GIS analysis functionality is moving more and more into the Web. With WebGL technology one can now also exploit the highly parallel computing power of modern graphic cards (GPU) within an ordinary Web-browser supporting WebGL such as Firefox or Chrome.
http://webgl.uni-hd.de/ shows an interactive real-time hillshade calculation of a DEM raster directly in the Browser. Using a dedicated shader developed in WebGL the application computes the value of each pixel in parallel on the graphics card (GPU) intead of classical serial computation on the main processor (CPU). You can also watch the DEM used for the calculation, as well as SLOPE and ASPECT calculations which are a byproduct of the HILLSHADE algorithm.
The 16-bits version is encoded in two 8-bit color channels, so the results are much more finegrained. You can switch between 8 and 16 bit calculation and see the differences at each calculation step.
This demo has been developed by Michael Auer by the GIScience Research Group (Prof. A. Zipf) at the University of Heidelberg and highlights the potential of WebGL using the graphic card's power for GIS analysis on the Web. An earlier example demonstrated the real-time streaming and visualization of massive 3D point clouds (e.g. LIDAR) on the web through WebGL technology. Further information at: http://webgl.uni-hd.de/