Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Brief History of ERDAS IMAGINE

+++While this blog post was originally in April 2009, I have added to it to keep it up-to-date on releases and new information uncovered in my historical research.+++


I thought I would take some time to briefly outline some of the major points in the history of ERDAS IMAGINE. I have rebuilt this history from "What's New" PowerPoints, "What's New" documents, software documentation, release plans, software media, software code, advertisements, and personal interviews.
Since its beginning, ERDAS software was designed to be a blend of remote sensing and GIS analysis capabilities. Combining remote sensing with GIS allowed ERDAS to deliver a product which analyzed existing geospatial information and create updated information for re-analysis rather than use outdated data; allowing the customer to make the most informed decision on the their part of an ever changing world. Combining remote sensing and GIS analysis capabilities made the ERDAS software a true decision support tool as a GIS is intended to be (Cowen, D. PE&RS, Nov 1988).

From the 1984 ERDAS 2400 Users' Manual Page 1-1 we read,

"In early 1979 a group of the multi-disciplinary professionals (including Planners, Landscape Architects, Geologists, Remote Sensing Specialists, and Electrical Engineers) collaborated on the design of a microcomputer-based geographic information system to be used for planning and resource analysis applications. This Earth Resources Data Analysis System (ERDAS) was designed to be used by professionals in application areas without requiring a prior knowledge of computers or computer programming. Some of the original major design issues included:

  • The need to integrate LANDSAT remotely sensed imagery into a more comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS) with other data sources such as soils, topography, cultural features, etc.
  • The design of a “user-friendly” system environment through the use of keyword oriented menus and conversational programs.
  • The ability to expand both the system hardware and software over time as new data sources (e.g. LANDSAT 4, digital soils and terrain tapes), new techniques, and new applications needs to be identified.
This User’s Manual in many ways reflects the growth and development of the original concept and design objectives. The Manual incorporates a wide variety of ideas which originated through feedback from system users. Several menus for LANDSAT and GIS applications have doubled in the number of features offered. Many programs have been expanded to handle multi-channel data (e.g., new LANDSAT) or extended ranges of data values for more complex GIS layers. The choice of computer hardware options has been expanded to include the new DEC PDP-11 and VAX family of minicomputers, along with new turn-key hardware/software options for polygon digitizing, 9-track tape features, etc. ERDAS systems with these features are now being used around the United States, in Europe, and even in a mobile van-mounted unit. Nonetheless, the original objectives are a continuing challenge to the system design team."

Another page from the first manual may be found here.

Here is an outline of changes in the software from the beginning.
1978, ERDAS 4 introduced (hardware and software turnkey solution)

  • Cromemco microcomputers using the 8-bit Z80 CPU and CDOS operating system
  • Built into a desk, color monitor (256 x 256),  monitor,
  • Two 8" floppy drives (one each for software and data)
  • Optional 5MB or 10MB hard disk
1980, ERDAS 400 introduced

  • Added CAT 400 display option
1979 - 1981, ERDAS enhancements

  • More image processing capabilities
  • Large table digitizers to convert existing maps
  • Hard disk added (80MB fixed disk and 16MB removable platter), it was the size of a washing machine
1982, ERDAS 2400 released

  • Added PDP 11/24 16-bit processor with 10MB removable hard drive option
  • Added CAT 800 display option
1982, ERDAS 7.0; first COTS version on PC introduced (Nov 1982)

  • IBM XT using Intel CPU and MSDOS operating system
  • Turnkey hardware and software solution
  • Color monitor (512 x 512), B&W monitor, one 5.25” floppy drive
  • Added menu system to command prompts system
1983, ERDAS 7.1 released

  • Jan 1984, first PC license sold to Dr. John R. Jensen at the Department of Geography at the University of South Carolina (then Ph.D candidate Michael E. Hodgson and MS candidate Bruce A. Davis drive to Atlanta to take receipt of turnkey system).
1985, ERDAS 7.2 released

  • ERDAS 7.2 on IBM-PC/AT, VAX, Data General and Prime
  • Dedicated added dual 1024 x 32-bit display to existing 512 x32-bit display
  • Hardware roam, zoom and histogram manipulation
1986, ERDAS 7.2 enhancement released

  • Over 120 programs (including GIS analysis, topographic & 3D capabilities and classification)
  • Menu driven, color scaled hardcopy, 9-track tape handling
  • Video digitization of imagery introduced
  • Georeferencing of imagery introduced through research on Intelligent Indexing System

1987, ERDAS 7.3 released

  • ERDAS – PC ARC/INFO Link (first ERDAS ESRI COTS collaboration) introduced
  • Stitch (mosaic) introduced
  • Support for CPQ-DOS allowing 32MB partitions
  • ERDAS for Sun 3 Workstation introduced
1989, ERDAS 7.4 released

  • Classification enhancements, training samples, accuracy assessment, etc.
  • Support for large format electrostatic plotters introduced
  • ERDAS – PC ARC/INFO Link renamed to ERDAS – ARC/INFO Live Link and added to additional platforms
1990, ERDAS 7.5 released

  • GISMO (GIS MOdeling, a script language) introduced
1991, VGA ERDAS 7.5 introduced

  • Uses single display toggle mechanism for customers who cannot afford dual screen configuration
  • All commands available, excluding dual screen specific commands
  • ERDAS Digital Ortho (single frame resection) on ERDAS 7.5 on Sun Workstations introduced
  • Beta version of ERDAS IMAGINE introduced in October 1991 at the ERDAS Users Group Meeting in Atlanta, GA
1992, ERDAS IMAGINE 8.0 introduced (Feb 1992)

  • Name combined ERDAS brand with IMAGINE, playing off the word image and the concept of creating ideas and data
  • First graphical user interface for ERDAS product, replacing former ERDAS menu structure
  • Sun Workstation only
  • Multiple Viewers, GUI, geographic linking
  • Spatial Modeler (GIS script modeling language) replaces GISMO, has over 150 commands
  • ERDAS 7.5 delivered much of the processing capability until 8.1 was released in 1994
Late 1992 or early 1993, ERDAS IMAGINE 8.0.1 released

  • IMAGINE Digital Ortho released; upgraded user interface and capability from ERDAS Digital Ortho 7.5

1993, ERDAS IMAGINE 8.0.2 released

  • Model Maker (graphic flow chart model builder enhancement to Spatial Modeler) introduced
  • Map Composer (WYSIWYG map composition tools) introduced
  • Vector Module (first COTS user interface for editing ESRI Arc Coverage) introduced
  • May 1993, phrase "Intelligent Images Map the Future" introduced; in Sept 1993 trademarked to "The Map of the Future is an Intelligent Image"
  • OrthoMAX replaces Digital Ortho introduces block-bundle adjustment and DEM creation and stereo editing
1994, ERDAS IMAGINE 8.1 released

  • Image Interpreter introduced (build upon Spatial Modeler)
  • Radar Interpreter introduced
  • Area of Interest (AOI) processing introduced
  • Cell Array introduced
  • Raster editing and raster attribute editor introduced
  • 'Seed' collection tools added to supervised classification
  • Multi-threading in Viewer introduced
  • Image Catalog Introduced
  • AutoWarp (model based automatic image registration) introduced
  • Return to PC from UNIX with release of Windows NT product
1995, ERDAS IMAGINE 8.2 released

  • Map Series Tool added to Map Composer
  • VirtualGIS and NITF introduced
1996, ERDAS IMAGINE 8.2 Subpixel Classification introduced

1997, ERDAS IMAGINE 8.3 released

  • MosaicTool released Subpixel Classification expanded to more platforms
  • ERDAS 8.3.1 for UNIX released at the end of the 1997

1998, ERDAS 8.3.1 released on Windows 95 and NT 4.0
  • Renamed IMAGINE Vista to IMAGINE Essentials
  • Introduced IMAGINE Advantage
  • Renamed IMAGINE Production to IMAGINE Professional
  • Native editing of ESRI Arc Coverages without a Vector Module license introduced
  • Introduced ERDAS ArcView Image Anlaysis 1.0 (based on ERDAS IMAGINE technology)
  • Introduced ERDAS MapSheets 1.0 (based on ERDAS IMAGINE technology)

1999, ERDAS IMAGINE 8.4 released

  • StereoSAR DEM and OrthoRadar introduced
  • OrthoBASE released replacing OrthoMAX
  • ESRI 2D Shapefile and SDE support introduced
  • Read capability of LizardTech's MrSID compressed image format introduced
  • Batch Tools added
  • Fuzzy Classifier and Fuzzy Convolution introduced
  • Expert Classifier introduced
  • Reprojection on the fly fully implemented
  • Break 2.1 GB file barrier, introduce .ige and .rde data extension files
  • First deliver of Raster Data Objects (RDO) to ESRI; ERDAS IMAGINE technology imbedded into ArcMap

2000, ERDAS Stereo Analyst released

2001, ERDAS IMAGINE 8.5 released

  • OrthoBASE Pro Introduced
  • IMAGINE MrSID Encoders introduced
  • ESRI Geodatabase support introduced
  • ESRI 3D Shapefile support introduced
  • Anaglyph stereo image creation introduced
2002, ERDAS IMAGINE 8.6 released

  • GLT Viewer introduced
  • CIB / CADRG (RPF) production introduced
  • Virtual Mosaic, Virtual Layer Stack and Virtual Independent Files introduced
  • Spectral Analysis tools for hyperspectral image processing introduced
  • Vertical Datum support introduced
  • Frame Sampling and Class Grouping Tools introduced
  • Dodging added to MosaicTool

2004, ERDAS IMAGINE 8.7 released

  • LPS released replacing OrthoBASE Pro
  • Terrain Editor, PRO600 and ORIMA introduced to LPS product line
  • LPS marketed separately from ERDAS IMAGINE (still based on IMAGINE Technology)
  • Multi-threaded added to GLT Viewer
  • Fuzzy Recode introduced
  • Mosaic Wizard and Mosaic Direct, the engines behind Leica MosaicPro released in 8.7.2 (Feb 2005).
  • MrSID Generation 3 read and write support added

2005, ERDAS IMAGINE 9.0 released

  • AutoSync introduced
  • Oracle Spatial 10g support introduced
  • Previously introduced in a minor release, Leica MosaicPro Module released.

2006, ERDAS IMAGINE 9.1 released

  • EasyTrace introduced
2007, IMAGINE DeltaCue introduced

2008, ERDAS IMAGINE 9.2, 9.3 and 9.3.1 released

  • 9.2, Massive improvements to raster roam quality and speed
  • 9.3, IMAGINE Subpixel Classifier becomes part of IMAGINE Professional
  • 9.3, Massive improvements on vector and annotation display speed
  • 9.3, Improvements in MrSID projection support
  • 9.3, Initial ERDAS ER Mapper integration efforts released (ECW, joint product licensing)
  • 9.3, ECW SDK v3.6 used for ECW and JPEG2000 creation (except for NITF JPEG2000)
  • 9.3.1, IMAGINE InSAR replaces IMAGINE IFSAR DEM; Coherence Change Detection introduced

2009, ERDAS IMAGINE 9.3.2 and 2010 released

  • 9.3.2, Support for non-Earth map coordinates introduced
  • 9.3.2, ECW SDK v 3.6 used for all ECW and JPEG2000 creation (including NITF)
  • 2010, Ribbon User Interface introduced
  • 2010, ERDAS MosaicPro has massive improvements and is moved into IMAGINE Advantage, no longer a separate module
  • 2010, ER Mapper Image Compressor (ECW, JPEG2000 file and mosaic compression) moved into ERDAS IMAGINE
  • 2010, LizardTech MrSID metadata added and file handling capacity increased
  • 2010, ER Mapper Algorithms moved into ERDAS IMAGINE
  • 2010, Parallel Batch Processing introduced to IMAGINE Advantage; 4 per Advantage license
  • 2010, IMAGINE SAR Interferometry released (InSAR, CCD and new D-InSAR capabilities in one module)



2010, ERDAS IMAGINE 2010 Versions 10.1, and 2011 released

  • 2010 v10.1, ERDAS ECW JPEG2000 SDK v4.1 integrated into ERDAS IMAGINE and ERDAS ER Mapper. Performance improvements for JPEG2000 and ECW are very significant.
  • 2010 v10.1, Direct read MrSID DLL performance improved (up to 30% in some applications), direct write to lossless introduced
  • 2010 v10.1, 'Large Address Aware' support introduced for Windows 64-bit operating systems
  • 2010 v10.1, Image Segmentation memory management introduced for large file handling
  • 2010 v10.1 First Spectral Shift Filter from DLR (German Aerospace) introduced in IMAGINE SAR Interferometry
  • 2010 v10.1, Transparency masks for ECW and JPEG2000 introduced in ERDAS ER Mapper
  • 2011, Transparency masks for ECW and JPEG2000 introduced in ERDAS IMAGINE
  • 2011, Further ECW and JPEG2000 performance improvements in Export, MosaicPro and direct write
  • 2011, Surface Tool contour generation moved into Terrain Prep Tool
  • 2011, Distributed processing added to multi-core processing, 4 per Advantage license or ERDAS Engine
  • 2011, Improved Imagery Analysis Workflow within the IMAGINE ribbon replaces GLT
  • 2011, LAS Import rasterization incorporates all returns, intensities, classifications and RGB values
2011, ERDAS IMAGINE 2011 Versions 11.0.1, 11.0.2, 11.0.3, and 11.0.4 Released

  • Each version addresses maintenance issues and customer enhancement requests
  • Each version expands use of Large Address Aware 
  • Each version expands map projection support
  • 11.0.2, Improved Bing Basemap performance in slower internet areas
  • 11.0.2, Added capability to ECW Export to define transparency area via AOI layer
  • 11.0.3, Add Spectral Angle and Spectral Correlation Mapper to Supervised Classification
  • 11.0.3, Add data re-scaling to MosaicPro
  • 11.0.3, Add process distribution of output images tiles in MosaicPro 
  • 11.0.4, Add support fro GDAL OVRs 
2012, ERDAS IMAGINE 2011 Version 11.0.5 and 2013 Released  
  • 11.0.5, Improved JP2 decoding inherited from  ERDAS ECW/JP2 SDK improvements 
  • 11.0.5, Added 'Live Link' with GeoMedia 
  • 11.0.5, Added support for GeoMedia Warehouses 
  • 2013, Spatial Modeler re-designed with new UI, and pull architecture for real-time processing
  • 2013, Point cloud visualization in 2D and 3D introduced
  • 2013, Point cloud file to file processing added
  • 2013, LPS ribbonized
  • 2103, ECW v3 file format introduced
  • 2013, Realtime vegetation and other indices with new modeler technology
  • 2013, Preference Editor redesigned
  • 2013, Geomedia vector warehouse support improved
  • 2013, Geomedia vector warehouse processing put into 'new' Spatial Modeler 
  • 2013, MosaicPro performance improved
  • 2103, Radar Analyst UI introduced

 
The History of ERDAS, by Brad Skelton: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RkYHZy2bfY&feature=player_embedded

6 comments:

Jonathan Shears said...

Great stuff - the makings of a virtual museum. Talking of which, I once saw one of the first ERRAS hardware based systems (with accompanying VAX PDP-11) in Holland in about 1995 and I had a photo of it too - now lost at home somewhere! Not sure if this blog will reach all past international distributors, but might unearth some additional interesting history. The locaiton of the VAX PDP was George Lavigne at GeoPerfect in Holland. Cheers - Jonathan Shears

Paul said...

Jonathan, if you run across the photo during spring cleaning, if you do not mind, I would like to get a copy. :)

123 123 said...

Great post you got here. I'd like to read more about that topic. Thanx for giving this information.
Joan Stepsen
Computer geeks

aerial photogrammetry services said...

Well written post.Thanks for sharing the history of ERDAS IMAGINE.
regards
digital ortho photo generation

geotecnologias said...

Interessante a disposição do post, rápido e dinâmico. Organizado pelas datas... dá uma boa visualização sobre o desenvolvimento desse maravilhoso software.

Parabéns!

Paul said...

Obrigado para suas palavras gentis.