Focus on the Vine: producing focused web solutins that bear real fruit
eNews Archive

eNewsletter May 2010

IGARSS Conference Keynote is Aneesh Chopra, CTO of the Obama Administration

We are closing in rapidly on the July IGARSS conference and the Community Remote Sensing (CRS)-focused plenary promises to be quite exciting. The keynote will be given by two leaders of the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP): Aneesh Chopra, President Obama’s Chief Technology Officer, and Shere Abbott, Associate Director for Environment. They are quite interested in the CRS theme and the potential for the community to build a broader program around the theme. This will be followed by a panel session with representatives from major space agencies reflecting on the impact of CRS to their activities.

The CRS Collaboration has a number of new projects posted on the IGARSS 2010 website at www.igarss2010.org/CommunityRemoteSensing.asp and several interesting perspectives on issues such as legal aspects of CRS. See http://www.igarss2010.org.

USGIF Hosts “GEOINT Community Week”

DARPA new programs include Urban Reasoning and Geospatial Exploitation Technology (URGENT) and Geometric Representation Integrated Dataspace (GRID). The URGENT program will allow for better analysis of locations, shapes, and classifications of objects in war zone urban settings, while the GRID program is a compressive representation format for high-resolution 3D data of all sensor modalities.

The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) recently held its mid-year version of the GEOINT Symposium with its GEOINT Community Week. Held May 17-21 in the Washington D.C. area, the event, in its 6th year, included the USGIF Golf Invitational, the Army Geospatial Imagery Conference (AGIC), USGIF Technology Day, learning workshops, as well as a networking reception. Imaging Notes was a Media Sponsor of the event.

As with tradition, the event created a forum for both government and industry to exhibit and discuss the latest geospatial intelligence technologies and capabilities, as well as provided an opportunity for the GEOINT community to gather in one location. The increase in motion imagery, ways to improve imagery analysis, as well the need to enhance integration and collaboration were key themes from the event.

The USGIF Technology Day Emerging Technologies Showcase highlighted sensors, technologies and products to help support warfighters and policy makers. It featured presentations from Paul Rutherford, Chief Technology Officer, Isilon Systems; Mark Reichardt, President and CEO, Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC); Dr. Todd C. Hughes, Program Manager, Adaptive Execution Office, DARPA; and Steve Swazee, Geospatial Information and Technology Alliance (GITA).

Key take-aways from these presentations were that both standards and interoperability need to be more effective, especially in the areas of new fusion and decision support, per the OGC’s Reichardt. In addition, DARPA is taking steps to enhance the processing, exploitation and dissemination of GEOINT data through two new efforts: Urban Reasoning and Geospatial Exploitation Technology (URGENT) and Geometric Representation Integrated Dataspace (GRID). The URGENT program will allow for better analysis of locations, shapes, and classifications of objects in war zone urban settings, while the GRID program is a compressive representation format for high-resolution 3D data of all sensor modalities.

The final day of GEOINT Community Week was a day-long workshop, which highlighted how motion imagery is rapidly changing the way the defense and intelligence communities operate tactically and strategically. Workshop speakers included Maj. Gen. James O. Poss, U.S. Air Force, Director, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Strategy, Integration and Doctrine, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Headquarters U.S. Air Force; and CW5 Thomas R. Dostie, U.S. Army, Chief, GEOINT and Commanding General Advisor, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence.

USGIF also has just announced that GeoInt is moving from Nashville to New Orleans this year, Nov. 1-3, due to the recent flooding in Nashville. Change your flights!

Infoterra Launches TerraSAR-X ELEVATION Product Suit

Infoterra GmbH, the wholly-owned subsidiary of EADS Astrium that holds the exclusive commercial exploitation rights for the high-resolution radar satellite TerraSAR-X, has released the TerraSAR-X ELEVATION DSM (digital surface model), the first element of its TerraSAR-X ELEVATION product suite. Featuring a 10-meter grid spacing and an absolute height accuracy of up to 5 meters, the new DSM is now operationally available worldwide for areas as small as only 500 square kilometers and up to full regional coverage. The weather-independence of radar makes this product complementary to the Spot Infoterra portfolio of elevation data sets, such as Reference 3D, based on SPOT HRS optical data.

Infoterra allows users to adapt the scope of delivery to their individual requirements, by providing a set of auxiliary layers and the corresponding orthorectified image as optional additions to its DSM. The extracted height information is very reliable because the propagation of the radar beam can be measured very precisely and the position of the satellite is known with high accuracy. TerraSAR-X StripMap stereo pairs, acquired in both ascending and descending orbit directions, are processed automatically, applying radargrammetry techniques. With algorithms specifically developed for this purpose, outliers, artefacts and gaps are identified and corrected. Water body features derived from corresponding TerraSAR-X image data are included and a subsequent manual editing of shorelines guarantees hydrological consistency. This novel approach enables full data acquisition and production for the minimum order unit of 500 square kilometers to be carried out within about one month. See www.infoterra.de.

Intermap Launches New OGC-Compliant Web Services Portal

In response to demand from customers for an Internet-hosted solution compatible with their existing application environments and their data access requirements, Intermap Technologies, a 3D digital mapping and geospatial solutions company, has launched TerrainOnDemand. This new Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)-compliant Web services portal supports the acquisition and delivery of the company’s NEXTMap database and new online geospatial services, leveraging 1-meter vertically accurate digital elevation models and geometric images.

Intermap designed the new portal to encourage seamless access and use of geospatial data online, while integrating the resulting information into user-specific geospatial application environments. Supported clients include GIS desktop software, Web browsers, and Web services-enabled custom software. Additionally, the company has introduced new financial models that give customers more flexible ways to aquire geospatial information.

Most Web services focus on Web Map Service (WMS) functionality that displays geo-registered map images that can be displayed in a browser application. Instead, TerrainOnDemand offers full Web Coverage Service (WCS) functionality that allows users to access native raster content, such as digital elevation data, satellite images, digital aerial photos, and other phenomena represented by values at each measurement point.

TerrainOnDemand increases the value of Intermap’s NEXTMap cross-border elevation data by:

  • minimizing in-house infrastructure and data management investment costs;
  • providing non-GIS clients automatic access and analysis to the most current 3D digital map data;
  • increasing the number of data sharing opportunities across organizations;
  • eliminating wasted GIS processing time and custom analysis development; and
  • further reducing upfront and lifecycle costs via subscription or as-utilized payment options.

The Company’s countrywide NEXTMap datasets include digital surface models that include cultural features (such as vegetation, buildings, and roads), digital terrain models that display the bare earth (with all cultural features digitally removed), and orthorectified radar images corrected to remove normal geometric distortions (grayscale images that accentuate topographic features).

The portal also provides custom-developed analytical and querying tools for Intermap’s microwave link planning and flood risk assessment applications. The company is developing other application-specific tools. See www.Intermap.com, www.TerrainOnDemand.com.

ESRI Provides Around-the-Clock Support for Oil Spill Disaster

ESRI is assisting in efforts to deal with the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico by providing several support activities. Working closely with dozens of agencies and the geographic information system (GIS) community, the company’s disaster response team is supplying software, technical support, GIS data, and personnel to users in local, state, and federal government agencies as well as the private sector.

ESRI is also providing support and services through its disaster response Web site. Resources available include continuously updated maps, data, and applications, as well as links to incident sites and related Web pages. As part of the site, ESRI launched an interactive map application that allows users to add points with links to online photos, Web sites, and YouTube videos. Visitors can add current information to the map.

In addition, ESRI deployed an ArcGIS Online group that includes maps, data, Web services, and applications related to the oil spill. The content is being published by ESRI and other organizations to support response and mitigation requirements. The group currently features

  • ESRI Web mapping applications that combine ESRI maps with other types of information;
  • links to ArcGIS services directories with relevant data; and
  • links to downloadable data, maps, and layer packages.

Some of the ArcGIS content and services include an oil spill plume trajectory, an environmental sensitivity index map, and electronic navigation charts.

First responders, government officials, environmental experts, and others use GIS to monitor oil spill flow and identify potential impacts to natural resources. GIS analysis and data help response agencies collaborate by increasing their situational awareness to support command and control. As the event unfolds, agencies will be able to make better decisions to manage its repercussions. URLs: Link 1 to Oil Spill Map. Link 2 to Oil Spill Map.

ERDAS APOLLO Adds Support for Microsoft SQL Server and for Additional CAD and GIS Formats and Tools

ERDAS APOLLO 2010, Version 10.1 now supports Microsoft SQL Server in ERDAS APOLLO Essentials-SDI, ERDAS APOLLO Advantage, and ERDAS APOLLO Professional.

ERDAS has more than 30 years of imagery expertise on both the desktop and server environments and ERDAS APOLLO is its solution for managing and delivering imagery. On top of handling extensive volumes of dynamic and static images, it also delivers feature data, terrain, and virtually any digital object. With ERDAS APOLLO, organizations can understand, manage, and serve large volumes of geospatial data and implement an out-of-the box Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).

Microsoft SQL Server provides an intelligent data platform for running mission-critical applications, reducing time, cost of development and management of applications. Microsoft SQL Server enables users to store data from structured, semi-structured, and unstructured documents and images, delivering a set of integrated services.

ERDAS APOLLO already supports the Oracle database and PostgreSQL for persisting intelligent metadata and application-specific information. In Version 10.1, the same catalog functionalities are now supported for Microsoft SQL Server, including cataloging of rich geospatial metadata.

ERDAS APOLLO implements OGC Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) standards, meeting cataloging (CS-W) and dissemination (WFS, WCS, WMS, WMC) requirements. Now, users can also set up WFS and WFS-T services over the Microsoft SQL Server for access to vector data and editing of spatial geometries and attributes.

ERDAS has also released ERDAS APOLLO Feature Interoperability, a new product extending ERDAS APOLLO's native vector support by adding support for additional CAD and GIS formats and tools. In late 2009, the company released IMAGINE Feature Interoperability, which added similar support to ERDAS IMAGINE users.

ERDAS APOLLO Feature Interoperability provides access to GIS data formats, including a DGN Connector to ERDAS APOLLO that enables direct access to MicroStation's DGN v7 and v8 format files via Web services. See www.erdas.com.

Geosys Now RapidEye's Sole Distributor in France

RapidEye, a geospatial solutions provider that owns and operates a constellation of five identical Earth Observation satellites, has signed a distributor agreement with Geosys, S.A. to be its sole distributor of satellite imagery in France. Geosys — a private company, with offices in Europe (Toulouse, France) and in North America (Minneapolis, Minnesota) — helps professionals in agriculture and renewable resources to make better economic, environment and agronomic decisions with Remote Sensing, Agronomy and Geographic Information Systems in more than 50 countries.

Currently, RapidEye is working on completing its worldwide network of distributors in order to facilitate easy access to RapidEye products in its customers' own language and region. For a full list of RapidEye's distributors, visit www.rapideye.de/distributors. URLs: www.rapideye.de, www.geosys.com.

Pictometry Signs Technology Agreement with Chinese Remote Sensing Provider

Pictometry International Corp., a provider of aerial oblique imagery and measuring software, signed an international technology license agreement with Chinese remote sensing provider, Peace Map Corporation, to license its metric aerial imagery technology and business model. This agreement was formalized in a signing ceremony in China on April 9 before a gathering of more than 250 Peace Map customers representing government agencies and geospatial enterprises across China.

The new agreement expands Pictometry's international coverage in the Chinese market and makes Peace Map one of Pictometry's nine international technology licensees. Other regions of the world currently covered under similar licensing agreements with Pictometry include Europe, the Americas, Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

"With this agreement it is now possible for Pictometry's metric oblique imagery, enterprise and web-based software, and derivative data products including Real 3D to be created for China," said Robert Carroll, president, Pictometry International's International Division.

Pictometry will provide its proprietary metric aerial image capture and processing technology and Peace Map will utilize the technology to create and market Pictometry imagery within China. Peace Map Corporation is a professional provider of multiple source remote sensing data products and geospatial information services and is a leading aerial imagery provider in China. Peace Map uses advanced aerial photographic data processing techniques and specializes in imagery acquisition, data processing, data services, and applications. See www.pictometry.com.

Join Imaging Notes on Social Media Platforms…

... and look for yourself on the Facebook group photos page. Imaging Notes has just launched groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, the latter of which includes some great photos! Follow us on Twitter also at www.twitter.com/imagingnotes.

Index of eNewsletters
DGI 2014 | 21-23 January 2014, London | Strategies for data, geoint, and cyber security in defence & intelligence | Find out more