Remote Sensing and GIS
Joel Campbell: As more imagery becomes available, a nationwide program that collects every 3 years, when there is an insatiable demand for more frequent imagery of higher quality, we need to provide it at a predetermined price that will satisfy need.
Mark Baker: We talked about the core for greater synergy between remote sensing and GIS to bring them together in a meaningful way. What are we supposed to think about from the data perspective?
Gerry Kinn: It’s been a point of conversation for 30 years. Users redefine their feature content, and if GIS users, if scientifically based, how do we bring those communities together? The answer lies in extracting information for each of those users in their communities. We need to get partners to work with us, and feed the geodatabase. This will be GIS for feature extraction and drives that process for a specific business community.
When imagery is feeding a business need, it will happen through software or hardware architecture, and you will see more GIS feature data utilized. We’re still not at that rapid maturing process yet.
Russ Cowart: You need to distill the piece of information you need in your business process.
Roger Mitchell: Data has to come from some external observation. An expert has to take it and translate it into information and put it into a raw map. That part is very extensive. We’ll have a lot more data coming along. We will need to do extraction from features in real time. That will be a paradigm shift because data will only be six months old instead of five or more years old and users will use it more.
Mark Baker: In the post 911 era, regarding the privacy of individuals in society, what data can we share publicly in web applications? And how do you respond to these issues in your own businesses?
Joel Campbell: We face this every day. Google Earth is starting to expose street level videos and data that takes the heat of satellite vendors. While we might be accumulating and sharing information that hasn’t been done historically, the information we typically share is not anything that can’t be received by driving down a road and seeing the same thing. We have to take a more global view of the problem. Over the next 5-10 years there will be hundreds of electro-optical satellites over countries. A satellite orbiting the earth doesn’t see political or ethnic boundaries, it doesn’t recognize anything else.
There are features we want to protect for various reasons. I think there are government standards in place to protect critical infrastructure. The policies we make won’t be the same in other countries.
John Auble: As an industry we might be forced into self regulation. There is some public information that shouldn’t be made public, such as your medical records. We want that kept private. But our property records; you go to any local county agency you can find your neighbor’s property practices – we accept that. We have been looking in other people’s backyards in foreign countries. There is the example of Darfur where Amnesty International exposed how they were torturing.
Gerry Kinn: We want to make things possible. We are going to learn in the process, as a software provider must allow people to either share or keep things private. It’s going to be an issue of society sorting out what will be open.
We need to figure out how to make data more usable. SOA and being able to access datasets that are being accessed in real time, and data appliances are very useful in some ways.
Joel Campbell: When we have the additional satellites in November with the appliance in place, they did get data connections. They were working on putting the communication network in place for disaster times. We think it’s more about data, processing capabilities to improve, bandwidth and looking at delivery and compression technologies. For us it’s all about timeliness, accessibility and the authoritative nature of the information you’re providing, not necessarily the data which is the foundational building block.
Russ Cowart: The appliance is an interim step. It’s about getting the right information for people who want to consume natural color in precache, who don’t care about bandwidth. It’s a very cost effective way until we get sufficient bandwidth.
Gerry Kinn: What’s limiting us in this community is not technology, it’s our own imagination. The reason we built appliances, is for the value to the people who use this. As a remote sensing community, we can figure out what value there is beyond what we’ve done over last 30 years.
More data is becoming available through different means. Our community is driven by advances of spatial resolution.
Joel Campbell: For our most recent satellite, GeoEye-1, our license from NOAA restricts satellite imagery to 50 centimeters. We are disadvantaged by how much of our data we can put into the commercial marketplace. While our government customers are excited about the possibilities, there’s a big disconnect between what’s available commercially and what’s allowed governmentally. I think it could be a factor in our industry, and what we’re able to produce without restriction. The problem is policy not technology, all good intentioned people are facing that problem. Part of the government problem is what do we want that continuity program to have – not just for Imagery for the Nation or Landsat, if we want to continue to lead in the remote sensing marketplace, then we need the ability to create better technologies and government needs to be part of that commitment.
John Auble: What challenges do you see on the co-registration side?
Roger Mitchell: Whatever is the best is what you co-register. For certain applications you need to have tightened registration, need to resample data. You always want to gravitate to the best data set at that time. In the U.S. we co-register to that.
Gerry Kinn: There are huge challenges in co registration as you go to higher resolution, for example, a building taken from one angle lens one direction, we need to know the precise height of the building, but you may not know the precise angle of the building, and number of pixels.
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