Markets Shifting into Focus

Dear Readers,

When we talk with industry players at conferences and prepare our articles, we often get a very good snapshot of industry status and trends. Two trends are emerging that we have recently identified and have been covering:

  • Imagery is now becoming more integrated into software, rather than serving only as a back-drop.
  • Markets are shifting and coming into focus, after the entry of free Internet imagery into the marketplace rocked our world.

Imagery Integration

Regarding the first point, I had the honor of serving as moderator for the panel discussion at ESRI's first ever GIS and RS Summit, held prior to their User Conference this fall. Emerging from the discussion was this fact that imagery is finally coming into its own as a respected and valued layer of data, with software companies offering customers the capability to integrate imagery within GIS.

During the panel discussion, it was noted that Autodesk and others are incorporating imagery into their products as well. ITT VIS President/COO Richard Cooke stated that image processing must continue to evolve into the workflow in ways that maintain the scientific rigor, and in the future, interoperability will continue to improve.

In this issue, read about ENVI 4.5's seamless data exchange with ArcGIS Desktop and BAE Systems' SOCET GXP v3.0 offering eXtreme Analyst, a merging of image analysis and geospatial analysis workflows. Two articles about this subject were published in our Summer issue, "Data Integration" and "Unlocking the Wealth of Imagery."

Markets Shifting Into Focus

The discussion of shifting markets coming into focus is more complicated. For decades, GIS analysts in organizations needed rather expensive tools to do their jobs, and the demand for commercial imagery was increasing. A few years ago, Google Earth became the disruptive force in the marketplace, offering tools and imagery online, free of charge, completely changing the game.

As a result of Internet distribution of imagery, new markets are being formed that go beyond what we ever imagined. New market offerings include less expensive tools that don't require expert users, with applications across many types of businesses.

Our Next-Gen Mapping column has exposed our readers to new ways of thinking about and looking at the imaging/remote sensing market. Two years ago, we discussed in this column the different levels of users created by the introduction of Google Earth to the market: Legacy Users, ProAm Users, and Convergence Users. Over the last two years, we've seen these users evolve into three distinct markets for imagery and geospatial data:

  • The Traditional Market of experts and GIS users;
  • The Internet Mass Market of amateurs to professionals; and
  • Emerging Business Users.

These markets are explored more deeply in Next-Gen Mapping.

Together, these markets are the LB(x) markets. LB(x), as coined by our Next-Gen Mapping columnists Natasha Léger and Craig Bachmann, refers to the location-based x-factor. Companies can now integrate location into their own strategic business plans, wherever they deem most valuable to get the greatest return whether that is in manufacturing, distribution, or tracking of assets; that's the x-factor.

A Location Intelligence Source

Exploring these markets and tracking their evolution and growth require more attention than one column in Imaging Notes can provide. We expect these location intelligence markets to grow exponentially over the next few years. Therefore we will be launching a spin-off publication in 2009. We see a need for media that are the location intelligence sources for businesses that integrate geospatial intelligence with business intelligence.

In this Issue

Fall is always a time when we gather at GeoInt and focus on defense and security issues. Thus, we bring stories on SPADAC's Information Warfare; RADAR technologies from TerraSAR-X and RADARSAT-2; and news from GeoEye-1, RapidEye, DigitalGlobe, BAE Systems, ITT, NJVC, SPADAC and USGIF in our new section called News & Notes. This new "news" section allows us to cover the exciting innovations of more companies in each issue.

In the area of milestones, Nancy Colleton honors NOAA Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher as he resigns, on page 46. We also congratulate NASA on its 50th Anniversary this October! The legacy of accomplishments is legendary, certainly; I only hope we can return our focus back towards Earth for the sake of humanity's future.

Myrna James Yoo

Sensors & Systems | Monitoring, Analyzing and Adapting to Global Change | Stay in tune with the transformation. Subscribe to the free weekly newsletter.