Welcome to GISWeekly! LizardTech announced this week the company's MrSID Generation 3 image compression format (MG3) is now supported in ESRI's ArcPad 7, making it even easier to view high-quality geospatial raster imagery on handheld devices. Read about it in this week's Industry News.
This marks the last issue of 2005 as GISWeekly will be taking a vacation. It will return to your desktop on January 9, 2006. On behalf of the staff of GISCafe and GISWeekly, I wish you all a happy holiday season and prosperous New Year.
GISWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think. Send your comments to me Here.
Susan Smith, Managing Editor
MrSID Imagery Conversion in ArcPad 7 Just Got Easier
By Susan Smith
1) What kind of time savings will ArcPad 7 users experience with the new Mr.SID support of ArcPad 7?
We've had MrSID Generation 3 format available for quite some time and the adoption rate for support in third party applications has been pretty strong. Because of that, a lot of our customers had been converting their imagery to MrSID Generation 3(MG3) for quite some time, given the inherent advantages of the file format. However, when it came to using that imagery with ArcPad, ArcPad only supported the older, MG2 format which has been around for approximately ten years or so. So they would have to use our Geo Express products and bring their existing Generation 3 images into Geo Express and then convert them to Generation 2. It's not a difficult process, just a matter of choosing what file format you want to out put to, but it is time consuming. Especially when you look at some of the file sizes that some of our customers are dealing with that are multiple gigabytes in size. It takes time to convert to Generation 2 which is especially difficult for first responders, users in critical situations, etc.
Typically if you have a 10 GB dataset it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to a few hours to convert that imagery into another format. For time sensitive information, that is critical.
With the MG3 implementation, ArcPad users can also crop and do multi-resolution mosaicking that allows them to easily combine aerial photos from different resolutions into one file. They can use GeoExpress' image compression functionality to quickly reproject and compress the images at differing compression ratios within the same mosaic.
2) Is LizardTech planning on extending this type of support to other software such as MapInfo, Intergraph, etc?
A lot of that has already taken place we have a software development kit (SDK) that we've had available for years but as far as third parties - Leica, Intergraph, etc. can take our SDK and use it to build support for our file formats into their products. ERDAS Imagine has had it for quite some time, ArcMap and ArcView have had it for a long time as well as MapInfo Professional has it integrated as well.
3) What is LizardTech's current development with the JPEG 2000 format?
The MrSID format itself can't be embedded in JPEG 2000 but we include the ability in our current version of Geo Express to encode your imagery to JPEG 2000, so if you have existing raw imagery, or legacy SID files or newer SID files coming in, you can easily convert those to JPEG 2000. It's just an output option in the application.
Our two main geospatial product lines are Geo Express, formerly known as the MrSID Encoder, but there are a lot more tools with it now that allow it to work with your imagery. And the Express Server product, which is used for serving imagery over the web. Both of those products, at least for the past year, and in some cases longer, support JPEG 2000 natively, both on the input and output. We've been on board with this for some time.
4) Can you describe a scenario where a user would use Express Server and the new MrSID support or ArcPad?
There is no direct integration between ArcPad and the Express Server with the exception of the fact that you can browse for imagery on the Express Server. But a really common workflow for a lot of customers is to use ArcPad along with ESRI's ArcIMS product web server and we have an integration with our Express Server and ArcIMS that allows you to speed up the serving of raster imagery over the web. It's just a complementary product to ArcIMS; basically we handle the heavy lifting and the working with the raster imagery, and it really speeds up the performance for users who need imagery out in the field.
Autodesk, Inc. and Microsoft Corp. announced an expansion of their existing strategic alliance to enable customers to more easily create, manage, and share critical design data at every stage of the project and product life-cycle processes. The companies announced the completion of the first phase of the expanded alliance, which includes the availability of new Autodesk DWF (Design Web Format) functionality to allow customers to easily integrate design information from Autodesk applications with Microsoft(R) Office applications and Microsoft Business Solutions-Great Plains and Microsoft Business Solutions-Axapta, now part of Microsoft Dynamics.
NVision Solutions, Inc. announced the acquisition of PixSell, Inc. for an undisclosed sum of money. NVision plans to operate the company as a wholly-owned subsidiary, specializing in tracking and real-time data management. In the transaction, NVision received stock, assets, and existing contracts from PixSell, formerly PixSell Data Brokers.
EarthData CEO Anne Hale Miglarese announced plans to work with Microsoft Corp. to bolster Windows Live Local powered by Virtual Earth, Microsoft's online mapping tool. Under the 5-year agreement, EarthData will supply Microsoft with new imagery, lidar, and radar data acquisition and map production support to keep Windows Live Local populated with current, accurate, high-resolution geospatial information. Microsoft will also have access to EarthData's own data archives. The agreement also includes research, development, and investment to improve production efficiency and develop new product offerings.
Orion Technology, a provider of web-GIS software and integration services and Digital Highway an established provider of custom software solutions to public and private enterprises and government agencies throughout Italy, announced that the two companies have signed a business partnership agreement. Under terms of the partnership, Digital Highway will offer Orion's OnPoint Suite of web-GIS software products to the Italian market.
Sleepycat Software, maker of the widely deployed open source developer databases, announced that Berkeley DB XML is used by MapServer Enterprise, a new software platform that lets developers build and manage web-based geospatial applications. Berkeley DB XML serves as the common repository for storing connections to geospatial data and the rules for presenting the data, allowing MapServer Enterprise users to easily create interactive maps and define the appearance of map features such as roads, freeways and city borders.
Autodesk recently announced that it is releasing the MapServer Enterprise code as open source to the new MapServer Foundation , an independent non-profit organization with the mission of supporting and promoting open source web-based mapping tools.