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August 10, 2009
Remote Sensing with Eight Spectral Bands
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each GIS Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the GIS industry, GIS product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by GISCafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

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Industry News

Remote Sensing with Eight Spectral Bands

By Susan Smith

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The launch of a new satellite is an exciting event, as it represents the culmination of several months or years of hard work and implementation of new technology. Due to launch October 6, 2009, DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-2 promises to be no exception.

In a webinar last week, Dr. Kumar Navulur, principal scientist at DigitalGlobe, discussed the satellite’s 8 new spectral bands and how they will impact different industries and sciences. WorldView-2 is said to be the first high resolution 8-band multispectral commercial satellite, giving it the ability to produce better feature classification and identification, improved bathymetry applications and change detection.

Navulur said that typically anything less than 10 bands is considered multispectral. WorldView-2 will have 8 bands and a panchromatic band. Superspectral satellites have 10-20 bands, and hyperspectral sensors have greater than 20 bands.

QuickBird satellites have  multispectral plus panchromatic, WorldView-1 has just panchromatic.

For the hyperspectral bands, typically the very narrow bands are designed for very specific applications that can be as small as 5 to 10 nanometers in spectral width. “So if you want 120 spectral band, probably you’re looking at a total resolution of around 3 to 4 meters, whereas if you need ½ meter resolution then you probably need 20-30 spectral bands,” he said.

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WorldView-2 has four additional spectral bands (coastal blue, yellow edge, red edge and near infrared 2) which facilitate a broader range of classification. More features can be extracted and tracking coastal changes and infractions is easier. The near infrared 2 does not have as much atmospheric noise as near infrared. The panchromatic band of WorldView-2 only goes through a visible area, it doesn’t penetrate the infrared area. The primary reason is the vegetation in black and white is more representative of the vegetation signature and does not include the high reflectance from a near infrared band.

The actual wavelength of the different spectral bands is as follows: QuickBird’s panchromatic band goes from 450 nanometers to 900 nanometers and so does that of WorldView-1. The spectrum range of WorldView-2 is 450-800 nanometers but is still in the visible region; the near infrared band 2 goes from 770 to 895. The additional bands in WorldView-2, especially the red edge, start at 705 and 745. This band has been specifically designed to capture the red edge position in vegetation.

The yellow band, also a key band for mapping vegetation, starts at 585 nanometers and ends at 625 nanometers. The coastal band before the blue band starts at 400 nanometers and goes through 450. The near infrared 2 band starts at 860 and goes through to 1040; the near infrared 2 band is comparable to one of the Landsat’s near infrared bands.

In remote sensing there are four dimensions, said Navulur, typically spectral, spatial, radiometric and temporal and the combination of these dimensions. The spectral filters on the WorldView-2 satellites are very accurate, and thus the information you can extract in this spectral band is very accurate. WorldView-2 can collect imagery at 46 centimeters “but we have license to sell only 50 centimeter imagery so I’ll refer to 50 centimeters as our spatial resolution,” Navulur explained. “We still keep the 11 radiometric resolution similar to QuickBird. If you compare this to 8-bit satellites like Landsat you see more radiometric information preserved in pixels as
compared to the 8-bit bands. WorldView-2 improves a temporal dimension of the satellite."

Spectral information content can be derived using the 8-multispectral band. WorldView-2’s coastal band, yellow band, red edge as well as near infrared band 2 allow them to extract more information content. In addition, imaging spectroscopy of the hyperspectral imaging can extract a lot more information, but are cost prohibitive for collecting large areas.

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Five components characterize a high resolution image: built up or manmade features, vegetation, bare earth or soil, water and shadows. There is a very high spectral correlation between red, blue and green, which doesn’t allow enough dimension to identify these components independently. With the additional spectral bands offered in WorldView-2, the components will be able to be identified within an image, so that users will be able to do feature extraction and decompose the image accurately.

The infrared 2 band is placed where there is maximum separation between the individual components. The coastal band in combination with the blue band is very useful in trying to separate water and shadows. This will enhance bathymetry studies of sea floors, coastal plans and show the shallow ocean floor more definitively. Coastal remote sensing applications will likely benefit from this increased accuracy. With spectral filters, the response is very accurate. The red edge and yellow edge bands are ideal for various vegetation based applications, mapping vegetation and health, including the age and various stresses in modern vegetation.

With the promised increased spatial resolution, if looking at mixed or planted forest, not only can users identify whether it’s a coniferous forest or just forest, thye might be able to identify different tree species like oak, ash, etc. The combination of the radiometric, spectral and spatial resolution of WorldView-2 will allow users to extract more level of detail than was previously available in QuickBird.

WorldView-2 can collect up to 7700 square kilometers in one pass. Anywhere on the globe one can expect less than 2 days revisit time. Combined with the DigitalGlobe constellation, the company expects to get intra-day revisit on anywhere on the globe.

“Because we are collecting large areas in one path, we are reducing uncertainties caused by changes in atmosphere,” said Navulur. “The look angle is different as well as the bi-directional reflection distribution function. Those who work with creating orthomosaics can realize that by reducing the seasonal changes. By collecting all the data very quickly, you’ll be able to create more visually pleasing orthomosaics.”

WorldView-2 can also collect stereos in global color stereo.

Blue band has been part of Landsat and QuickBird, and was designed for studying water, soil and vegetation mapping. The green band measures reflectance of vegetation and can be also used for culture feature identification. The red band is sensitive to chlorophyll, and agencies like NDVI take advantage of the red band to identify vegetation. The infrared band is useful for vegetation and for mapping soil moisture.

Potential areas where WorldView-2’s 8 bands may be useful: for global warming, to discover with temporal coverages the changes going on in an urban area or map where ice is melting. For pollution, to map natural resources, and map urban areas for growth and development, agricultural applications, and environmental applications. Plant species identification is another area where the satellite may be useful. Compared to farmland which has a uniform texture, wild plant populations can be very complex. Invasive species can be identified for possible future use as biofuels.

“With the increased spectral bands in WorldView-2, especially the red edge and yellow band, we think we can map these species and there is the potential to create products for biofuels,” said Navulur.

Top News of the Week

ESRI announces that its popular Web mapping APIs are available at no cost to users who are building applications for use in internal and noncommercial environments. ArcGIS Web mapping APIs have always been free for licensed ArcGIS Server users. Now government agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and educational institutions can take full advantage of fast, high-quality mapping applications built on top of ArcGIS Server without additional costs or licensing. Private businesses can also deploy these API-based applications internally for free.

Safe Software announced that FME now enables ESRI users to leverage their 2D Data in 3D within their existing ESRI ArcGIS environment. FME's data transformation capabilities along with its support for over 225 formats, including many popular 3D formats, ensure that ESRI users can access the data they need and make use of it for innovative 3D applications.

The first ESRI GIS Humanitarian Award was presented to MapAction during the 2009 ESRI International User Conference (ESRI UC). MapAction, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) based in the United Kingdom, uses geographic information system (GIS) technology to improve coordination efforts among aid agencies and host countries during disaster responses.

Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances

SatNav Technologies, pioneers in GPS Navigation in India, entered into a strategic alliance with HCL Digilife, Reliance Autozone and Reliance Digital. With these alliances SatGuide products will now be available in over 100 stores situated at prime locations across 15 key cities including, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Pune and Vadodra.

ERDAS Inc. announces that SIGIS Soluciones Integrales GIS C.A. is now the official ERDAS distributor to customers in Venezuela . Based in Caracas, SIGIS has been an ERDAS distributor since March 2009.


The Schneider Corporation, a full-service professional services firm that provides engineering, technology and consulting solutions, announced its 2009 GIS Conferences and User Groups will be held this year in Ames, Iowa (August 11-12, 2009) and Indianapolis (September 1-2, 2009). A significant number of Midwest counties already are using Schneider GIS products and services, including half of Iowa's counties and 40% of Indiana's counties. Schneider has over 120 local government clients across the Midwest. See
Web site

Accela, Inc., provider of Web-based and mobile software applications that make government services available 24/7, opened its
2009 User Conference with an address by the company's CEO spotlighting the burgeoning global opportunity to provide governments with solutions that automate their services and increase their links with the constituents they serve.


GeoEye, Inc., provider of satellite, aerial and geospatial information, announced the appointment of Randall J. Scherago as Vice President of Investor Relations. Mr. Scherago, with his extensive background in public equities research and investment management, will be responsible for developing and executing a comprehensive investor relations program and increasing communication with the investor community.

DMTI Spatial (DMTI), Canada's provider of Location Intelligence solutions, has announced that Chris Thomas, Vice President and General Manager, will lead the Product Solutions Division and John Sorrell, Vice President and General Manager, will lead the Finance/Insurance Vertical within the Client Management Team. The new appointments demonstrate DMTI's continuing commitment to working in collaboration with the company's customers to develop products specifically designed to address their business challenges and deliver unprecedented business value.

PCI Geomatics, a developer of geo-imaging software and systems, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Rowland Fleming to its Board of Directors. Mr. Fleming specializes in corporate governance, having held key positions in Canada ’s financial sector. He has served as President of the Toronto Stock Exchange, President of National Trust and Executive Vice President of the Bank of Nova Scotia. Mr. Fleming recently retired as Vice Chair of the Export Development Corp.


RMSI along with Al-Arfaj Engineering Company (AEC) of Kuwait have recently been awarded the prestigious Kuwait Environment Public Authority (KEPA) project to develop an Environmental Monitoring Information System for the State of Kuwait. RMSI headquartered in Noida, India is a leading player in the Global Geospatial Services industry, whereas Al-Afraz Engineering Company is an Engineering firm with activities connected to the Imports, Sales of Process Instrumentation, Electrical & Mechanical Equipments.

Dr. Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan as an esteemed space scientist who spearheaded the development and use of the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites. Others know him as a Member of Parliament. But few may realize his contributions in bringing agencies the technology needed to help estimate crop yields in the world's most populous nation, identify new groundwater sources, monitor and manage forests, and plan where to build housing developments and roads. For these achievements, the former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) received a Making a Difference Award at the 2009 ESRI International User Conference.

New Products

ERDAS announced the release of IMAGINE SAR Interferometry, a new package of radar workflows featuring the industry’s most advanced radar mapping technologies. With this release, ERDAS continues to upgrade its radar mapping software, with more enhancements planned for the ERDAS IMAGINE 2010 release later this year.

With intelligent defaults and optimized processing, IMAGINE SAR Interferometry is fully integrated into ERDAS IMAGINE, the world’s foremost solution for manipulating, processing and understanding imagery and vector data. IMAGINE SAR Interferometry includes new interpolation techniques that increase the quality and fidelity of radar data.

ESRI has released an updated version of ArcGIS Business Analyst desktop software, which includes new features designed to optimize geographic analysis for businesses. ArcGIS Business Analyst desktop enables location-based analysis with updated demographic and lifestyle segmentation data, allowing analysts to place customer and company data into a geographic context.

The Broadband Information Services Consortium (BISC), announced , provides states with customized solutions to broadband mapping to address the full supply-and-demand broadband continuum. BISC is a collaborative, transparent, intentional approach to mapping, designed to make states’ applications for federal stimulus funds more competitive. By addressing demand and delivering a dynamically updateable solution, BISC delivers a solution that exceeds the requirements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s (ARRA) Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) and increases competitiveness.

IDV Solutions announced that its flagship product, Visual Fusion, has been optimized for use in secure networks. Visual Fusion is mashup software that combines with Microsoft’s SharePoint to empower anyone in an organization to integrate data from diverse sources into a user-friendly, actionable view. Map-based applications built with Visual Fusion place disparate data sources in context for fresh insight, rapid decision making and greater situational awareness.

NAVTEQ, provider of digital map, traffic and location data for in-vehicle, portable, wireless and enterprise solutions has launched a navigable map of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

The updated Version 1.3.1 G-Map for US West and East compatible with the iPhone 3.0 was released in July with new features and fixes, such as real-time turn-by-turn route guidance, pinch in/out function for map zoom in and out, and a list of exits and intersections to the destination.

Warfighters at Empire Challenge 09 are test-driving next-generation capabilities for managing and analyzing full-motion video feeds, thanks to a set of advanced video and geospatial intelligence technologies delivered by Lockheed Martin and Harris Corporation, an international communications and information technology company. The technologies are playing a key role in Empire Challenge 09, an annual multinational intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance interoperability demonstration run by the U.S. Joint Forces Command.

Teradata Corporation announced general availability of Teradata 13, which includes Teradata Database 13, Teradata Tools and Utilities 13, services and partnerships. It is Teradata’s most significant and advanced release in terms of new lines of code, features that drive additional capabilities, customer value and a remarkable performance boost. Already recognized as the market leader, Teradata 13 provides customers an even more affordable foundation for a wide range of business analytics, which supports both departmental and enterprise intelligence for companies of all sizes.

WhiteStar Corp., a supplier of cartographic data products and services to energy and natural resource industries, has introduced the WhiteStar 10-Meter DEM, an enterprise digital elevation database delivered in ArcSDE format. The WhiteStar 10-Meter DEM may be purchased as a nationwide product or as individual state or county files.

Geoscience students and geologists now have a useful guide for learning the theory and practice of aeromagnetic surveying. An e-book on Aeromagnetic Surveys: Principles, Practice and Interpretation, authored by Colin Reeves of Earthworks and published by Geosoft, is now available.

Around the Web

With Yahoo search gone, content becomes king, by Tom Krazit, July 30, 2009, CNET News.com


Date: August 10 - 12, 2009
Place: Marriott Raleigh Crabtree Valley Hotel

Raleigh, NC USA

Who Should Attend:  New, Experienced, and Interested Users of HAZUS-MH; First Responders, Local Government Decision Makers, Planners and GIS Specialists.
Date: August 10 - 14, 2009
Place: Caliper Corporation

Newton , MA USA

Caliper Corporation invites you to attend our Travel Demand Modeling with TransCAD training course. The course will help you to understand TransCAD and how to use it effectively and productively, with a focus on transportation planning and forecasting. The topics covered include
Date: August 12 - 14, 2009
Place: Johnson Center, George Mason University

4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22023 USA

The local organizating committee for GeoInformatics 2009 welcomes your participation in the 17th international conference on Geoinformatics for GIScience professionals. The International Conference on Geoinformatics is a well-known annual forum for Geospatial Information Science Professionals.
Date: August 12, 2009
Place: USA

As the fields of digital mapping and geospatial analysis continue to grow, the use of 3D data is becoming more widespread.

When: Wednesday, August 12, 8:00 a.m. PST; 9:00 a.m. MST; 10:00 a.m. CST; 11:00 a.m. EST; 15:00 GMT
Date: August 12, 2009
Place: USA

SHRP 2 Safety Project S04-A: Geographic Information System (GIS) Developer/Manager for SHRP 2 Roadway Information Database Budget and Project Duration: TBD—announced 7/28

Project Manager: Charles Fay
Date: August 18 - 20, 2009
Place: Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre


The Asia and Pacific region is the largest developing region in the world in landmass, population and aggregate income. Its 48 countries have nearly three fifth of the worlds total population. Each country in the region abounds in rich natural capital and has comprehended the true potential of Geospatial information in leveraging this capital to its utmost economic viability.
Date: August 18 - 19, 2009

You're invited to attend the 2009 AGI Users' Conference. This is the only time this year when AGI will offer such a free event. This highly technical interactive setting will allow you to
Date: August 26 - 28, 2009
Place: Newton, MA USA

Caliper Corporation invites you to attend training for Maptitude Geographic Information System for Windows. The classes will be at our training center in Newton, Massachusetts.Caliper training is the fast, cost-effective way to learn how to make the most of your Maptitude software investment.The three days of training are aimed at every type of user. The course covers skills and tools valuable to both new and experienced users of Maptitude and participants learn the fundamentals of Maptitude and related GIS concepts.
Date: August 28 - 29, 2009
Place: J N Tata Auditorium

Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore , India

With almost 300 million Indians living in urban areas (in 3700 towns and cities), the country has the second largest urban population in the world and it is growing at a rapid pace of over 31 percent over the last decade due to higher employment rates in urban areas. It comprises of about 30 per cent of the total population in urban areas and contributes to over 60 per cent of the country's GDP.
Date: August 31 - September 3, 2009
Place: bcc Berliner Congress Centre

Berlin, Germany

SPIE Europe Remote Sensing Symposium welcomes you to this exciting meeting covering the fundamental optical science as well as the application of the underpinning technologies in advanced remote sensing. Together with SPIE Europe Security + Defence, SPIE Europe Remote Sensing embraces a broad cross-section of emerging technologies for remote sensing applications.
Date: September 2 - 5, 2009
Place: Baska, Krk Island, Croatia (Hrvatska)

This four-day event aims to gather GNSS experts and focuses on GNSS problems and vulnerabilities, as well as on developments aiming to improve the accuracy and reliability of GNSS.

The unique environment of Baska and its natural resources and rich history, combined with friendly hospitality will again create an inspiring atmosphere for ideas and knowledge exchange.
Date: September 9 - 12, 2009
Place: Beijing International Convention Center


You are cordially invited to attend the 6th International Symposium on Digital Earth ( ISDE6 ) with the theme of Digital Earth in Action and to visit Beijing, China in September, 2009. ISDE6 will continue the tradition of gathering world-class scientists, engineers and educators engaged in the fields of digital earth, earth observation, geo-informatics and relevant applications to review the progress of Digital Earth during the last decade and discuss the achievements of Digital Earth and the recent developments.

You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.