Mars renderings: Some technical details
Converting raw MOLA data
In order to store the topogaphy data, grayscale PNG is the format of choice because it has fairly well lossless compression. PNG supports 16bit grayscale images which can be used to store the 16bit of the topography. However, as POVRay up to version 3.5 had limited 16bit support, I decided to use two 8bit grayscale PNGs instead.
Converting the data is pretty straightforward because it is in a very simple format. I wrote a little program which reads in the 16 tiles (which must therefore be present as bzip2 compressed files) and combines them into PNGs. It works line-by-line and hence does not allocate tons of memory. It also has some graphical output which draws a scaled-down version of the data being processed (primarily for control reasons).
The source code of this program can be downloaded below here.
It has worked for me on my Linux box using
GCC (version 3.2) as compiler.
After compiling, try topocv64 --help.