June 12, 2006
Turning Spatial Data into Information
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Message from the Editor -

Welcome to GISWeekly! In a recent webinar, Steven Corr, Sales Engineer, outlined what's new in PCI Geomatica 10, a product that debuted in late 2005. PCI Geomatics is a developer of image centric software for the geospatial industry, specializing in remote sensing, spatial analysis, GIS and digital photogrammetry. The goal of PCI Geomatica 10 is to “turn spatial data into information.” Read about it in this week's Industry News.

Also, GISWeekly's new Discussion Boards include topics such as Intergraph, ESRI, and Autodesk MapGuide. Post your questions or concerns on these boards and help to get some discussions going.

GISWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think. Send your comments to me

Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Turning Spatial Data into Information

by Susan Smith

In a recent webinar, Steven Corr, Sales Engineer, outlined what's new in PCI Geomatica 10, a product that debuted in late 2005. PCI Geomatics is a developer of image centric software for the geospatial industry, specializing in remote sensing, spatial analysis, GIS and digital photogrammetry. The goal of PCI Geomatica 10 is to “turn spatial data into information.”
General features of PCI Geomatica 10 (from the website) include:
-New Sensor Support: Rigorous orthorectification support for IRS-P6 (RESOURCESAT-1), CBERS and FORMOSAT (ROCSAT)

-Ortho-mosaic componentization, allowing the scripting and batch-processing of workflows

-Complete Oracle 10g Spatial GeoRaster loading and exploitation, placing Geomatica at the forefront of spatial tools for enterprise-scale databases

-Instant OrthoCorrection: 3D, ortho-accurate vector extraction and position without the need for orthophoto generation or 3D hardware

-Photogrammetry improvements including advanced tools for accuracy estimation and blunder detection, greater mosaicking flexibility in color balancing and cutline selection, and improved rational functions support for satellite imagery

-RADAR processing improvements include enhanced sensor and processing support for ENVISAT ASAR images and radiometric terrain correction
Corr outlined some of the most important features that have been added to the product tools. Discussed here are enhancements to the main tools in the PCI Geomatica Toolbar: Focus, OrthoEngine and Modeler. Others not mentioned include EASI, FLY, Chip Manager, and GeoRaster Metadata Mapper.


“Focus is Geomatica's main data visualization environment. Also included in Focus are geospatial processing algorithms, data capture functionality and information extraction and analysis tools,” according to the website.

This tool allows you to view and process over 100 file formats through PCI Geomatics' Generic Database (GDB) Technology. New features of Focus include:

1) New sensor support of photogrammetry map models will take an image and orthocorrect the coordinates without orthorectifying the image. You can point to a tiff file or any file that has a model associated with it. Focus will read the orbital information, the map model and the DEM, open them up and display orthocorrected coordinates. The image will look exactly the same as if you opened a tiff in PhotoShop but the underlying coordinates are important, so Focus will use the DEM and the map model to give the image accurate coordinates. This is a very useful feature for identification, especially in high throughput environments, i.e. the military. They want to open an image and identify where
exactly a feature is in x, y and z space, but they won't necessarily care if they have an orthorectified photo or orthogonally correct databases.

2) Feature collection or vector collection. You can open an image and digitize a road or building that will be an ortho-accurate feature even though you haven't orthorectified the image.

3) Scientific analysis can be done with radar, hyperspectral data and also optical data for classification. This is useful in cases where you want to work with the raw data values and want to do accurate analysis in x, y and z space without resampling or orthorectifying the image.

4) There is also a new charting tool that allows your chart to be used in the final map.

Cartography improvements include 1) a paragraph tool that allows you to add a significant amount of text to your map. There is also a tool added that allows you to point to an ASCII file and place that text onto the map. 2) The import charts can also be placed on maps as well, 3) The Label tool gives you the ability to label raster as well as vector results of a classification.

3D vector support improvements include 1) a z coordinate to attribute transfer function, which is used with contours. If you have a digital elevation model, you can generate contours from those, and sometimes you may end up with contours that have an elevation coordinate but not an elevation attribute. By considering the elevation as an attribute, you can set the contour representation based on the elevation. Added is a quick, easy tool that will take the z coordinates and add them to the attribute table so you can represent the data based on that coordinate.

2) z datum tracking and transfer -- There is often a very large difference between a mean sea level height and an ellipsoidal height, and that fact can cause a lot of confusion, especially if you're collecting ground control for vector layers. PCI Geomatics created a metadata tag that is updated automatically, based on the elevation reference, plus another tool that quickly converts between the two references.

PCI OrthoEngine

“OrthoEngine is a complete photogrammetry environment offering geometric correction, orthorectification, mosaicking and DEM extraction functionality, as well as 3D visualization and data extraction environments,” according to the website.

OrthoEngine has been the most successful product for PCI Geomatics for the last five to ten years. Significant improvements in it include:

1) Ground control point collection has been the most tedious part of collecting imagery. What has significantly speeded up the process is adding improvement to the GCB collection panel such as selecting all ground control sources within one window using a drop down menu.

2) A reference image table in the middle of the GCB collection panel. When you collect a ground control point on one image, that reference images table will be populated with the other images that have that location. This is important in larger photos and air photo projects where your points in the stereo ground control points have a ground value as well as an image to image relation value. Those are good to collect for larger projects.

3) A vector residual plot tool has been added to provide visual display to determine which areas of your display are most accurate and which may need some improvement .

Other improvements include: automatic mosaicking options, and preview mosaic before generating.

PCI Modeler

“Modeler is a visual scripting environment which provides an interactive methodology for developing, automating and batch-processing both simple and complex workflows,” according to the website.

What's new in Modeler is really new in OrthoEngine and Modeler, according to Corr. “We've taken the components out of OrthoEngine and created separate functions out of each of the components. With the automatic GCB collection, the automatic tie point collection and automatic fiducial collection we have available in OrthoEngine, we can create a script either visually in Modeler or just a command line script and an easy to run OrthoEngine project without any hands on involvement. We can still add break points for manual checks in that process but in a lot of cases we can just set up a script, run it, and have the whole OrthoEngine process done completely and automatically.”

Top News of the Week

Analytical Surveys, Inc. (ASI), provider of utility-industry data collection, creation and management services for the geographic information systems (GIS) markets, announced it has secured a $2 million financing for the recently formed ASI Energy Division.

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-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.


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