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An IO-efficient parallel implementation of an R2 viewshed algorithm for large terrain maps on a CUDA GPU

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A rapid and flexible parallel approach for viewshed computation on large digital elevation models is presented. Our work is focused on the implementation of a derivate of the R2 viewshed algorithm. Emphasis has been placed on input/output (IO) efficiency that can be achieved by memory segmentation and coalesced memory access. An implementation of the parallel viewshed algorithm on the Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA), which exploits the high parallelism of the graphics processing unit, is presented. This version is referred to as r.cuda.visibility. The accuracy of our algorithm is compared to the r.los R3 algorithm (integrated into the open-source Geographic Resources Analysis Support System geographic information system environment) and other IO-efficient algorithms. Our results demonstrate that the proposed implementation of the R2 algorithm is faster and more IO efficient than previously presented IO-efficient algorithms, and that it achieves moderate calculation precision compared to the R3 algorithm. Thus, to the best of our knowledge, the algorithm presented here is the most efficient viewshed approach, in terms of computational speed, for large data sets.
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Keywords: CUDA; GPU; large terrain maps; line of sight; viewshed

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Access Networks Department, Telekom Slovenije d.d, ., Cigaletova 15, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia 2: Research and Development Department, Telekom Slovenije d.d, ., Cigaletova 15, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Publication date: November 2, 2014

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