Also Known As: Ballistic Research Laboratory CAD Package

Type See article
Colors NA
Compression NA
Maximum Image Size NA
Multiple Images Per File NA
Numerical Format See article
Originator U.S. Army Advanced Communication Systems
Platform UNIX
Supporting Applications BRL-CAD
See Also None

Solid modeling, network-distributed image processing.

A massive, polymorphic system consisting of several standards.

Vendor specifications are available for this format.

BRL-CAD (Ballistic Research Laboratory CAD) is a solid-modeling system that originated at the Advanced Computing Systems Group of the U.S. Army Ballistic Research Laboratory. It was originally designed to provide an interactive editor for use in conjunction with a vehicle-description database. In the U.S. Army, "vehicle" often means "tank," and the documention contains many interesting and high-quality renderings of tank-like objects.

For Further Information

BRL-CAD is massive, consisting of more than 100 programs, and includes about 280,000 lines of C source code. It is extraordinarily well-documented and has been distributed to at least 800 sites worldwide.

Conceptually, BRL-CAD implements several subsystems:

Data in the current release of BRL-CAD can be in several forms:

For Further Information

The BRL-CAD documentation is extensive and well-written, and we found it a pleasure to work with. Unfortunately, it is too extensive to be included on the CD, so we have elected to include only a summary description there. The full documentation is readily available in The Ballistic Research Laboratory CAD Package, Release 4.0, December 1991, albeit in paper form. Our copy came in a box weighing about ten pounds! It consists of five volumes:

Volume I The BRL-CAD Philosophy
Volume II The BRL-CAD User's Manual
Volume III The BRL-CAD Applications Manual
Volume IV The MGED User's Manual
Volume V The BRL-CAD Analyst's Manual

This is an extraordinary document set, and not only in contrast to the rest of the documention we've run across in the research for this book. It's just a great job. If the application is one-tenth as well-crafted as the documentation, it must be a marvel.

For general information about BRL-CAD, contact:

Attn: Mike Muuss
BRL-CAD Architect
U.S. Army Research Laboratory
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005-5068

BRL-CAD is distributed in two forms:

  1. Free distribution with no ongoing support. You must complete and return an agreement form; in return, you will be given instructions on how to obtain and decrypt the files via FTP. Files are archived at a number of sites worldwide. One copy of the printed documentation will be sent at no cost.

    For further information about this distribution, contact:

    BRL-CAD Distribution
    Attn: SCLBR-LV-V
    Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005-5066
    FAX: 410-278-5058

  2. Full-service distribution with support. Items provided are similar to those mentioned in the free distribution described above, except that it costs U.S. $500 and may include the software on magnetic tape.

    For further information about this distribution, contact:

    BRL-CAD Distribution
    Attn: Mrs. Carla Moyer
    SURVIAC Aberdeen Satellite Office
    1003 Old Philadelphia Road, Suite 103
    Aberdeen, MD 21001
    Voice: 410-273-7794
    FAX: 410-272-6763

For more information on BRL-CAD, see the following:

BRL-CAD homepage

BRL-CAD technical reports

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