November 10, 2008
View from the Exhibit Hall
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View from the Exhibit Hall
By Susan Smith
At last week’s GEOINT Symposium, presenters’ messages were laced with anticipation about what changes the new Administration would bring. Now, after a very exciting Presidential election, Americans are looking forward to change.
What this means for geointelligence still remains to be seen. With two wars and the issue of terrorism to contend with, it’s unlikely that the market for geointelligence technology in the U.S. will subside in spite of a floundering economy.
Exhibitors at GEOINT demonstrated their optimism in the future with a showcase of examples of products and solutions developed for geointelligence.
The following is an overview of the announcements made by some GEOINT exhibitors:
Northrop Grumman is a company that has been formed by strategic acquisitions. According to the company, senior people on staff are in “constant communication” with the military. Highlighted at the conference was its recent acquisition of 3001 International, a company known for providing geospatial data production and analysis, including airborne imaging, surveying, mapping and GIS for domestic and international intelligence, defense and civilian customers.
The addition of 3001 to Northrop Grumman brings an opportunity to enhance collection architecture, and offers imaging capability that the company hasn’t had before, including lower altitude for higher resolution. Once collected, 3001 brings sophisticated imaging processing capability and LiDAR. The company does persistence surveillance and collection surveillance 24/7 on different layers.
Further, the two companies share synergies that will complement each other, such as Northrop’s high performance computing.
Among Northrop Grumman’s other demonstrations:
A route planning scenario that integrates Northrop Grumman geospatial architecture framework capabilities to address customer requirements, including semantic search, sensor Web enablement, data conflation and fusion, and geoprocessing and visualization services.
Social Mining Analytic Collaboration (SMAC), a new approach to intelligence gathering, leveraging Web 2.0 capabilities to offer a set of advanced analytic tools with a secure collaborative environment.
The Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) Enterprise Framework, a framework of fixed and deployable ground processing systems for multi-source tactical intelligence, that forms that structure for all Northrop Grumman DCGS products and services.
Trinidad provides high resolution synthetic aperture radar imaging to the U.S. Military and government through a partnership between Northrop Grumman and Israel Aerospace Industries.
ObjectFX defines itself as “not a full-fledged GIS” yet they are system integrators, creating a software platform to add geospatial capabilities for analysis into enterprise applications.
Inspired by the NGA, ObjectFX’s new spatiotemporal rules engine, SpatialRules version 3.0, is designed to provide “actionable intelligence to the right people in real time.” This enables users to monitor operations and respond to changing situations more quickly.
SpatialRules is actually a service oriented (SOA) middleware component capable of managing and analyzing large amounts of spatiotemporal data, then transforming it into usable information. Enterprise government organizations will find it useful for intelligence, homeland security and defense as it works with user-defined rule layers that allow users to track moving objects or real time events through automatic system generated notifications.
The technology could be viewed in action at the See-Know-Share exhibit which showcased NGA/NRO emergent capabilities.
ITT Visual Information Solutions’ Christopher Jengo was named the winner of the 2008 Geospatial Intelligence Award in the Industry Achievement Category, awarded annually by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIS). Jengo’s work on the development of SPEAR (Spectral Processing Exploitation and Analysis Resource) tools earned him this distinction. SPEAR, a suite of more than 15 tools for use with ENVI software, enables image analysts and spectral scientists with limited advanced geospatial intelligence knowledge to create intelligence products within tactical guidelines without a lot of or any training. Common automated tasks for SPEAR include pan
sharpening, change detection and terrain categorization, as well as detecting lines of communication.
A visit with ITT Visual Information Solutions’ senior image scientist Bernard Brower revealed that additions to the SPEAR suite would be included in the upcoming ENVI 4.6 software release scheduled for release Q1 2009.
Also to ITT’s credit is the commercial imagery sensor that is in WorldView 1 and GeoEye 1, both launched this year. ITT is responsible for the process from capture through processing to delivery, and can optimize systems before the system is flying. Brower said that digital sensor cameras for commercial are becoming larger, and consequently it is harder managing data. ITT is now moving into the airborne delivery of systems. They use the IAS solution to stream data to users instantly.
A real concern is to be able to get data to warfighters and system administrators. Brower noted that commercial data providers must deliver data in NPJE, a complex compression that is slow. EPJE is a faster format and sends less data across the bandwidth at once. For warfighters on disadvantaged networks, they need programs where they can view data on low bandwidths, and system administrators need to stay within budget.
ERDAS is about to ship their ERDAS 2009 product. Showcased at the conference were the recently announced ERDAS APOLLO 2009, and new releases of ERDAS IMAGINE, LPS and ERDAS TITAN.
In addition the company joined with SGI in demonstrating the main server from Empire Challenge 2008, a server that hosted indexed metadata for data stores of imagery, serving data by way of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Services.
Held at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Empire Challenge 2008 showed joint and coalition interoperability among (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms, systems and sensors. ERDAS with their OGC-compliant server, together with the Penn State Electro-Optic Center and Geospatial Industries, Inc. supported the OGC pilot by executing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) missions at Naval Air Warfare Center.
Introduced by Intergraph was new software functionality for its Geospatial Intelligence Production solution that is designed for defense and intelligence professionals to create geospatial analysis products more efficiently and quickly. With ImageStation Stereo for GeoMedia, users can capture photogrammetric 3D data using stereo imagery of aerial and satellite sensors in a GIS environment. Then analysts can collect, manipulate and update geometry and map feature attributes and do validations of geometry, producing more accurate maps.
According to Robert Mott, director Military and Intelligence Solutions and Leah Wood, Defense & Intelligence Industry manager, intelligence fusion is an area where they will begin to use UAV Video as a feature collection tool in the future. By integrating video with GIS they plan to offer more value. “The data management of UAV is still under development,” Mott said. In a partnership with Skyline Software, some UAV technology is available now.
Intergraph’s flagship geospatial product, Geomedia, can be tiered on top of classified add ons. TerraShare makes it possible to integrate imagery into time and mission critical applications like emergency response, highway design, and land information management applications. TerraShare provides an enterprise solution, structuring all geospatial imagery into a single enterprise catalog that is organized logically to meet user needs and workflows.
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-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.
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