August 31, 2009
Remote Sensing and GIS
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

Remote Sensing and GIS

By Susan Smith

Martin Hogeweg

Martin Hogeweg
This all-day pre-conference seminar on “GIS and Remote Sensing” at ESRI User Conference 2009 featured case studies and panel discussions followed by a networking reception. Welcome speaker Lawrie Jordan, director of imagery enterprise solutions for ESRI, introduced guest speakers including Aurelie Shapiro, remote sensing specialist for the World Wildlife Fund US, Martin Hogeweg, project and product management, ESRI, and Lilian Pintea, director of conservation science for the Jane Goodall Institute.

Imagery strategy discussed included the following:

Scalable image data management
  • Image Catalog – Mosaic, new with 9.4
  • ArcGIS Server, Image Extension
  • Geodatabase which allows for continuous updates
  • Leveraging geoprocessing network
  • Minimize time from sensor to use
  • Desktop: Image Analyst Workstation
  • Desktop becomes image workstation
  • Analysis Window allows common functionality to be exposed
  • Unified Image Workstation with ArcMap
  • Work With Partners
  • Leverage key strengths
  • Provide functionality
  • Integration with and extend ArcGIS platform
  • Aurelie Shapiro

    Aurelie Shapiro
    Aurelie Shapiro spoke on “Satellites, Species: GIS and remote sensing for conservation at the WWF.” She covered Indonesian humanitarian efforts, tiger conservation landscapes, and other projects that combine remote sensing and GIS.

    Lilian Pintea spoke on their APES MAPPER, a portal based on Microsoft Silverlight, powered by ArcGIS Server and leveraging ArcGIS Online layers and services. The Mapper collaborates with other databases. Pintea said that after 15 years of applying satellite imagery to the research of chimpanzees, they can now study spatial behavior with GIS and remote sensing.

    Martin Hogeweg, project and product management, ESRI, active in GEOSS and GeoPortal, spoke on improving access and use of imagery using open and interoperable off-the-shelf technologies. Hogeweg said that international collaboration is essential for exploiting the potential of earth observation for decision making.

    click to enlarge [

    This half-meter resolution image of New York City was collected by the GeoEye-1 satellite on Aug. 10, 2009. The image features the American Museum of Natural History off Central Park West and 79th Street. Note: the image has been rotated for optimal viewing.
    Two industry panel discussions covered the topics: “Imagery Software Providers” and “Imagery Data Providers.”

    Imagery Software Provider Panel

    Mark Baker, ESRI business development manager, Professional Services, and facilitator of these panel discussions, has had 20 years experience with remote sensing, cartography and photogrammetry. He noted that over 50 remote sensing professionals at ESRI have masters degrees and/or over 20 years’ experience.

    The panel featured the following participants:

    Peter Becker, product manager, imagery, ESRI

    Drew Fisher, deputy director of sales, Geospatial exploitation products, BAE Systems

    Richard Cook , president and COO, ITT VIS

    David Stanley, CTO, PCI Geomatics

    Alex Miller, president, ESRI Canada (representing PurVIEW)

    Mark Baker: Seeing synergy between GIS and remote sensing, from the software provider’s perspective, what changes are you seeing in the profession?

    Drew Fisher: As far as challenges, one is the education of the folks coming out of institution and universities. We want to see a foundation of photogrammetry in those programs. We would encourage universities to reenergize these capabilities and go to the certification of photogrammetrists. Having those types of people in professional would increase awareness of those in the field.

    Richard Cook: It is partially education but also the different mindset of people coming out of universities: how do we build software for the next generation of users? We’re being asked to do things like Twitter, it’s a much more open society with information more free flowing, how they interact with environment, inclusive of everything they touch., We can expect them to use models we were trained on, need to build software that is appealing and engaging to make it work.

    Alex Miller: I think the biggest change (I started my career in photogrammetry in the 70s) is the use of the same tools for GIS and remote sensing. There’s this blend of technology based on the same tools. Also you are using GIS software to capture. Digital photography is far more convenient. LiDAR is going to get cheaper, and will eliminate the need for aerotriangulation. There are lots of needs for standards that don’t exist today. There isn’t going to be remote sensing or GIS education or photogrammetry without a crossover to each other.

    Peter Becker: Is all technology disruptive, and what sort of ones may be interpreted as disruptive?

    David Stanley: From my experience in remote sensing, things I find interesting we have surveys, 250 remote sensing satellites to go up in the next 10 – 12 years. I think they are amazing satellites for image processing with the evolution of multi-core computers so we can start processing imagery and data faster, using very common hardware. We are also experimenting with GPUs and automating processing fast.

    Peter Becker: Not only web standards, there are also web formats that are challenging.

    Richard Cook: We are working on object based feature extraction. PCI Geomatics supports large number of satellites right now with radiometry and other corrections.

    Mark Baker: What are the biggest businesses in technology driving future markets?

    Richard Cook: Sensor payloads are very robust.

    Drew Fisher: As they work out the rules and FAA gets technology to be more mainstream, you’ll start to see video type sensors get integrated.

    Data Provider Panel

    Mark Baker introduced the panel :

    John Auble – director, U.S. Government Sector, DigitalGlobe

    Joel Campbell – Senior director, product management, GeoEye

    Russ Cowart – CEO/president/ i-cubed

    Roger Mitchell – vice president, program development, MDA Federal

    Gerry Kinn –manager DC Technology Center, ESRI

    This panel is back by popular demand from last year. Panel requested from last year’s conference

    Mark Baker: This question regards the commitment of our profession to national programs. Imagery information has been discussed by numerous groups over the years – what are your views for a properly funded organization like Imagery for the Nation?

    John Auble
    : The principle challenge for Imagery of Nation is actually already happening, it is called “neighbors.” Many things happened through ASPRS and NSGIC. People are able to bring funds together and purchase imagery for wider use. There was a time when TIGER was the only transportation database out there, it did wonderful things for the industry, including Don Cooke creating the company GDT which then became TeleAtlas. Those are the defacto efforts in the industry. How do we meet demand sooner and tie in to the ability to say we don’t have to exhibit our demand through service products, and get out there to the growing
    service provider industry? As benefits are coming through, we’re not just getting the benefit of some markets, not just through government services.

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    -- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.


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