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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Big data and services were hot topics at Esri UC

July 17th, 2013 by Susan Smith

Big data and services to manage big data were among the hot topics of Esri UC 2013. Companies that provided these opportunities were in large part Esri partners.

As a result of the cloud and mobile/location intelligence, we can now ingest data that previously required an enormous amount of effort to be made usable. The question still remains as to who is qualified to access the data, but data now breaks out of its previous stagnancy with the growth of technology potential.

Who can use GIS now? Just about everyone.

Although the federal government was not well represented at the conference because of steep cutbacks, the products and services showcased catered to the federal, state and local governments, with disaster response, emergency preparedness, intelligence and other related fields. There is not a geospatial company out there that doesn’t tailor their application/server platform to that market.

Some of the companies visited that fall within these categories include:

DigitalGlobe FirstLook Premium Services

DigitalGlobe Premium Services

DigitalGlobe Premium Services: DigitalGlobe’s Global Basemap, FirstLook, and Multispectral Premium Services can now be seamlessly integrated into the workflow of ArcGIS users, allowing them to access the most current imagery and information available directly from the source. They are three premium services under the ArcGIS Online Information Services. These services allow organizations to acquire content as a service through one vehicle and put data into workflows. DigitalGlobe is running the cloud and integrating with ArcGIS Online.

ArcGIS base maps and World Imagery are free to ArcGIS Online users. DigitalGlobe Premium address all that “free” doesn’t provide. Pricing depends upon how much area to access and how many users. There is also a different content strategy for each global-pre-programmed user and costs are customizable to projects.

Features of the three Premium Services are outlined in DigitalGlobe’s blog post:

The Global Basemap Premium Service provides some of the best available natural color and panchromatic imagery. This imagery is available as a cached tile service with vast coverage of the U.S. and Canada. This service will be regularly updated to reflect new, high quality imagery from DigitalGlobe.

The FirstLook Premium Service is a disaster and crisis monitoring service populated with imagery when a qualifying event occurs, such as a natural disaster, manmade crisis, political instability, or human interest occurrence. Through this service, users have access to near real-time post-event imagery as well as pre-event imagery for comparison.

The Multispectral Premium Service offers access to rich, full resolution multispectral content through an ArcGIS Online interface running on a highly scalable cloud architecture. The service and the content it hosts can be tailored to the client’s specific project needs. Users who require highly detailed imagery for image analytics, geodatabase updates, and surface change analysis can work with DigitalGlobe experts to maximize the value of the subscription.

TerraGo Vision Platform Architecture

TerraGo Vision Platform

TerraGo has been emerging from an intense period of investment in new technologies, and have more than doubled investment in R&D. They have introduced new products across the whole product line. In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the intelligence community, is the umbrella company of TerraGo. About a year ago TerraGo acquired Geosemble a sister In-Q-Tel company. Geosemble’s product lines such as GeoXRay, MacStrata have been integrated into the TerraGo portfolio.

TerraGo launched some years ago with their groundbreaking GeoPDF products, which attributes geospatial information to PDFs. They released GeoPDF v 6 last fall. They released 3D composer 18 months ago, a product that allows people to start with an image and do draping for GeoINT.

From that initial launch, the company has expanded into offering a number of other solutions, namely and most recently the release of TerraGo Vision Platform. Because the most valuable location intelligence data is gleaned from internal and external Big Data sources, a platform designed for mission-critical information that can be seamlessly integrated and then delivered to decision makers, analysts, field and mobile workers is more valuable than previously used centralized data stores. Vision Platform allows organizations to build powerful geospatial solutions for situational awareness and improve decision making and response times.

TerraGo’s largest customers are the NGA, Army, DHS, and USGS.

Esri Publisher for ArcGIS has 1,000 customers around the world. TerraGo added GeoForms to it, extending the feature data inside ArcGIS, and made it available for mobile. The company also released additional capabilities around 3D GeoPDF with the goal of  getting actionable intelligence to someone at the edge who might be disconnected from the internet.

Terrago Mobile was  re-architected to be geared toward the Android and iPhone and to take high resolution imagery to the field.

GeoXray  automates unstructured data discovery (funded through In-Q-tel) analysis, and geospatial vizualization. It is useful for “edge users,” decision makers, and  analysts.

Custom Enterprise Solutions are server based solutions for data discovery, integration and delivery.

Being able to discover location intelligence is a big problem. Moreover, the massive information available from disparate data sources needs to be intelligently filtered by place, time and topic, then it needs to be seamlessly delivered.

Terrago Vision is driven by core customers who are mostly doing crisis response and intelligence:

1.  Army AGC index

2. NGA eIndex


4. IHS Jane’s Imagery Watch

TerraGo Vision Platform is all about deploying and creating intelligence on the fly. “We can query all information that exists within that box, GeoTIFFs, and could have it converted on the fly, and can make this platform do what you want,” said TerraGo CEO Rick Cobb.  “USGS quads tie in to ArcGIS Services and lots of web services, touching them all live, and they could be any services. That’s discovery and visualization. Once you have all this data organized, you may want to give it to somebody.”

If  you need imagery, Esri ArcGIS imagery allows users create their own data on demand. Terrago Vision isn’t a product – it’s a collection of APIs and developer tools, and application services. ArcGIS Server is in the background, and is where geocontent comes from. The services come from the internet, and other data can come from any system TerraGo attaches to.

ITT Exelis

Laurie Jordan Esri, director of Imagery, talked about their long time relationship with ITT Exelis, a top business partner. Esri has 2800 business partners. With Exelis Esri has seamless integration. “The meaning of platform has changed in a positive way,” said Jordan. “We positioned ArcGIS to inseminate imagery and to take imagery and turn it into useful information. This platform is now moving from just a desktop mobile and server, and cloud and focusing on this term Cloud based GIS. With the move to cloud the definition of platform has changed. The platform is an ecosystem of relationships of everything you can do with it. Through this platform we’ll be offering services, and it will be the new home for services and content including analytics – tools from ENVI are at the top of the list.”

“Exelis adopted our services architecture early on,” said Jordan. “Imagery and GIS were separate in the early days. Now imagery is core to GIS and is foundation to GIS. Every single area of GIS comes from imagery. You are attending the world’s largest imagery conference.”

The desktop is going to ingest Esri Image Services, take the same workflow and do that on a web browser that’s fully cloud enabled, but presents to the user just with a browser. The data doesn’t exist on the desktop, it exists on the cloud and is rich in Landsat data, and displays all data that is just in one geographic area of interest. You just get data, display it in catalog view, do change detection and run it.

In an example showing the city of Dubai, “As a GIS analyst I want to update some of my maps, ask for change detection, a difference from the years 2000 to 2010. Exelis ENVI for ArcGIS gets the data it needs from those time periods. ENVI is running a workflow together, radiometrically normalizes it,  does thresholding and does a cleanup, that takes about a minute. While it’s running, you can see that between those years, the Palms were built in Dubai and you can create a map using the already integrated ArcMap and imagery.”

The workflows can be presented on the desktop, in the web and on mobile on the cloud. This way people less familiar with the desktop can access the information.

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Categories: DigitalGlobe, Esri

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