on Mondays at 11:00 am, from June 20 through Sept. 5 [1994], as part of the Exploratorium's "Interactive Sound Studio."

Also fun is the current view from Bill's office window, overlooking the San Francisco Bay.

Read a paper about the project, from the ICMC '92 conference.

Read what Chief Seattle had to say about the land in 1854. (Actually written in the seventies....)

Here are some images generated from U. S. Geological Survey DEM data. The surface was modeling as metallic using Blinn's reflection model. Light source positions vary with each image.

* [IMAGE] San Francisco * [IMAGE] McCall, Idaho * [IMAGE] Crater Lake, Oregon * [IMAGE] The Grand Canyon

Pointers to the Web

* The Sun * Mars * Venus * All the planets * U. S. Geological Survey * National Wildlife Refuge System * Internet Environmental Resources * lots of cool pictures of terrain


Bill Thibault Scot Gresham-Lancaster