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ProjCL: OpenCL-powered map projection, geodesic, and image-warping library

ProjCL is a C interface to OpenCL routines that perform various geographic computations, including map projection, geodesic (distance) calculations, datum conversion, and basic image warping (reprojection). For projection calculations it is often 4-10X faster than Proj.4 on the CPU, and 15-30X faster on a low-end GPU with large batches of coordinates. For datum shifts ProjCL is smarter than Proj.4 because it does some matrix math in advance, and generally faster because OpenCL can utilize all cores and the CPU's vector capabilities.

Most projection routines were originally adapted from Proj.4 code, with branches replaced with select() statements and various tweaks implemented along the way. The library was developed to support real-time map projections in Magic Maps.

All of the routines are single-precision. In theory, single-precision floats can represent positions on the Earth with about 1m of accuracy. In practice, the test suite guarantees 10 meters of accuracy in projected coordinates, and one arc-second of accuracy in geodetic coordinates (about 30 meters at the Equator). Most routines have been carefully written to avoid round-off error, and have at least twice the accuracy that these guarantees imply.

Double-precision should probably be implemented at some point, but it hasn't been a priority.

The API differs from Proj.4 in that projections are specified using compile-time constants, and parameters are specified using a dedicated data structure. Text-based C APIs like Proj.4's are prone to error in my experience.

A test suite covers the projection routines, but not the geodesic calculations, datum shifts, or image warping. The output is checked for self-consistency, as well as agreement with Proj.4. The code is tested to work on OS X as well as Linux; when making a pull request, please ensure all the tests pass with ./test/projcl_test -CPU.

ProjCL needs more map projections. In fact, the world needs more map projections. If you want to try your hand at one, check out "Adding a Map Projection" below.

Available projections:

  • Albers Equal Area
  • American Polyconic
  • Lambert Azimuthal Equal Area
  • Lambert Conformal Conic
  • Mercator
  • Robinson
  • Transverse Mercator
  • Winkel Tripel

Available datums and spheroids: see include/projcl/projcl_types.h

Available image filters: see include/projcl/projcl_warp.h


ProjCL requires CMake build system. To build the library do:

$ cmake CMakeLists.txt
$ make	


#include <projcl/projcl.h>

cl_int error = CL_SUCCESS;

PLContext *ctx = pl_context_init(CL_DEVICE_TYPE_CPU, &error);

PLCode *code = pl_compile_code(ctx, "/path/to/ProjCL/kernel", 
        | PL_MODULE_WARP 
        | PL_MODULE_FILTER);

error = pl_load_code(ctx, code);



Forward projection

/* get the input data from somewhere */
/* latitude-longitude pairs */
int count = ...;
float *lat_lon_data = ...;

/* load point data */
PLProjectionBuffer *proj_buffer = pl_load_projection_data(ctx, lat_lon_data, count, 1, &error);

/* allocate output buffer */
float *xy_data = malloc(2 * count * sizeof(float));

/* Set some params */
PLProjectionParams *params = pl_params_init();

/* project forwards */
error = pl_project_points_forward(ctx, PL_PROJECT_MERCATOR, params, proj_buffer, xy_data);

/* unload */

Inverse projection

/* get the input data from somewhere */
/* X-Y pairs */
int count = ...;
float *xy_data = ...;

PLProjectionBuffer *cartesian_buffer = pl_load_projection_data(ctx, xy_data, count, 1, &error);

float *lat_lon_data = malloc(2 * count * sizeof(float));

PLProjectionParams *params = pl_params_init();

error = pl_project_points_reverse(ctx, PL_PROJECT_MERCATOR, params, cartesian_buffer, lat_lon_data);


Datum shift

/* load lon-lat coordinates */
int count = ...;
float *xy_in = ...;
PLDatumShiftBuffer *buf = pl_load_datum_shift_data(ctx, PL_SPHEROID_WGS_84,
    xy_in, count, &error);

/* allocate space for result */
float *xy_out = malloc(2 * count * sizeof(float));

/* perform the shift */
error = pl_shift_datum(ctx, 
        PL_DATUM_NAD_83,  /* source */
        PL_DATUM_NAD_27,  /* destination */
        PL_SPHEROID_CLARKE_1866, /* destination spheroid */
        buf, xy_out);


Image warping

#include <projcl/projcl.h>
#include <projcl/projcl_warp.h>

void *src_image_data = ...;
void *dst_image_data = malloc(...);

PLProjectionParams *src_params = pl_params_init();
PLProjectionParams *dst_params = pl_params_init();
/* set projection parameters here... */

/* load the source image (raw pixel data) */
PLImageBuffer *image = pl_load_image(pl_ctx,
    CL_RGBA,            /* channel order */
    CL_UNSIGNED_INT8,   /* channel type */
    1024,               /* image width */
    1024,               /* image height */
    0,                  /* row pitch (0 to calculate automatically) */
    1,                  /* copy data? */

/* load a grid of destination points to back-project to the source */
PLPointGridBuffer *xy_grid = pl_load_grid(ctx,
    0.0,   /* X-origin */
    100.0, /* width in projected coordinate space */
    1024,  /* width in pixels */
    0.0,   /* Y-origin */
    100.0, /* height in projected coordinate space */
    1024,  /* height in pixels */

PLPointGridBuffer *geo_grid = pl_load_empty_grid(pl_ctx, 1024, 1024, &error);

/* project destination XY coordinates back to geo */
pl_project_grid_reverse(pl_ctx, PL_PROJECT_WINKEL_TRIPEL, dst_params, xy_grid, geo_grid);

/* project geo to source XY coordinates */
pl_project_grid_forward(pl_ctx, PL_PROJECT_MERCATOR, src_params, geo_grid, xy_grid);

/* now sample the points using your favorite filter */
pl_sample_image(pl_ctx, xy_grid, image, PL_IMAGE_FILTER_BICUBIC, dst_image_data);

See include/projcl/projcl_warp.h for a more complete discussion, including how to perform datum conversion on the point grid.

Forward geodesic: Fixed distance, multiple points, multiple angles (blast radii)

/* get the point data from somewhere */
float *xy_in = ...;
int xy_count = ...;

/* get the angle (azimuth) data from somewhere */
float *az_in = ...;
int az_count = ...;

/* load it up */
PLForwardGeodesicFixedDistanceBuffer *buf = pl_load_forward_geodesic_fixed_distance_data(ctx,
    xy_in, xy_count, az_in, az_count, &error);

/* allocate output buffer */
float *xy_out = malloc(2 * xy_count * az_count * sizeof(float));

/* compute */
error = pl_forward_geodesic_fixed_distance(ctx, buf, xy_out, PL_SPHEROID_SPHERE,
        1000.0 /* distance in meters */

/* unload */

Forward geodesic: Fixed angle, single point, multiple distances (great circle)

int count = ...;
float *dist_in = ...;

PLForwardGeodesicFixedAngleBuffer *buf = pl_load_forward_geodesic_fixed_angle_data(ctx,
    dist_in, count, &error);

float *xy_out = malloc(2 * count * sizeof(float));
float xy_in[2] = ...;

error = pl_forward_geodesic_fixed_angle(ctx, buf, xy_in, xy_out, PL_SPHEROID_SPHERE, 
        M_PI_2 /* angle in radians */


Inverse geodesic: Many-to-many (distance table)

int count1 = ...;
float *xy1_in = ...;

int count2 = ...;
float *xy2_in = ...;

float *dist_out = malloc(count1 * count2 * sizeof(float));

PLInverseGeodesicBuffer *buf = pl_load_inverse_geodesic_data(ctx, 
        xy1_in, count1, 1, xy2_in, count2, &error);

error = pl_inverse_geodesic(ctx, buf, dist_out, PL_SPHEROID_SPHERE, 
        1.0 /* scale */);


Adding a Map Projection

It's relatively straightforward to add a map projection to ProjCL. You just need to...

  1. Create a file kernel/pl_project_<name>.opencl in kernel/ with the projection routines

  2. Create a pl_enqueue_kernel_<name> function in src/projcl_run.c

  3. Add an entry to the PLProjection enum in include/projcl/projcl_types.h

  4. Add an entry to the _pl_projection_info array in src/projcl_run.c

  5. Add tests to test/projcl_test.c

Some tips on writing OpenCL routines:

  • Use float16 arrays of 8 points for input and output
  • Use any and all for break conditions
  • Use select or the ternary operator for conditional assignments
  • Use sincos if you need the sine and cosine of the same angle
  • Double-angle and half-angle formulas are your friend
  • log(tan(M_PI_4 + 0.5*x)) == asinh(tan(x))
  • 2*atan(exp(x)) - M_PI_2 == asin(tanh(x))


GPU and vector-enabled map projections, geodesic calculations, and image warping 🌎🌍🌏








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