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 Dynamic Panoramic
Mladen Stojic, President of Hexagon Geospatial
Mladen Stojic, President of Hexagon Geospatial
Dynamic Panoramic is a column by Mladen Stojic, President of Hexagon Geospatial. Mr. Stojic is a renowned geospatial industry expert who shares his insights into how geospatial information is increasingly being used to drive critical decisions in organizations of all sizes.

Cloud-Based Geospatial Data Management Solution Helps Map Entire Country of Germany

April 15th, 2013 by Mladen Stojic, President of Hexagon Geospatial

Leveraging geospatial data for various purposes across large, disparate organizations that span an entire country is a tremendous challenge especially when geospatial data ownership is decentralized across states.   Along with understanding how to share the data effectively, different departments within different agencies need to access and process data in a variety of ways.   Organizing and keeping data up-to-date across jurisdictions, while delivering that data in a common way and timely manner are all crucial factors in enabling national agencies and departments to make smarter decisions.

Intergraph was recently awarded a project to help one of Europe’s leading electricity and gas companies to organize and manage geospatial data for the entire country of Germany.  Data covering more than 365,000 km² of land area is managed by this program and project specifications required keeping all mapping data up-to-date along with rapid delivery of the data to a variety of regional organizations.

Other important project requirements included:

  • Usage of geospatial data services in low-bandwidth and offline networks to meet local and third party needs
  • Reliability of the services to meet 24×7 demand
  • Ability to serve a heterogeneous GIS environment with multiple end-user systems

The Intergraph solution for this project was built around two major components: Terramapserver is a cloud infrastructure hosting service in Europe for running off-premise geospatial applications, services, or data with high-availability and security.   ERDAS APOLLO serves as the software infrastructure providing the organization and rapid dissemination of massive volumes of disparate geospatial data.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of this project was in understanding how to deliver more than 15 TB of imagery data, or the whole of Germany at 20 cm resolution, on-demand in a high-availability, high-performance environment.  An extensive evaluation performed by the Intergraph team determined that it was possible to mosaic the original 370,000 individual files into one file compressed using Intergraph’s ECW format technology and have it meet all of the customer’s requirements. By using technology found in ERDAS IMAGINE a single, visually-lossless 1TB ECW file was generated.. With final pixel dimensions of 3,210,000 x 4,340,000px x 3bands or 14 Terapixels in size, this is the largest ECW image ever created and quite likely the largest single image of any format in the world.

ERDAS APOLLO is used to deliver that file on-demand via a variety of web services including fast-streaming ECWP and also OGC WMS and OGC WMTS.  Offering standard OGC services on top of the fast ECWP guarantees that every standard GIS application can benefit from the centralized geo-service.  ECWP streams well in low-bandwidth networks and caches on the client end, which supports many localities and third party needs. There are also ECWP Plugins to third party product applications that enable a high-quality printout (600 dpi) of the raster data – a top requirement of many customers when it comes to map production. All these delivery options are provided on-top of the single ECW file. There is no need to cache, tile or duplicate data at any stage making it a compelling workflow for data management in addition to the 15x data reduction due to the image compression.

ERDAS APOLLO also supports a “clip-zip-ship” capability and this provides secure, offline access to geospatial data for field work or any situation where online connectivity cannot be assured.   The automated process supports user-defined data extractions in various formats, coordinate systems and zip file delivery via email, empowering users to self-serve while also saving time that would be usually spent manually extracting data.

In addition to tremendous cost-savings, Intergraph was able to deliver the highly available and scalable Terramapserver infrastructure which serves the needs of a 24×7 operational environment. Cloud-based geospatial solutions, like Terramapserver, represent the next-generation of geospatial data management.  By using key data management and delivery solutions, this Utility company was able to undertake a major mapping and data dissemination project with minimal costs and meet all project requirements while exceeding all performance criteria.

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