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History of Geomview's Development

Geomview was originally written at the Geometry Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The Geometry Center was a research and education center funded by the National Science Foundation, with a mission to promote research and communication of mathematics. Much of the work there involved the use of computers to help visualize mathematical concepts.

The project that eventually led to Geomview began in the summer of 1988 with the work of Pat Hanrahan on a viewing program called MinneView. Shortly thereafter Charlie Gunn begin developing OOGL (Object Oriented Graphics Language) in conjunction with MinneView. Many people contributed to OOGL and MinneView, including Stuart Levy, Mark Meuer, Tamara Munzner, Steve Anderson, Mario Lopez, Todd Kaplan.

In 1991 the staff of the Geometry Center began work on a new improved version of OOGL, and a new and improved viewing program, which they called Geomview. At that time essentially the only game in town for interactive 3D graphics was Silicon Graphics (SGI), so Geomview was developed initially on SGI workstations, using IRIS GL. The first version was finished in January of 1992. It immediately became very popular among visitors to the Geometry Center, and through the Center's ftp archive (this was before the web) people at other institutions began using it too.

In addition to SGI workstations the Geometry Center had quite a few NeXT stations, so soon after Geomview was running on SGIs the staff developed a version for NeXTStep as well. By this time there were several thousand people using it around the world.

A few years later the staff ported Geomview to X windows and OpenGL, and eventually, with the demise of NeXT, the NeXT version fell by the wayside.

In its mission to foster communication among researchers and educators, the Geometry Center developed a web site,, in late 1993. It was one of the first 300 web sites in existence. A part of the web site was of course devoted to Geomview, and helped to spread the word about its existence.

The Geometry Center closed its "brick and mortar" facilities in August of 1998 (NSF cut its funding), but the web site continued to exist, and Geomview continued to be very popular around the world. In December of 1999 some of the former Geometry Center staff set up as a permanent home on the web for Geomview.

Geomview's original authors, as well as a number of other volunteers around the world, are still actively involved in using and developing Geomview.