Image Data Collection -Digital Mapping Cameras and Airborne Digital Sensors
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Image Data Collection -Digital Mapping Cameras and Airborne Digital Sensors

Message from the Editor -

Welcome to GISWeekly! Digital mapping cameras and airborne digital sensors are a mainstay in high resolution and engineering work, yet these systems operate on completely different principles from each other, consequently providing different capabilities necessary in the collection of image data. Read about these technologies this week in the Industry News.

GISWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Acquisitions/Alliances/Agreements, Announcements, New Products, Going on Around the Web, and Upcoming Events.

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

Best wishes,
Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News
Image Data Collection - Digital Mapping Cameras and Airborne Digital Sensors

By Susan Smith

Digital mapping cameras and airborne digital sensors are a mainstay in high resolution and engineering work, yet these systems operate on completely different principles from each other, consequently providing different capabilities necessary in the collection of image data.

I spoke with John Craig, remote sensing director for 3001, Inc., a company that acquires, processes and develops value added products like GIS and linework from imagery taken with digital mapping cameras and airborne digital sensors.

The two cameras 3001, Inc. uses are the Leica ADS40 Airborne Digital Sensor and Intergraph Z/I Imaging's Digital Mapping Camera (DMC). “We are able to use both cameras on different types of work,” said Craig. “Generally Z/I Imaging's DMC is especially great for very high resolution, engineering work and photogrammetry. We've been able to get imagery with a resolution and pixel size of up to 1 inch or 1 /2 inch. The Leica ADS40 is not capable of that high level of resolution. However, one of the advantages of the ADS40 is that you get your imagery in really long strips. If you're working on large geographic areas, lower resolution like aerial coverages, there are advantages because you can do the work more efficiently and cheaper.”

According to Craig, the Leica ADS40 is a line scanning instrument whereas the Intergraph DMC is a framing camera, meaning it takes a picture at a time and each picture is a rectangle. “The DMC is more similar to what people are accustomed to thinking of as a camera. In other words, it takes pictures, and each picture has height and width,” Craig explained. “The ADS40 is a scanning instrument and is more similar to a satellite sensor in that as the instrument passes, as the airplane moves, it captures one line of imagery at a time and builds up the image line by line.”

Z/I Imaging's DMC has only black and white full resolution and the color cameras are reduced resolution. “They used the black and white to sharpen or merge the black and white with the color,” Craig noted. “The result is perfectly fine for most mapping purposes. On the other hand, for applications where you need precise color information, the remote sensing type application, you'd probably prefer the ADS40.”

3001, Inc. has also worked with some hyperspectral data, and usually partner with another company to do hyperspectral jobs. “Basically a hyperspectral instrument works more similarly to a Leica ADS40 in that it also captures strips of data,” said Craig.

Z/I Imaging's Digital Mapping Camera (DMC)

The DMC captures imagery with proven ground resolutions as small as 1½ inches per pixel. Throughout each stage of the project life cycle, imagery captured with the DMC maintains its geometric and radiometric quality - from mission planning all the way through photogrammetric production, client/server image management and storage and distribution.

DMC's framing technology and multi-use sensor are especially useful for acquiring geometrically stable imagery and simultaneously collecting multi-spectral data to enable the generation of black and white, natural color and false-color infrared imagery from a single airborne data set. The camera minimizes the number of flights necessary to obtain high accuracy imagery suitable for downstream photogrammetric processes.

On the business side of things, Z/I Imaging is continuing to merge operations with all the other mainstream activities of Intergraph Mapping and GIS. They are adding their vast expertise of imaging, elevations and image management to the GIS product lines. In some cases, the GIS team helps Z/I with their products. “I would say there is more of an integration of the team,” noted Dr. Terry Keating of Z/I Imaging. “We are putting together industry solutions or focus groups to keep the product focus the same as it has always been. The focus has been extended a little bit to be more aware of some of the GIS trends in the industry.”

Over the past year, they have refined the DMC so that it's not only compatible with their photogrammetric software but also with everyone else's in the industry. There is a waiting list for the $1.4 million product. According to Dr. Keating, “We made sure that the sensor could be used with others just as we made sure that other sensors could be used with our products. We've made some improvements to the scanner, primarily to color balancing. This is a technology where we take the film and get it into a electronic form for the processing.”

Z/I Imaging has introduced a new product called the Z/I Mouse, which is a sophisticated 3D measuring device that allows you to look in stereo onscreen, roll the thumbwheel and get elevations to come on the screen and thereby improve data collection processes in a 3D environment. In addition, Intergraph and Optech Inc. have entered into a strategic alliance to sell a bundled solution consisting of Optech's Airborne Laser Terrain Mapper and the DMC at a special bundled price - leveraging advanced airborne data capture technology to offer cost savings and production efficiency.

Leica ADS40 Airborne Digital Sensor

George Southard, director of global sensor sales for Leica, handles everything that is airborne at the company. He described the ADS40 design this way: “The camera design is based on the proven satellite design of a pushbroom type sensor, which means the CCD, or charged coupled device, is a single line of pixels. As you're flying along you're collecting data line by line rather than patch by patch. That is applied to the airborne environment, so the ADS40 is a satellite to be used in aircraft for imaging.” The camera or sensor has full color red, green, and blue and near infrared channel and also the black and white of the panchromatic channels. “We have basically three cameras in one,” explained Southard. “You are collecting a continuous strip. We refer to it as a 'pixel carpet,' which is a long thin strip of data that is collected as you're flying. The width of that strip is almost identical to the width of standard aerial photographs that we've been doing over the years. so it's a wide strip but continuous. It is a linear CCD, 12,000 pixels wide and 1 long.” The airplane gets to the end of that flight line and makes a turn and comes back the other way on an adjacent strip that overlaps one strip to the next. The result is that you are dealing with very few files. Those files are quite large, very high density image files. “It improves the overall production flow for the operator after collection to be able to view relatively few data files and to stitch those files together to create coverages for whole states or counties. It's been proven over the last 2 ½ years to 3 years to be an extremely productive system.”

Modern softcopy systems can handle the pixel carpets quite easily. “You couldn't possibly have done that with an analytical plotter,” noted Southard.

The ADS40 was originally designed in a modular way to be able to incorporate various upgrades and technology advancements as time went on. “There are several types of technological advances coming along that are already impacting the ADS40, one of them is having much more robust and denser storage devices, for the storage of the data onboard, which means we have much smaller storage containers to store all the data. When we originally designed the system we anticipated having quite a large rack of storage disks. Now it's a briefcase sized unit that will hold up to a terabyte of data.

“The other major advancement we're seeing in the market is in the actual CCD's themselves, said Southard. “There are many new technologies in CCDs, allowing them to function much more quickly and do multiple types of processing right at the chip level rather than having to do all the electronic processing later, so the chips themselves will have many processors. These are very small, 6-8 micron chips.” CCDs are always advancing and are able to operate faster and faster with less integration time, which would be like exposure time on a film camera. According to Southard, as the integration time becomes faster, you can fly your airplanes faster, and become more efficient.

With digital cameras of any kind, as opposed to film cameras, Southard noted, parts can be upgraded and advanced as technology advances, which protects the customer's investment in a system over a longer period of time.

ISPRS in Istanbul

Southard just returned from the XXth Congress of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing ISPRS Conference in Istanbul, Turkey. He reported that as far as Leica was concerned, there were very few customers from North America but the rest of the world was well represented. “There were a lot of people from the Mideast, and Eastern and Western Europe and Africa. Approximately 2500 people attended. The most important thing was the quality of customers for us. We did a lot of work in advance, set up appointments for demos with customers ahead of time, before they got to conference, so we knew what our itinerary would be for the rest of the week. We got a lot of good leads there. Most of the major U.S. vendors were there: Spectrum, Applanix, Intergraph, and ESRI. It was worthwhile, a great conference, we like to support it as a company. We can do all our divisions with a single pass. All six divisions were represented in our booth.” Most U.S. customers had already attended the ASPRS conference in the U.S. in the spring, so did not feel the need to travel all the way to Turkey-a 27-hour flight for Southard (located in Denver) -- for this conference.


In May 2004, VARGIS was awarded a three-year contract with the US Department of Agriculture for the National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP). VARGIS is one of ten contractors selected as a vendor for this program. In year one of the contract, VARGIS was awarded the State of Pennsylvania and will collect leaf-on color infrared (CIR) aerial photography of the entire State at a resolution of 1-meter.


Will Wilbrink, Chief Solutions Architect for MapInfo Corporation (NASDAQ: MAPS), will deliver a keynote address at the 17th Annual GIS in the Rockies Conference. Wilbrink will present “Enabling the Mobile Workforce with Location Aware Services.”

Ordnance Survey is planning to create Britain's a comprehensive civilian framework for utilizing satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) signals. Advanced data collection technology will be rolled out in a new survey method backed by a trebling of the number of fixed GPS reference stations - from 30 now to a projected figure of more than 100 across the whole country.

The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) announced that in the first 100 days since its publication in April, sales of its 2003-2004 Geospatial Technology Report are up 180% over sales of the previous year's report during its first three months of release. “That remarkable statistic simply affirms the fact that the Geospatial Technology Report is increasingly being recognized as a valuable benchmarking tool,” said GITA Executive Director Bob Samborski. (see GISWeekly July 26, 2004)

ESRI launched the Mobile Government Grant Series . ESRI teamed with Trimble, the world leader in global positioning systems (GPS), to create a grant program to help government agencies better understand how to deploy GIS and GPS technologies to help make governments more efficient and productive.

According to, Middle East North Africa Financial Network, an expert panel Thursday said there are financial and security concerns in the integration of the U.S. Global Positioning System with Europe's Galileo system. The United States and European Union in June reached an agreement for cooperation between the two satellite navigation systems after years of rivalry. Speakers at a panel convened by the group Women in Aerospace expressed support and hope for cooperation, but some said conflicting interests might compromise U.S. security.

The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) announced that for the first time in its history, the government sector represents the largest segment of the association's user base. Government employees make up 29% of GITA's user members, followed by electric utilities at 23%, electric and gas combination at 12%, oil and gas pipeline and gas utilities at 11% each, water/wastewater at 9%, telecom at 4%, and 3% in other industries.

The WhiteStar Corporation announced the availability of T&R 100 Plus, a 1:100,000 scale database of Public Land Survey Data for those 29 States in the United States using the Public Land Survey System plus abstract numbers and abstract polygons for the state of Texas. The data were derived from a variety of sources, compiled, and edge matched to seamlessly provide a cost effective solution for mapping section, township and range data at the 1:100,000 scale. This scale provides an accuracy of approximately +/- 167 feet.

ESRI participated in the fiftieth meeting of the Technical and Planning Committee Meetings of the Open GIS Consortium, Inc.(tm) (OGC(tm)), June 14-18, 2004, held at the United Kingdom Ordnance Survey in Southampton, United Kingdom. With its Strategic Alliance partner Safe Software, ESRI demonstrated the ArcGIS Data Interoperability extension to ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo; Web Map Server (WMS) and Web Feature Server (WFS) support for ArcIMS 9; and WMS support for ArcGIS 9 Desktop. ESRI is an active member of both the OGC Technical Committee and Planning Committee and is engaged in various working groups within the Open GIS Consortium building and testing specifications for GIS interoperability.

For more information on the ESRI Interoperability Program, visit

The Malaysian Centre for Remote Sensing (MACRES) has signed a three-year agreement with Spot Image for imagery reception from the entire SPOT constellation -- SPOT 2, 4 and 5. This is the latest of a network of 22 SPOT stations located around the globe.

Orion Technology Inc. announced the sale of development rights of its CARe product to Class Government Solutions, a division of Vancouver-based Class Software Solutions. Class will use its new software acquisition to complement its current payment management and cashiering products aimed at government and community agencies. CARe provides CGS with a centralized web-based solution for managing and tracking customer information requests and complaints.

At the OGC's 50th Technical Committee meeting this month in Southampton, UK, two new Technical Committee working groups were formed: the Geospatial Digital Rights Management Working Group (GeoDRM WG) and the University Working Group (University WG).

GeoDRM Working Group will develop a system of operating agreements and interoperable technologies to enable broader use of geodata while protecting the rights of producers and users. In particular, the group will identify, develop, and validate a standards environment for the protection of spatial data ownership rights. University Working Group will work to increase participation of universities in the Consortium and strengthen their role by forming an academic advisory group, expanding universities' role in advancing spatial data infrastructures globally, and working to make geoprocessing interoperability a part of the research agenda, methods and curricula of university GIScience and computer science departments globally.

Geodan Mobile Solutions in cooperation with the Spatial Information Laboratory (SPINLab) of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam organized a 3-day course on Location Based Services (LBS). The course is part of the Amsterdam New Media Institute's summer school that takes place in Amsterdam between 23 and 27 August.

Everything-Mobile is launched to address the needs of novice GPS users who are interested in purchasing GPS products but do not know where to start or what to purchase. Customers benefit from knowledgeable advisors who understand their needs and guide them in product selection.

For more information, go to

Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK) announced three government agencies who have successfully implemented the complete Autodesk Emergency Response Solution. Working with these agencies, Autodesk provided technologies and services that help emergency response teams access, display, and analyze critical data so they can respond to emergencies quickly and confidently. The cities of Sheboygan, Wisconsin and Grand Forks, North Dakota, and the State of Florida have implemented the complete Autodesk solution this year.

With the 2004 Presidential election season heating up, MapInfo (NASDAQ: MAPS) released interesting lifestyle facts about Americans living in the key swing states of Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina. Using its PSYTE® U.S. Advantage segmentation solution, MapInfo uncovered the television viewing and past time habits of this year's key swing voter groups. Reaching these demographics will be crucial for this year's presidential candidates.

ESRI participated in the fiftieth meeting of the Technical and Planning Committee Meetings of the Open GIS Consortium, Inc.(tm) (OGC(tm)), June 14-18, 2004, held at the United Kingdom Ordnance Survey in Southampton, United Kingdom. With its Strategic Alliance partner Safe Software, ESRI demonstrated the ArcGIS Data Interoperability extension to ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo; Web Map Server (WMS) and Web Feature Server (WFS) support for ArcIMS 9; and WMS support for ArcGIS 9 Desktop. ESRI is an active member of both the OGC Technical Committee and Planning Committee and is engaged in various working groups within the Open GIS Consortium building and testing specifications for GIS interoperability.

Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced that pre-registration is open for its inaugural series of BE Meetings. BE Meetings are Bentley's professional training events, now held worldwide. They include scores of professional training courses and technology updates, keynote presentations by Bentley executives, project presentations by Bentley users including BE Award winners, and a wide range of networking opportunities. BE Meetings will occur in these countries on the dates listed:

Germany: October 5 and 6

Bad Neuenahr at the Dorint Hotel, Germany

United Kingdom: October 25 to 27

The Oxford Paramount Hotel, Oxford, U.K.

China: November 9 and 10

Guangzhou province - Location to be determined

Japan: November 11 and 12

Intercontinental Tokyo Bay Hotel, Tokyo, Japan
For more information visit

Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN) announced record revenue and earnings for its second fiscal quarter ended June 26, 2004. Revenue for the quarter increased 32 percent to $189.7 million from $143.5 million in the year-ago quarter. Net income was $56.3 million, or $0.52 diluted earnings per share, compared to $47.2 million or $0.43 diluted earnings per share in the year-ago quarter. Second quarter net income included a $3.6 million foreign currency gain as a result of a stronger U.S. dollar compared to the Taiwan dollar. Excluding the effects of foreign currency, diluted EPS for the quarter was $0.49 compared to $0.44 in the year-ago quarter, exceeding the high end of management's guidance of $0.44 to $0.48.

Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) announced results for its second fiscal quarter ended July 2, 2004. The Company reported second quarter revenues of approximately $179.5 million, a 30 percent increase over the approximately $138.1 million reported in the second quarter of 2003. The second quarter is typically the Company's strongest due to seasonality in the Engineering and Construction (E&C) market.


Tadpole-Cartesia, Inc. announced the appointment of Don Fryhover as director of sales and marketing for North American markets. In this capacity, Fryhover will lead Tadpole-Cartesia's drive to extend its ESRI-based enterprise data management business with government, municipalities, and service industries.

New Products

Acquis announced the release of Acquis Data Editor (ADE) a unique, OGC-compliant, low-cost, web-based solution for the editing of Oracle Database 10g topology and Oracle 8i/9i/10g Locator, Spatial geometry and attribute data. Acquis's ADE software, which is built entirely on the Oracle technology platform, is free from all the limitations and restrictions of legacy GIS systems and their proprietary development environments.

MapInfo announced the availability of Routing J Server v3.0 in Europe, enabling developers to add routing and drivetime functionality to any web-based or windows-based application. This includes the ability to generate routes and driving directions as well as more sophisticated uses to solve logistical problems involving multiple destinations or for drivetime analysis.

The Sidwell Company is pleased to announce the release of Parcel Builder. The Parcel Builder software suite is a product developed exclusively by The Sidwell Company, and provides users with a comprehensive set of tools for use in ArcMap 9.0 by ESRI.

PCI Geomatics announced the release of GeoRaster ETL for Oracle - an Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) product that allows users to leverage Oracle's enhanced support for raster data in Oracle 10g.

Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), introduced the iQue 3200, which joins the award-winning iQue 3600 as the only Palm Powered™ personal digital assistants (PDAs) that offer fully integrated Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. These products combine the portability of a PDA and the utility of an automotive navigation system in a sleek, lightweight design.

Miner & Miner (M&M) is pleased to announce the release of the ArcFM Solution 9.0. With this release, M&M is one of the first of ESRI's development partners to support the ArcGIS 9 platform. The release is certified with ESRI's ArcGIS 9.0 version and includes all the functionality that was available in the ArcFM 8.3.2 release.

XEMICS announces the release of their latest GPS module, designed for volume manufacturers of consumer products to add location capability with minimal impact on device size whilst retaining power efficiency. The ultra low power SlimGPS™ RGPSM202 receivers are fully autonomous modules that provide position, speed and time information derived from the Global Positioning System.

Blue Marble Geographics ( announced the release of a new version of the world's most recognized coordinate conversion libraries, GeoCalc 5.3. This dynamic link library (DLL) for Windows programmers is used for embedding real-time coordinate conversion in Windows applications. These libraries are also used by our Geographic Calculator and Geographic Transformer products, thus used worldwide by thousands of basic to advanced GIS analysts at universities, oil and gas companies, civil engineering, surveying, technology, enterprise GIS groups, and military organizations.

The Mapmaker's Wife: a True Tale of Love, Murder and Survival in the Amazon, by Robert Whitaker, Basic Books, $25 - Centuries before satellite imagery, mapmakers ascended the Andes to measure the globe. By the 16th century, scientists had generally acknowledged that the earth was a globe.

Around the Web...

June's Report Card for the IT 100, Business Week Online, by William Andrews, July 9, 2004--Which members of BusinessWeek's Info Tech 100 have done best so far in 2004? Here are the top 10 from their list of the world's top-performing IT companies, as ranked by price performance year-to-date through June 30, as well as the 10 worst performers.

Wireless Surfers Have it Made in the Shade, USA Today, by Laura Bly, July 27, 2004-- "Is it possible to live on the road for weeks at a time in an RV when your lives depend on high-speed Internet access?"

Web entrepreneurs Angela and Richard Hoy, who posed that question on their recently launched blog, are answering with an enthusiastic thumbs-up.

Upcoming Events...

TerraScan User Event
Date: August 2 - 6, 2004
Place: El Segundo, CA USA
LiDAR data processing software training

Second Annual Survey & GIS Summit 2004--Bridging the Gap
Date: August 7 - 10, 2004
Place: San Diego, CA USA
ESRI invites surveyors, engineers, educators, and GIS practitioners from all over the world to participate in this event.

ESRI Telecom and LBS Summit
Date: August 8, 2004
Place: San Diego, CA USA
ESRI will present the fifth annual ESRI Telecommunications and Location-Based Services Summit immediately prior to the 24th Annual ESRI International User Conference

24th Annual ESRI International User Conference
Date: August 9 - 13, 2004
Place: San Diego, CA USA
The UC is your opportunity to view software demonstrations and participate in activities such as technical workshops designed to expand your GIS capabilities.

GITA Australia/New Zealand Conference 2004 "IT systems for critical infrastructure protection and asset management"
Date: August 9 - 11, 2004
Place: Hilton Hotel Melbourne, Australia
With an emphasis on Critical Infrastructure Protection, the confirmed major national and international speakers include keynote Else Shepherd, Chairman of Powerlink (a Queensland-based corporation that owns, develops, operates and maintains Queensland's high-voltage electricity transmission network, a AUD$3 billion network extends 1,700km from north of Cairns to the New South Wales border, approximately half of Australias eastern seaboard). Other speakers include Cindy Sales from Centerpoint Energy based in Houston Texas, an Electricity and Gas utility with over 5 million customers and Peter Gomez of Xcel Energy in Colorado, who will speak on mergers and acquisitions and critical infrastructure protection in Japan.

GIS BRASIL 2004 at COMDEX Brasil 2004
Date: August 17 - 20, 2004
Place: Anhembi's Exhibition Pavillion Brazil
GIS BRASIL is Latin America's largest event geared to the geotechnology market. Every year, since 1994, the companies of this industry and potential users get together to participate in the many activities that take place simultaneously: Conference, courses, the Geotechnology Fair, and the Scientific Talent Show. Specific activities for different audiences such as agriculture, electric power, telecommunications, geomarketing, the environment, city management, and others, are programmed, activities that demonstrate, in practice, how geotechnology accounts for an important competitive advantage in each one of these industries. The activities developed for the Conference are geared mainly to meet users' needs, with a special focus on cases, with the purpose of fostering information exchange.

2004 Geospatial Technology Symposium and Exposition
Date: August 17 - 19, 2004
Place: San Antonio, TX USA
The staff of the CADD/GIS Technology Center is pleased to announce our sixth Symposium and Exposition! This year's Symposium will once again be co-located with the Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence's Joint Services Environmental Management Conference & Exhibition (JSEM) and the GeoBase Compass Conference at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas on August 17-19, 2004. Each Symposium gets more diverse and exciting and this year's will not be an exception. Expect many exciting presentations on topics related to CADD, GIS, FM, Remote Sensing, and Survey/Mapping.

Map Asia 2004
Date: August 18 - 20, 2004
Place: Beijing International Convention Centre Beijing, China
Founded in the year 2002, Map Asia 2004 is the largest and the 3rd Annual Asian Conference and Exhibition in the field of GIS, GPS, Aerial Photography and Remote Sensing.