The economic production and the interactive rendering of complete reconstructions of populated urban environments are technically difficult tasks. Specialized modelling tools, which exploit knowledge of the types of object being modelled by working in the application domain, can be used to create appealing virtual reconstructions quickly. At the same time, the structural information from the modeller gives valuable hints to the renderer to determine efficient interactive display strategies through the use of level-of-detail and culling techniques. Thus a modeller that knows the operator is creating houses can use this information to simplify the user interaction, guide the operator, and to create models that build in optimizations when attempting real-time rendering. In this paper we discuss the way in which polygonal and multi-resolution surface techniques can complement one another in the modelling of urban environments. We also draw more general conclusions which apply to other software systems that share the same objective.
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