I attended the ERDAS 11 World Tour stop yesterday in Longmont, Colo. near the DigitalGlobe facilities. The event highlighted the close partnership between ERDAS and DigitalGlobe for imagery analysis and delivery, and gave each a good platform to discuss industry trends and their latest offerings.
DigitalGlobe kicked off the day with a short talk from Scott Hicar, CIO and SVP Global Information Services. Hicar noted that the company is expanding rapidly on the heels of the $3.55 Billion Enhanced View agreement with the National Geospatial Agency. The company continues to focus on delivering the best imagery to be consumed as quickly as possible through cloud service layers. This capacity has been highlighted recently with the company’s response to the tsunami in Japan with hundreds of kilometers of imagery delivered within hours over the past ten days.
Ian Anderson, Director, Remote Sensing, desktop products, ERDAS spoke about the major changes for this latest release, giving a nice list form accounting:
- Localization — that allows local partners to tailor the tools to local languages and needs
- Imagery Analysis Workflows — getting through the process faster for georeferencing, measuring, lining up, analyzing bands of data, as well as presenting your data. A chooser embedded in the ribbon give you direct drag-and-drop access to primitives and values of your data that allow you to add notations such as time of acquisition, sun angle and other collection parameters directly into the view. Dynamic text makes the interface customizable and familiar (like Word, PowerPoint, etc.). Ribbon interface makes labeling easier. And output is easily integrated into PowerPoint for presentation.
- Increased Efficiency — recent advances have allowed parallel processing on your same computer with multiple cores, and now you can distribute jobs to multiple computers and multiple cores to run jobs in parallel, with batch distributed processing through ERDAS Engine. This solution provides a lower-cost way to extend the power of your existing computing resources and get work accomplished more quickly.
- Bing Maps in ERDAS IMAGINE – providing context to insert imagery from the Bing Maps platform. Access various layers directly in Bing Maps such as geocoding, aerial imagery, roads, hybrid, and you can even do reverse geocoding.
- Create Map Reports – with templated views that allow you to quickly output based on standard styles that you can define.
- Contours from the Terrain Prep Tool – allows you to create contours from imagery, and visualize a point cloud as 2D, and drape other elements on top.
- Hyperspherical Color Space (HCS) Pan Sharpening, which has been developed specifically for DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-2 data
- Measure height directly from layovers
- Discriminant Function Change – comparing multiple images to detect change as both subtractive and additive
- Google Earth Integration — live link rather than embedded, allows you to connect, go to a location, match the view to Google Earth, link to the Google Earth view, export view footprints, and export overlays
- Clustering Support in ERDAS APOLLO allows you to scale processing and delivery to more users simultaneously.
- Catalog and Serve LiDAR point cloud files
Dr. Kumar Navular, director of product management at DigitalGlobe, had a focused talk on industry trends, and highlighted the company’s upcoming data collection capabilities. The 8-band capabilities of WorldView-2 have opened up the environmental domain recently, with the ability to map and monitor depth classifications on soil, vegetation growth and forest, determining impacts to hydrology from slope and/or erosion, locating infrastructure, identifying shift in soil, and estimating carbon.
Throughout all presentations for the half-day event there was a focus on timely delivery of imagery through the use of open standards. Both companies touted the benefit of OGC standards Web Mapping Service (WMS), Web Coverage Service (WCS), and Web Processing Service (WPS). This ability to quickly make tailored data available over the web has been the shift necessary to shift GIS users from producers of hard copy maps into authors and publishers of services that others can tailor and consume to fit their needs. ERDAS APOLLO addresses this piece to provide simple access to powerful image processing to users that don’t have the desire or need of becoming GIS experts.
The day ended with what was billed as one of the final tours of DigitalGlobe’s mission control room as the company is in the process of enhancing their security.