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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 920985, 10 pages
Research Article

A Topological Framework for Interactive Queries on 3D Models in the Web

1Centro de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIMA), Portugal
2Instituto Superior de Engenharia, Universidade do Algarve, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
3Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade do Algarve, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal

Received 30 August 2013; Accepted 24 December 2013; Published 3 April 2014

Academic Editors: J. Li and C. Y. Tang

Copyright © 2014 Mauro Figueiredo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Several technologies exist to create 3D content for the web. With X3D, WebGL, and X3DOM, it is possible to visualize and interact with 3D models in a web browser. Frequently, three-dimensional objects are stored using the X3D file format for the web. However, there is no explicit topological information, which makes it difficult to design fast algorithms for applications that require adjacency and incidence data. This paper presents a new open source toolkit TopTri (Topological model for Triangle meshes) for Web3D servers that builds the topological model for triangular meshes of manifold or nonmanifold models. Web3D client applications using this toolkit make queries to the web server to get adjacent and incidence information of vertices, edges, and faces. This paper shows the application of the topological information to get minimal local points and iso-lines in a 3D mesh in a web browser. As an application, we present also the interactive identification of stalactites in a cave chamber in a 3D web browser. Several tests show that even for large triangular meshes with millions of triangles, the adjacency and incidence information is returned in real time making the presented toolkit appropriate for interactive Web3D applications.