Rendering coast line data

Hey all

Does anyone have any thoughts on rendering land in 3d using coast line data? It would be awesome if it were possible to have continent/island polygons that could just be loaded up and drawn. One of the ways this could be done is to load up coast line data, and triangulate it. The results could then be saved and rendered whenever required. I saw one interesting example in particular that I was trying to replicate, but couldn’t find the data source for:

I tried downloading the shoreline_300 data and it looks pretty good (maybe even too detailed for this) but I have no idea if the data is ‘clean’ – ie, no self intersections/touching polygons (this is a requirement for most freeware triangulation libs out there). If it isn’t clean and/or its too detailed, there are tools that can help… looks good (though I don’t have a computer that can run it !). There’s also which looks pretty decent, but after taking a closer look at some of the data, you can clearly see there are ‘errors’/self intersecting polygons that require cleanup.

So yeah, I’ve just begun exploring this idea today, but it definitely seems possible, especially after watching the video I linked. Has anyone already done something like this?