LiDAR capability. TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X radar satellites acquire high-quality X-band radar images with an accuracy of down to1 meter independent of weather conditions and lighting. SPOT optical satellite imagery offers an optimum combination of resolution and coverage. With four sensors currently in space and five more planned in the next five years, data continuity is secured until at least 2023. Astrium also owns and operates airborne sensors. LiDAR is the most cost-effective, accurate height data in production from airborne systems, with the ability to generate accurate terrain models in the presence of all but the most dense vegetation cover. See www.astrium-geo.com.
At Hexagon 2011, it became clear that Hexagon AB has an innovative vision for better addressing the urgent need for real-time intelligence for any global situation. A key component of bringing this vision to life is the marriage of ERDAS Imagine and Intergraph’s GeoMedia – with the goal of leveraging their combined strengths in raster and vector processing through a new spatial modeling framework.
Integrated within a new graphical user interface and extensible through third-party scripting environments, the next-generation spatial modeling solution will support desktop and on-demand enterprise geo-processing. This technology will also enable users in a broad variety of disciplines, such as agriculture management, disaster recovery, civil engineering, property assessment, and others, to create spatial analysis and processing programs within a command-line environment, simultaneously leveraging GeoMedia's vector handling capabilities and ERDAS IMAGINE's raster proficiency.
“Accurately processed imagery and terrain data provide a solid reference source for vector and attribute updates,” said Mladen Stojic, SVP Product Management & Marketing, ERDAS. “We are excited to introduce a means to simultaneously utilize ERDAS IMAGINE’s raster capabilities and GeoMedia’s rich set of vector handling tools.”
Within ERDAS IMAGINE, users will have access to a sophisticated set of assisted feature collection capabilities and quantitative image processing that will support the extraction of information about the earth such as change detection, land cover information, vegetation health and impervious surfaces. Conversely, within GeoMedia, users will have access to a rich set of vector collection and editing tools along with rich symbology and cartographic production capabilities. Together, the applications will be linked to support synchronized data sharing, viewing, editing, updating and analysis.
“Intergraph GeoMedia and ERDAS IMAGE together provide users with a complete set of tools for the collection and editing of Earth feature data, as well as the creation and maintenance of geospatial data warehouses and geospatial products,” said Mark Doherty, Chief Technology Officer, Intergraph Corporation. “These complementary technologies reduce time and effort across the geospatial workflow.”
News from Esri User Conference
Esri Acquires 3D Software Company Procedural
Esri has acquired Procedural, a software company that creates 3D urban environments from typical 2D data. Urban planners, architects, video game developers, and movie studios use Procedural’s CityEngine product to create 3D cities at any resolution.
Esri will integrate CityEngine into ArcGIS, allowing ArcGIS users to create and design 3D urban environments using their existing GIS data, such as parcels and street centerlines. CityEngine’s rule-driven approach will allow users to undertake large-scale civic planning efforts and will provide immediate visual feedback on the impact of planning decisions, such as setbacks and floor-specific zoning changes. Users will also be able to interactively design and analyze urban growth with intuitive sketching tools.
CityEngine will continue to evolve and expand as a stand-alone product. The founders and employees of Procedural will become Esri employees and Procedural's offices in Zurich will be extended to an R&D center in the field of urban design and 3D content creation. Procedural will continue to meet the needs of CityEngine users in the simulation and entertainment industries. See www.esri.com.
ITT and Esri Focus on Industry Solutions
ITT Visual Information Solutions now has Image Analysis Solutions for Industry (government, natural resources, utilities, defense/intelligence), offering tools that exploit imagery by vertical market. The company will roll out models and tools customized for these markets over the next year.
Similarly, Esri’s ArcGIS.com Communities are focused more on industries, offering templates for vertical markets, as well as for segments, including imagery. Esri’s Lawrie Jordan noted, “Imagery is the new face of GIS,” referring to the full integration of imagery into the ArcGIS workflows, thanks to their imagery partners.
The internal reorganization of both Esri and ITT sales and account management teams along industry lines demonstrates the commitment of the companies’ new approach, which should be well received by customers.
GeoEye Launches Image Pack with Esri, Signs Agreement with ScanEx, and Provides U.S. Government Online Access to Imagery
GeoEye and Esri recently launched GeoEye Image Pack for Esri ELA Customers. Small governments, public safety organizations, and utilities rely on GIS and imagery to perform urban planning, economic development, public works, and other activities. The imagery product, to be available for purchase on August 1, provides Esri customers with a programmatic Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) – a new way to procure high-resolution data from GeoEye's archive.
Esri programmatic ELAs are low cost, pre-packaged agreements for small municipal and county governments, public safety agencies, and utilities that facilitate the set-up of an ArcGIS system. The GeoEye Image Pack has a three-year term license and delivers the "best available view" for sub-meter, high-resolution imagery products. New collection and event options are also available if no archive data exists or if a customer is responding to a crisis or planning for a major event. The product is comprised of data from GeoEye's high-resolution satellites, GeoEye-1 and IKONOS, and aerial imagery from MJ Harden, a GeoEye company.
GeoEye has signed a multi-year, multi-million-dollar agreement with its Russian partner, ScanEx Research and Development Center, to provide more than 50 million square kilometers of high-resolution commercial satellite imagery for international customers in Russia and its neighboring countries.
GeoEye will deliver high-resolution IKONOS imagery from its extensive color imagery archive and new imagery to be collected through 2012. This new agreement expands the 2010 agreement in which GeoEye provided ScanEx more than two million square kilometers of imagery. The scope of this new agreement underscores the international commercial market's increasing demand for high-resolution satellite imagery and services.
ScanEx expects that this project, similar to the Landsat program in the 1980s, will stimulate development of advanced remote-sensing applications based on GeoEye's high-resolution imagery. ScanEx, a remote sensing company that offers services ranging from acquisition to thematic processing of Earth-observation images from space, has been a partner of GeoEye since 2009.
GeoEye has delivered to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) its EnhancedView Web Hosting Service (WHS), which provides users with password-protected, online access to unclassified, high-resolution imagery within hours of its collection. The EnhancedView WHS evolved from the NGA's Rapid Delivery of Online GEOINT (RDOG) system that began operations in April 2010. GeoEye built the EnhancedView WHS to support users across the National System for Geospatial-Intelligence (NSG). NSG members and partners have recently used the EnhancedView WHS to improve emergency response to natural disasters in Japan; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Joplin, Missouri; and along the Mississippi River.
The EnhancedView WHS combines GeoEye and third-party imagery to deliver precise base maps and allows users to access new imagery online within hours of collection. Users can access imagery through Esri's ArcGIS, Google Earth, and other Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) compliant tools and automatically receive notifications when new imagery is available for their area of interest.
The EnhancedView WHS is powered by GeoEye's online access platform, EyeQ, which enables thousands of concurrent users to access and download hundreds of terabytes of high-resolution imagery. Recent commercial applications have combined GeoEye-1 and IKONOS satellite imagery and MJ Harden aerial imagery with data from commercial radar providers and the USDA National Agriculture Imagery Program.
URLs: www.geoeye.com, www.esri.com, www.scanex.com/en/index.html.
CG2 Announces LIDAR Fusion for Geospatial Intelligence Community
CG2, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Quantum3D and a producer of technologies for graphics-based virtual training systems and sensor data visualization tools, has released LIDAR Fusion GEOINT, a tool for visualizing 3D point clouds from laser range data, stereo data, and imagery. It delivers new enhancements for scene analysis and sensor data exploitation.
The product is designed to enable the geospatial intelligence community to visualize and analyze raw or processed LiDAR information and 3D point data. It gives LiDAR data greater visual realism by combining the 3D volumetric detail of point cloud data with the color and shading from satellite imagery of the area. In addition to importing multiple overlapping LAS and GeoTIFF files, LIDAR Fusion can load PLY files used for robotics applications.
The product also supports visualization of 3D stereo data to incorporate 360 degree street level imagery. Each pixel in the high resolution panorama includes associated 3D stereo data that can be fused with LiDAR data to create navigable 3D environments. The product allows user to merge single perspective street-level snapshots with snapshots from other camera angles to fill gaps in an interactive 3D scene.
Additional features for version 2.0 of LIDAR Fusion GEOINT include:
- the ability to load 15 million points per gigabyte of system memory, allowing users to view up to 45 million square meters of point data at one meter resolution on a system with 3 gigabytes of available memory
- tools to easily change shading, lighting and camera speed, and measure the 3D distance between two locations for manipulating and examining a 3D scene
- correlation features that allow users to select any position in the LIDAR Fusion scene and pop up the corresponding Google Earth view for comparison.
DigitalGlobe Launches Global Basemap Subscription Service
DigitalGlobe has launched its Global Basemap subscription service. Based on the company's ImageLibrary, which includes approximately 1.5 billion square kilometers of imagery, and powered by its Cloud Services platform, the new service gives customers online access to existing and newly collected imagery. Combined with the company's commercial satellite constellation, ground station network, and technical infrastructure, it makes images available on demand.
Global Basemap includes imagery sourced from DigitalGlobe's own high-resolution satellite constellation and aerial network as well as additional third party low-resolution sources. It is available via an annual or multi-year subscription, with variable pricing based on regions, scope, and timeframe.
Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), the world's fourth-largest crude oil producer and an existing DigitalGlobe customer, has subscribed to Global Basemap to monitor and manage its business across Mexico. PEMEX's operations include nearly 60,000 kilometers of pipeline, seven refineries, 77 storage facilities and 15 gas processing plants. URL: www.digitalglobe.com.
Integral Systems to Combine with Kratos Defense & Security Solutions
Integral Systems, Inc. will merge with a subsidiary of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. in a cash-and-stock transaction for an enterprise value of approximately $266 million. Kratos is a specialized national security technology business providing products, services, and solutions for U.S. national security priorities.
Integral Systems stockholders will receive an amount in cash and stock having an aggregate value of approximately $13.00 per share, which represents a 63.5 percent premium over the company’s unaffected closing price of $7.95 per share on July 15 and a premium of 16.6 percent premium over the closing price of its common stock of $11.15 per share on January 12.
Combining the technology and customer portfolios of the two companies is designed to position the merged company to bring advanced Command, Control, Communications, Computing, Combat Systems, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) platforms to market. According to the company, the merger will significantly enhance its presence across the Department of Defense, intelligence community, and public safety sector; create new growth opportunities within markets such as unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) command and control, satellite-to-ground situational awareness, Radio Frequency (RF) interference mitigation, and countermeasure systems; augment market opportunities through an expanded global footprint, distribution channels, and customer base; and enable higher margin platforms and integrated solutions through combined product offerings and enhanced systems integration capabilities. URL: www.integ.com.
LizardTech Launches Express Server 7, Now with Support for MrSID Generation 4 (MG4)
LizardTech, a division of Celartem Inc. and a provider of software solutions for managing and distributing geospatial content, has released version 7 of its Express Server image distribution software. Designed to enable geospatial professionals to distribute high-resolution raster imagery, the product supports the MrSID Generation 4 (MG4) format, which uses alpha-band transparency for better looking mosaics and enables the delivery of specified bands from multi- and hyper-spectral imagery.
Support for distributing hyper-spectral data enables users to serve up to 255 bands of geospatial data in MrSID format, serve out 4-band color images containing an infrared channel, take advantage of the latest 8-band satellite imagery, and distribute high-resolution RGB datasets. Also new in version 7 is support for 64-bit systems, which enables users to allocate more memory to caching, thereby improving performance. URL: www.lizardtech.com