Well, Maptek Vulcan 9 is finally here. This version was expected to be released in late 2013 but didn’t make it to market until January 30th. I don’t know what took so long in the development process but 77 new upgrades and bug fixes must have played a role in the delay.
One of the biggest upgrades to Vulcan 9 is the change to how the graphics engine is used. The new version of the software takes advantage of your computer’s graphics card to display 3D images on the screen. This means that really big triangulations and grids won’t slow down the machine as much. Previously, Vulcan had used the central processing unit (cpu) to render images on the screen. This made things slow and cumbersome especially if images were being rotated or magnified.
I think everyone has run into a situation where rotating a big topography triangulation has become so slow and choppy that they just gave up. Those days are (mostly) over. Vulcan 9 does a great job displaying very large triangulations. This biggest improvement to the software also comes with a warning. Part of the documentation for Vulcan 9 encourages the user to make sure that the graphics driver for their machine is up to date. Apparently, there have been issues with some graphics cards not playing well with the new graphics engine.
The upgrades to Vulcan graphics are all part of the change to the dynamic memory settings. I have always thought that Vulcan’s ‘dynamic memory settings’ naming convention was a bit of a misnomer. Sure you could change the amount of memory assigned to display images vs processing data, but once the software was running you couldn't change how memory was allocated. You had to restart Vulcan to modify the ‘dynamic memory settings.’ In Vulcan 9 that has all gone away. Memory is now managed ‘dynamically’ by the system. Maptek even left a hole in the splash screen where the option used to be so the user can take note of its absence.