Plenoptic functions are functions that preserve all the necessary light field information of optical events. Theoretical work has demonstrated that geometric based plenoptic functions can serve equally well in the traditional wave propagation equation known as the “scalar stochastic Helmholtz equation”. However, in addressing problems of 3D turbulence simulation, the dominant methods using phase screen models have limitations both in explaining the choice of parameters (on the transverse plane) in real-world measurements, and finding proper correlations between neighboring phase screens (the Markov assumption breaks down). Though possible corrections to phase screen models are still promising, the equivalent geometric approach based on plenoptic functions begins to show some advantages. In fact, in these geometric approaches, a continuous wave problem is reduced to discrete trajectories of rays. This allows for convenience in parallel computing and guarantees conservation of energy. Besides the pairwise independence of simulated rays, the assigned refractive index grids can be directly tested by temperature measurements with tiny thermoprobes combined with other parameters such as humidity level and wind speed. Furthermore, without loss of generality one can break the causal chain in phase screen models by defining regional refractive centers to allow rays that are less affected to propagate through directly. As a result, our work shows that the 3D geometric approach serves as an efficient and accurate method in assessing relevant turbulence problems with inputs of several environmental measurements and reasonable guesses (such as Cn 2 levels). This approach will facilitate analysis and possible corrections in lateral wave propagation problems, such as image de-blurring, prediction of laser propagation over long ranges, and improvement of free space optic communication systems. In this paper, the plenoptic function model and relevant parallel algorithm computing will be presented, and its primary results and applications are demonstrated.