**Short version:** I'm trying to compute the orientation of a triangle on a plane, formed by the intersection of 3 edges, without explicitly computing the intersection points.

**Long version:** I need to triangulate a PSLG on a triangle in 3D. The vertices of the PSLG are defined by the intersections of line segments with the plane through the triangle, and are guaranteed to lie within the triangle. Assuming I had the intersection points, I could project to 2D and use a point-line-side (or triangle signed area) test to determine the orientation of a triangle between any 3 intersection points.

The problem is I can't explicitly compute the intersection points because of the floating-point error that accumulates when I find the line-plane intersection. To figure out if the line segments strike the triangle in the first place, I'm using some freely available robust geometric predicates, which give the sign of the volume of a tetrahedron, or equivalently which side of a plane a point lies on. I can determine if the line segment endpoints are on opposite sides of the plane through the triangle, then form tetrahedra between the line segment and each edge of the triangle to determine whether the intersection point lies within the triangle.

Since I can't explicitly compute the intersection points, I'm wondering if there is a way to express the same 2D orient calculation in 3D using only the original points. If there are 3 edges striking the triangle that gives me 9 points in total to play with. Assuming what I'm asking is even possible (using only the 3D orient tests), then I'm guessing that I'll need to form some subset of all the possible tetrahedra between those 9 points. I'm having difficultly even visualizing this, let alone distilling it into a formula or code. I can't even google this because I don't know what the industry standard terminology might be for this type of problem.

One thing that occurs to me: Perhaps if I could fit non-overlapping tetrahedra between the 3 line segments, then the orientation of any one of those that crossed the plane would be the answer I'm looking for. Other than when the edges enclose a simple triangular prism, I'm not sure if this sub-problem is solvable either.

Any ideas how to proceed with this? Thanks.

thatmuch, so it may be better to just compute that exactly and swallow the cost. – Joseph O'Rourke Jul 12 '10 at 17:16