The international community of planetary science and exploration has successfully launched numerous planetary orbiters and landed and operated about thirty human and robotic missions on the Moon and the planets. They have collected surface imagery that have hitherto only been partially utilized for further scientific application purposes. Very few attempts have been made so far to bring these data into a unified spatial context, or to exploit spatial relationships implicit in these images which was not immediate scope of the individual missions.
PRoViDE collected a major portion of the imaging data gathered so far from vehicles and probes on planetary surfaces into an unique database, brought them into a spatial context and provided access to a complete set of 3D vision products. The 3D vision processing is complemented by a front-end from a multi- resolution visualisation engine that combines various levels of detail to realize a seamless and immersive real-time access to dynamically rendered 3D representations of the captured scenes.
The major PRoViDE output are processed higher-level results (Digital Elevation Models & related ortho texture) from each of the covered celestial bodies in a coordinate system unique to the respective Planet or Moon, and additional textured point clouds on top of it from close-up vision data. These results are embedded in a visual & geometric context derived from orbit imagery, which can be visualised by a rendering tool that allows seamless zooming from the entire planet to the generated high-resolution 3D vision products right down to sub-mm level.
Further PRoViDE output includes a data catalogue of relevant source images stemming from the mentioned missions used for 3D reconstruction & panorama generation, including a set of relevant Lunar surface images brought into the framework of the NASA Planetary Data System. The technical and scientific outcome of the project are made available to the academic community by means of a sophisticated real-time hierarchical rendering tool, and to the public by a web-based rendering interface that presents the PRoViDE processing results making use of selected rendering functions adapted for use across the Internet.
A Summer School close to the end of the Project allowed students and members of the Computer Vision & Planetary Science communities to learn about the PRoViDE project, evaluate its results and, most importantly, gaining new insights into past, recent and contemporaneous robotic missions throughout the Solar System. The project came to its conclusion in December 2015.