Figure 1 - CARTERRA Analyst Menu shows a wide variety of features.

CARTERRA Analyst – Tools to Manage and Live By

Taking advantage of all the data has to offer

Thomas L. Lewis, Director of Global Alliances, Space Imaging, Thornton , Colo.,

Satellite imagery is a key tool in gathering intelligence for either a civil or national government entity or for a commercial company. The use of remote sensing – the ability to collect imagery of the earth’s surface from a distance – has been a key tool for government and military operations for hundreds of years. The proliferation of this technology has allowed its cost to be lowered significantly, making this an appealing solution for many civil government agencies and commercial companies around the world. Satellite imagery is a unique form of remotely sensed data in that it is the most immediate, most current, and most accurate geospatial data available.

Satellite imagery is used by many governments in military and peacekeeping efforts, as well as by commercial organizations both large and small. Typically, imagery is in demand by governments, military entities, researchers, news organizations, meteorologists, oil and gas companies, geospatial firms, environmentalists and farmers, and by users in other fields and disciplines as well.

However, satellite imagery isn’t the only form of data. Organizations may have several other types of intelligence that may need to be managed and integrated with the imagery to attain full intelligence solutions. Organizations may have other information layers that they would like to incorporate, such as maps, charts, GPS locational data, natural and cultural features, topographic data, digital terrain models and vector data, to name just a few.

Gathering the information is only one piece of the puzzle. The ability to manage this data across many organizations, to achieve true data sharing, and to integrate it with other information sources turns disparate pieces of information into useful, practical intelligence for your organization. This is the key to unleashing the data’s true power.

Information needs will vary from organization to organization, but the core tools needed to plan, manage, exploit and process the data are very similar. Effectively meeting these goals to help users overcome the challenges often associated with image processing and data management requires a scalable system that increases productivity, reduces costs and adds value across the organization.

Satellite imagery and other forms of data are critical to the information analysis process, and they allow for a complete picture to be formulated. Having disjointed systems with data posted to stove-piped databases and hoping that miraculously through human intervention it will all work together in times of critical need is simply a thing of the past. Today’s systems must be agile and responsive. As information is gathered, integrated and analyzed, it can be used by key decision-makers to make critical and strategic situational assessments.

Accessing and retrieving all pertinent information in a timely manner can mean the difference between clearly understanding a situation and assessing the options, or being relinquished to putting together post-event charts on what happened and how it can be avoided next time. Being a former imagery analyst, I can attest to the fact that having the ability to use and retrieve the information quickly and effectively, while combining, displaying, analyzing and corroborating information to develop and share a common operating picture, is the key to information dominance, whether the organization is a government entity or a commercial company.

Figure 2 - Example of imagery exploitation capabilitites

In the past, imagery analysis has required someone to assemble a series of tools, each accomplishing a specific task. CARTERRA Analyst, a geospatial analysis and production tool set, can help efficiently and effectively manage, process, exploit and analyze remotely-sensed imagery data. The ability to seamlessly integrate the commercial applications provides an end-to-end workflow solution for the analysis and management of imagery and intelligence products.

This paradigm represents a departure from the current ways of doing business, by incorporating all the tools necessary for retrieving and interpreting images in one complete system utilizing a sophisticated software framework that integrates and enhances the included commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology. This system incorporates tools to handle tasks ranging from ingesting and cataloging to analyzing and reporting functions. CARTERRA Analyst provides a solution for those who desire either to set up or to augment a remote sensing capability, whether as a stand-alone shop or as an adjunct to a GIS or cartographic organization.

This product is a family of information analysis solutions that offers users a scalable approach to storing, retrieving, analyzing, and disseminating digital spatial information. The system recognizes a variety of data formats including documents, photographs, maps, videos, and audio recordings.

Figure 3 - GIS vector creation, analysis and maps using ESRI ArcView
The single interface of CARTERRA Analyst is exceptionally easy to use and supports numerous workflow tasks, from locating and retrieving data to generating a final product. Analysts can take advantage of a fully digital environment and a variety of analytic techniques, including data fusion, change detection, terrain analysis, and multispectral analysis. To help ensure seamless integration, data flow is designed for typical image exploitation and GIS products. This system is designed in an open architecture environment and can be integrated with satellite access system facilities or function as a stand-alone system. The system also supports multiple language requirements and addresses multiple user level requirements and associated security issues.

CARTERRA Analyst meets geospatial data management, processing, and distribution needs by including the following capabilities under one user interface:

  • A Geographic Information System that stores complex graphics and text attribute information in a geographically referenced system.
  • An Electronic Light Table that manipulates and exploits images quickly and accurately without sacrificing quality.
  • Image Processing tools that permit advanced image analysis, data access, manipulation, and management.
  • Desktop reporting that allows the creation of graphically enhanced, professional quality reports.
  • Intelligence database tools that provide the ability to manage data by correlating geographic location information with facility installations and asset information.
  • Cartographic tools that provide highly interactive, cartographic-quality map production tools. (Custom functionality, which is available tailored to meet specific end-user requirements, may be ordered.)
  • Integration software that enables embedded applications to share data, delegate tasks, disseminate results and monitor a productive workflow environment.

CARTERRA Analyst is ideal for customers who regularly work with orthorectified imagery and use it to create and update Geographic Information Systems. The electronic light table capability permits full manipulation of an image, such as contrast enhancement, roaming, panning, zooming, and rotating. Further, the vector information already stored in existing shape files can be overlaid on the image to aid in searching for a particular item. Since imagery is both orthorectified and geo-referenced, specific coordinates can be found to the accuracy of the image, measurements can be taken and vector information in the GIS can be updated.

This tool set provides a fully digital work environment, including a variety of functions for target monitoring, change detection, feature extraction, terrain analysis, data fusion, and advanced visualization and multispectral analysis. The product also provides electronic access to various industry image archives for updating a customer’s own geospatial archives with the most up-to-date imagery.

The CARTERRA Analyst cataloging capability stores information about imagery already on hand and permits a full geospatial search capability. As customers accumulate imagery, each image's metadata and a thumbnail image are stored in the computer's hard drive for search and retrieval, with comprehensive and easy-to-use tools including Windows-based menus and directory schemas/trees.

Space Imaging has combined the best names in the industry to offer a cost-effective integrated tool that lets users view, analyze, store and retrieve geospatial information from the convenience of their desktop environments. To address evolving user needs, the offering can be configured on various levels and for various platforms. Today, it is seen as an intuitive, end-to-end solution for all tasks associated in the information analysis and dissemination phases of the remote sensing data cycle.

Figure 4 - Topographic analysis/image processing capabilities example

High-volume production tools are also available to produce agency-quality mapping products for topographic and national mapping, nautical charting, forestry, natural resource, and property mapping. Currently, these tools are being used in a number of national, state, and local mapping agencies and commercial mapping companies around the world, supporting government and international mapping agencies in producing and maintaining a broad range of products.

CARTERRA Analyst provides the tools to manage, process, analyze and produce various sources of data in an environment that is capable of supporting photogrammetric and cartographic production. Integrating leading commercial remote sensing and GIS software products into one convenient solution provides a one-system solution that combines the strengths and capabilities of existing, fielded commercially-available products. These proven tools complement one another and ultimately bring out the power of the information, helping to manage data and intelligence products. Making the most of imagery and data allows the analyst to turn information into knowledge – discovering new ways to make the data “speak” to the user and reveal its true information content.

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