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Posted 20 Dec 2006


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A Lightweight Real-time OpenGL Graph Component

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4.33/5 (10 votes)
20 Dec 2006LGPL31 min read
An article on integrating an OpenGL-based graph component that provides real-time updates.

Image 1


I had this need to show some statistics through a graph in real-time, in a demo application which I wrote. The screenshot should illustrate clearly the idea behind this graph component. It will be useful for programmers who would like to track data in real-time, such as in data acquisition and analysis. I did not have time to develop something really elaborate, like different graph types, presentation options, and filters, but it should be very easy to add-on these functionalities from the code.

Using the code

Some of the features of this graph component are:

  • A user-defined cache (list) for storing the graph data
  • When data "overflows" the cache, the graph automatically discards the oldest data to create space for the latest data
  • Moving average is calculated on-the-fly

It is very easy to include this code into any OpenGL-based application. The programmer only needs to make sure he/she has the rendering context.

OGLGraph* myGraph;

void init ( GLvoid )     // Create Some Everyday Functions
    glClearColor(0.0f, 0.0f, 0.0f, 0.f);
    myGraph = OGLGraph::Instance();
    myGraph->setup( 500 /*width*/, 100 /*height*/, 
                    10 /*offsetX*/, 10 /*offsetY*/, 
                    2 /*scaleX*/, 2 /*scaleY*/, 
                    1 /*channels*/, 200 /*cache size*/ );

void display ( void )   // Create The Display Function
    // ... 

    // This is a dummy function. Replace with custom input/data
    float time = glutGet(GLUT_ELAPSED_TIME) / 1000.0;
    float value;
    value = 5*sin( 5*time ) + 10.f;

    myGraph->update( value );

Source code builds nicely in MS VS.NET 2003.

Points of Interest

You can include any filters like noise reduction, low-pass, or high-pass in the update() code, or even pass post-processed data into this function if you can do that with an external software (e.g., using Matlab).


  • First release.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPLv3)


About the Author

Singapore Singapore
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Comments and Discussions

QuestionMultiple graphs on the same display Pin
V6127-Dec-15 23:44
MemberV6127-Dec-15 23:44 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
dsn8713-Aug-12 5:44
Memberdsn8713-Aug-12 5:44 
Generalmemory error while data input Pin
adityap28623-Sep-10 17:10
Memberadityap28623-Sep-10 17:10 
GeneralRe: memory error while data input Pin
Gabriyel23-Sep-10 20:05
MemberGabriyel23-Sep-10 20:05 
GeneralRe: memory error while data input Pin
adityap2863-Oct-10 17:57
Memberadityap2863-Oct-10 17:57 
GeneralNeed help in Real-Time OpenGL Graph Pin
Kwan Toh Choong6-May-09 4:39
MemberKwan Toh Choong6-May-09 4:39 
GeneralRe: Need help in Real-Time OpenGL Graph Pin
Gabriyel6-May-09 5:06
MemberGabriyel6-May-09 5:06 
GeneralFilemapping technic Pin
newspicy27-May-08 11:32
Membernewspicy27-May-08 11:32 
QuestionHow to add in MFC dialog Pin
m0fauzi22-May-07 18:32
Memberm0fauzi22-May-07 18:32 

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