November 09, 2009
Imagining with ERDAS IMAGINE 2010
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

Imagining with ERDAS IMAGINE 2010

By Susan Smith

Complete user interface overhaul, organizing by workflow, parallel processing, web processing services, and automation are just some of the new features in ERDAS IMAGINE 2010. Mladen Stojic, senior vice president, Product Management and Marketing for ERDAS, described this as a big release for the company. Besides announcing ERDAS IMAGINE 2010, the company announced LPS 2010, ERDAS APOLLO 2010 and other desktop and enterprise products. In addition, at GEOINT 2009, ERDAS introduced several new products, including IMAGINE Feature Interoperability and IMAGINE SAR Interferometry as well as a technology preview of LPS eATE.

ERDAS releases new products annually; ERDAS IMAGINE is their flagship desktop authoring product. “On desktop side we’ve initiated a renaissance within ERDAS IMAGINE which is a complete overhaul of our user interface,” said Stojic. “We basically moved away from the box looking scientific interface to something more modern and more usable for customers, and that is implementing the Microsoft ribbon concept within the interface.”

The product is organized by workflow so customers don’t have to search through pull down menus and different interfaces. Customers now have direct access to the tools they need when they need them within the ribbon interface. This really improves usability and productivity, according to Stojic.

Secondly, performance is a big issue with customers. “We’ve implemented new technologies for running parallel processes within ERDAS IMAGINE, thereby improving the performance of customers, particularly those with multiple licenses, for viewing imagery, producing mosaics, and producing different types of data sets within the ERDAS IMAGINE framework,” said Stojic.

Production time is also improved with bringing together mosaicking large datasets from various image data sets.

“A customer with 5,000 images -- what used to take 30 minutes before is now dramatically reduced to minutes,” said Stojic.. “So we’ve improved the performance of mosaics anywhere from 8 to 10 times, so that has greatly impacted the speed with which customers produce data sets.”

ERDAS has devoted a lot of time to making IMAGINE a multithreaded application so it allows parallel processing, and the user can run parallel processes on one machine, exploiting that investment customers have made in hardware.

Spatial analysis is an area that demands interoperability, and a lot of ERDAS customers do a lot of spatial modeling, trying to model the earth and understand the different phenomenon in processes going on in the earth’s surface. IMAGINE’s spatial modeling environment is used extensively to create spatial models. “Unfortunately up until now, a lot of information in these models is still contained in sort of the scientist/researcher realm, although the final results are very useful to people inside and outside an organization,” Stojic noted.

According to the press release, IMAGINE Feature Interoperability is a new module supporting DGN Direct-read, write and editing, including symbolization colors, cells (points with shapes assigned to them), text, relating to external attribute sources such as Oracle tables and the use of the spatial indexing and caching for roaming, zooming, etc.

Web processing services make it possible for spatial models within IMAGINE to be catalogued and served as Web services. A scientist can continue to produce these models but now others who don’t necessarily understand the domain but need that information can now can access it using ERDAS APOLLO.

Stojic said the connectivity between ERDAS IMAGINE and APOLLO is getting even stronger with the OGC Web Processing Service (WPS). In addition, ERDAS IMAGINE also incorporates the ERDAS ER Mapper algorithms and implements not only comprehensive OGC Web Processing Service (WPS), but Web Coverage Service (WCS), Web Mapping Service (WMS) and Catalog Services for the Web (CS-W).

Geoprocessing is another key release theme within the ERDAS 2010 release, that really connects the desktop to the enterprise. “We go from producing these models to cataloguing these models and then allowing people through web interfaces to get information for these models through a web client or web browser,” Stojic explained. The extension of the utilization of geospatial data to users who use information from the data is a big improvement.

New capabilities for radar processing have been introduced in IMAGINE SAR Interferometry which is fully integrated into ERDAS IMAGINE. Including intelligent defaults and optimized processing, IMAGINE SAR Interferometry is used for the precise measurement of ground or surface movement, particularly for understanding change, and things that are moving. These features, part of the IMAGINE Radar Mapping Suite, are called IMAGINE Coherence Change Detection and IMAGINE InSAR. New interpolation techniques increase the quality and accuracy of radar data.

Enhanced Automated Terrain Extraction eATE is an improvement in the automation with which customers produce terrain data. The new technology is for extracting highly accurate and highly dense point clouds from imagery, called LPS eATE. It works with not only airborne digital imagery but also satellite imagery, aerial frame imagery and aerial digital imagery.

ERDAS APOLLO 2010 implements an out-of-the box Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), that provides a publish, find and bind workflow for any data type. It focuses on the enterprise and includes a three tiered packaging approach which will be broken down into APOLLO Essentials, APOLLO Advantage, and APOLLO Professional. According to Stojic, Essentials is for those customers who have data that they want to get onto the web. Advantage is geared to those enterprise customers who have a lot of data and redundant data and need to get that data to many more users and integrate it with more data. In the last tier is APOLLO Professional for creating dynamic information products from the
data that’s been catalogued.

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-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.

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GIS Analyst for Horner & Shifrin at Poplar Bluff, Missouri
Sr. Software Developer-GAS GIS/Work Management Systems for SoCalGas at Los Angeles, California
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