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eNewsletter March 2011

DigitalGlobe Names Jeffrey R. Tarr New President and CEO

DigitalGlobe, a leading global content provider of high-resolution earth imagery solutions, has appointed Jeffrey R. Tarr as its new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective April 5, 2011. Tarr succeeds Jill Smith, who, in September 2010, announced her intention to leave the company and was both the company’s CEO and Chairman. DigitalGlobe also named current DigitalGlobe Board Member General Howell M. Estes III as its new non-executive Chairman.

Tarr comes to DigitalGlobe as a recognized leader in driving profitable growth at several of the world’s top information companies. Most recently he was President and Chief Operating Officer at IHS Inc. During his tenure, IHS revenue grew to more than $1 billion. Tarr joined IHS from Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) and previously was Chairman and CEO of Hoover’s, another publicly traded information company. Tarr also serves as a director at The Corporate Executive Board Company. He began his career at Bain & Company.

“DigitalGlobe is transforming the imagery-based information services market,” said Gen. Estes, who led the CEO search. “Jeff is the most qualified person to lead DigitalGlobe as it continues to expand its ability to deliver timely, accurate and essential information to government and commercial customers around the world.”

Gen. Estes, who assumes the role of Chairman of the Board on April 5, 2011, consults with aerospace companies around the world. He has served as an independent member of the DigitalGlobe Board of Directors since 2007. Gen. Estes has also been instrumental in advancing U.S. leadership in the aerospace industry for several decades, serving in the U.S. Air Force for more than 30 years and ultimately rising to the position of Commander in Chief of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the U.S. Space Command, as well as Commander of the U.S. Air Force Space Command. He retired from the Air Force in 1998.

For more information on Tarr and Gen. Estes, please visit www.digitalglobe.com. The Board was assisted in the search by Howard Fischer Associates, International.

Report on the 2011 International LiDAR Mapping Forum

By Matteo Luccio

The twelfth annual International LiDAR Mapping Forum (ILMF) — held this year in New Orleans, February 7-9 — featured 31 paper presentations and 13 workshops, on a wide range of topics that met the needs of both new adopters and industry veterans. It covered both technical developments and the use of LiDAR in the airborne, land, and bathymetric sectors. The conference chairman, Alastair MacDonald, commented “There was a definite air of optimism from all the delegates on the improving global work prospects for LiDAR. This just goes to show how important LiDAR is becoming in all areas of mapping as the most cost-effective way of acquiring high quality data to quickly produce really accurate maps. The changes in LiDAR technology are also allowing more and more users from across the community to access this data and make their jobs easier.”

At a hot topics session hosted by the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) prior to the official start of the conference, Tim Blak, Project Manager of Geodesy and Remote Sensing for Dewberry, traced the evolution of LiDAR standards, up to FEMA’s Procedure Memorandum 61, released last Fall. The conference program started with a keynote address by Alwar Narayanan and Jim Lynch of Navteq looking at the evolution of mobile mapping, which is the fastest growing sector in the terrestrial mapping industry.

“LiDAR data, with proper control and processing procedures, bridges requirements from GIS to survey, and software applications for exploiting this data will rapidly emerge.”

– Lewis Graham of GeoCue

Lewis Graham of GeoCue Corporation gave an overview of basic LiDAR concepts (such as accuracy vs. precision), of the available hardware (including specifications) and software, the major vendors, and the costs of typical systems. He commented that LiDAR data, with proper control and processing procedures, bridges requirements from GIS to survey and predicted that software applications for exploiting this data will rapidly emerge. Chris Siebern of HNTB pointed out that, beyond providing greater collection efficiencies, 3D point clouds are rapidly emerging as deliverables. “While traditional mapping products can be extracted from the point cloud, so can additional products that were not previously possible,” he said. Glenn Farrington of Optech discussed a new-generation airborne LiDAR that combines the advantages of conventional topographic systems for broad area mapping and full waveform sensors for 3D mapping.

The workshop series featured presentations by several of the conference’s industry sponsors: Riegl USA, Tuck Mapping Solutions, MJ Harden, Fugro, Optech, Leica Geosystems, Merrick, ESRI, Applanix, Lizardtech, Terrasolid, GeoCue, and Northrop Grumman. They covered such topics as “Basics of helicopter LiDAR surveys,” “How to plan for a LiDAR project,” and “Processing workflows for airborne and mobile LiDAR.”

Organized by Intelligent Exhibitions Ltd, a promoter of specialist science and technology-focused international events, in partnership with TMS International, a LiDAR research and consultancy company, it attracted 576 participants from 33 countries, and 59 exhibitors, according to Versha Carter, the director of Intelligent Exhibitions. The location of the conference hotel, at the corner of Canal and Bourbon streets, put participants a short walk from the many restaurants and clubs of the French Quarter, which contributed to the conference’s upbeat mood. The next ILMF will take place in Denver, January 23-25, 2012.

The Winter issue of Imaging Notes includes a report on new LiDAR technologies, here: www.imagingnotes.com/go/articleJ.php?media_id=273.

NOAA Climate Scientists Cleared of Wrong-Doing

At the request of U.S. Sen. Inhofe, the Department of Commerce Inspector General conducted an independent review of the e-mail messages stolen in November 2009 from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and found no evidence of impropriety or reason to doubt NOAA's handling of its climate data. The Inspector General was asked to look into how NOAA reacted to the leak and to determine whether there was evidence of improper manipulation of data, failure to adhere to appropriate peer review procedures, or failure to comply with Information Quality Act and Freedom of Information Act guidelines.

The report notes a careful review of eight e-mail messages that it said "warranted further examination to clarify any possible issues involving the scientific integrity of particular NOAA scientists or NOAA's data," that was completed and did not reveal reason to doubt the scientific integrity of NOAA scientists or data.

The report questions the way NOAA handled a response to four FOIA requests in 2007. The FOIA requests sought documents related to the review and comments of part of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. NOAA scientists were given legal advice that IPCC work done by scientists were records of the IPCC, not NOAA. The requesters were directed to the IPCC, which subsequently made available the review, comments, and responses.

The findings in the Inspector General's investigation are similar to the conclusions reached in several other independent investigations into climate data stewardship and research that were conducted by the UK House of Commons, Penn State University, the InterAcademy Council, and the National Research Council, after the release of the stolen e-mail messages. All of the reports exonerated climate scientists from allegations of wrong-doing.

NOAA's national and global climate data are available to the public in raw and adjusted form. The algorithms used to adjust the datasets to ensure high quality, useful records, are peer-reviewed and available to the public. The Inspector General report is available online:


RapidEye Completes Second Coverage of China in Two Years

RapidEye, a geospatial solutions provider that owns and operates a constellation of five identical Earth observation satellites, has delivered the second coverage of China for the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) in as many years. The imagery campaign, which ran from August 1, 2010 through January 11, 2011, was intended to cover almost 5.8 million square kilometers, or 60 per cent of the country. The project was successfully delivered and accepted by the MLR in the first week of February.

RapidEye is also very close to completing an additional project for the State Bureau of Mapping and Surveying (a branch of the MLR), where an area of more than 920,000 square kilometers is being imaged. The imaging campaign includes selected areas that are notoriously cloudy, which makes successful collection challenging. The RapidEye system is particularly suited for this task, because it can always have a satellite revisit a location in less than 24 hours.

Previously, the MLR, a government entity in China responsible for planning, administration, protection, and rational utilization of the country's natural resources, contracted RapidEye to deliver 80 percent (7.8 million square kilometers) of China over the same time frame last year. During each collection of China for the MLR, RapidEye delivered the bulk of the project several weeks ahead of schedule and with an average cloud cover of 5 percent, or half of what originally had been requested by the customer. URL: www.rapideye.de

MetaCarta GeoSearch Toolkit Upgraded for Solr

Qbase LLC., a leading provider of information technology and business intelligence solutions, just six months after acquiring MetaCarta, today announced the second generation of its MetaCarta GeoSearch Toolkit for Solr. The GeoSearch Toolkit brought true geospatial document search to Solr, the popular open source enterprise search engine, and now adds polygonal search as well as confidence and relevancy scoring to its offerings.

The GeoSearch Toolkit for Solr allows users to index and search their documents by keyword inside of a defined geographic area. Unlike other geospatial extensions to Solr, this approach allows documents to have multiple locations and takes the in-text character position of georeferences into account when computing relevancy scores. With the addition of new features, users can now build sophisticated search solutions that go outside of circle or square boundaries and include polygonal areas. Additionally, new confidence and relevancy scores enable users to place more trust in returned results.

MetaCarta GeoSearch Toolkit for Solr allows users to:

  • Integrate with MetaCarta’s GeoTagger service to tag geographic references within documents;
  • Search tagged geographic references in conjunction with full text queries;
  • Filter results by bounding box, polygon, confidence or other geographic metadata;
  • Rank results based on enhanced geographic relevance and confidence scoring.

GeoSearch is used to build various user interfaces and may also integrate with other applications allowing users to focus on geographically relevant regions and documents. Since content is localized, GeoSearch drives geo-targeted advertising and categorizes content for better navigation resulting in increased page views, driving users to other relevant content or premium services and allowing maximum advertising rates.

“Since growing numbers of our customers are adopting Lucene and Solr, we’ve seen an increase in functionality requests for the GeoSearch Toolkit for Solr,” said Ken Tomaselli, Vice President, MetaCarta. “We’ve answered the most recent requests with polygonal search and confidence and relevancy scoring.”

Qbase is an innovative data solutions provider, delivering unique concepts and tools in the areas of business intelligence, data analytics, data fusion, modeling and visualization, and platforms for sensor data exploitation and geospatial information as well as high throughput computing. With the recent acquisition of MetaCarta Inc., the combined company also provides powerful technology for finding anything written about any place. MetaCarta’s unique technology combines geosearch and geotagging capabilities allowing users to find content about a location in internal and external data stores.

Click for more information on MetaCarta GeoSearch Toolkit for Solr.

URLs: www.4qbase.com, www.metacarta.com

Announcing Hexagon 2011 International Conference

Leica Geosystems’ High-Definition Surveying (HDS) Worldwide User Conference and its Geospatial Solutions user conference will merge with the user conference of the airborne sensor business of Hexagon, its parent company, to become the “Hexagon 2011” international conference.

It will be Hexagon AB’s inaugural conference and take place 6-9 June at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Florida. It will bring together in one location the latest technologies and user communities from Leica Geosystems, Z/I Imaging, Intergraph, as well as Hexagon’s Metrology and Technology divisions. The conference will feature more than 200 targeted break-out sessions and hands-on training courses tailored by tracks, previews of new technologies, interactive technical demonstrations, workshops, and customer testimonials. Additionally, the conference’s agenda includes keynote presentations on industry and corporate trends as well as networking opportunities. Hexagon expects that more than 3,000 people will attend. URL: www.leica-geosystems.com, www.hexagonconference.com

Version 7.0 MARS to Include Automated LiDAR QC Module

Merrick & Company, a provider of light detection and ranging (LiDAR), digital orthophotography, and hyper-spectral mapping, has released its new, automated LiDAR data quality control (QC) module. Integrated within Version 7.0 of the Merrick Advanced Remote Sensing (MARS) software suite, the new module will provide users with a fully automated QC process for the verification of compliance to the v13 LiDAR Specification from the US Geological Survey (USGS).

The module automates the process of reviewing and accepting LiDAR datasets and allows users to thoroughly analyze data deliverables against more than 25 standards within the USGS specification. Users can customize each QC session by selecting individual specification standards for review. URL: www.merrick.com/MARS

Tuck Mapping and AeroMetric to Provide High Accuracy Mapping Services

Tuck Mapping Solutions, Inc. and AeroMetric, Inc. have entered into an agreement to combine their capabilities and experience to service the high-accuracy mapping markets. Both firms have a long-standing professional relationship and through this agreement build on their strengths to better serve their clients throughout North America.

Tuck Mapping has been in business for 26 years, with more than 10 years experience in high accuracy corridor mapping, including highways, railroads, power lines, etc., as well as serving military bases and land development sites. AeroMetric provides its extensive experience and production capabilities through its five locations across the United States. Together, both firms bring more than 100 years of experience in providing “On-Target Geospatial Solutions.”

The combined capabilities of the two companies include three turbine helicopters equipped with eagleeye Corridor Mapping Systems, ten aircraft with multiple Optech and full-waveform Riegl LiDAR systems, and digital mapping cameras from Z/I Imaging, Leica, and Applanix. In addition, both firms have significant experience in fusing terrestrial, mobile, and aerial LiDAR datasets. URLs: www.aerometric.com, www.tuckmapping.com.

LP360 Now Supports LizardTech MrSID Generation 4 Files

LizardTech, a division of Celartem Inc. and a provider of software solutions for managing and distributing geospatial content, has integrated its MrSID Generation 4 Decode SDK (MG4 DSDK) into GeoCue Corporation’s LP360 for ArcGIS and other LP360 software applications.

GeoCue Corporation, which is the parent company of QCoherent Software LLC, offers the LP360 product line, a LiDAR software extension for the Esri ArcGIS Environment. With the integration of LizardTech’s MG4 DSDK, LP360 customers will be able to efficiently input and decode LiDAR data that has been compressed using LizardTech's LiDAR Compressor software.

According to Lewis Graham, president and chief technical officer at GeoCue, its customers “have asked for tools to input, decode, and view compressed LiDAR point clouds, and with the integration of LizardTech’s MG4 DSDK, they can do that easily and efficiently.” URLs: www.geocue.com, www.lizardtech.com.

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