Display Unit Sphere and 3D Points Using OpenGL

SPHERE_XYZ_DISPLAY_OPENGL, a C++ code which reads the name of a data file containing a list of 3D point coordinates, reads the data, and displays a unit sphere and the points using OPENGL.

It can be difficult to visualize a set of points that lie on the unit sphere. You can't see the curving surface, and you can see points that should not be visible, because they are on the other side of the sphere. By starting the display with a unit sphere, and then adding the 3D points you want to see, both of these problems are resolved. The addition of the sphere gives important visual cues as to how to "read" the data.

The program displays the data, and slowly rotates it. Clicking the mouse stops the rotation; another click starts it again, with rotation around a different axis.


sphere_xyz_display_opengl data.txt


The computer code and data files described and made available on this web page are distributed under the GNU LGPL license.


SPHERE_XYZ_DISPLAY_OPENGL is available in a C++ version.

Related Data and Programs:

FERN_OPENGL, a C++ program which uses OpenGL to display the Barnsley fractal fern.

opengl_test, C++ codes which illustrate the use of the OpenGL graphics library;

SCREENSHOT_OPENGL, a C++ program which shows how a program using the OpenGL graphics library can save a screenshot of the graphics being displayed.

SPHERE_XYZ_DISPLAY, a MATLAB program which reads XYZ information defining points in 3D, and displays a unit sphere and the points in the MATLAB graphics window.


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    Addison-Wesley, 2000,
    ISBN: 0-201-38597-X,
    LC: T385.A514.
  2. Renate Kempf, Chris Frazier, editors,
    OpenGL Reference Manual,
    Fourth Edition,
    Addison-Wesley, 2004,
    ISBN: 032117383X,
    LC: T385.O642
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    Addison-Wesley, 1997,
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    Third Edition,
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  5. http://www.opengl.org/
    The official OpenGL site.

Source Code:

Last revised on 17 April 2020.