Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Update on ERDAS ECW/JP2 SDK v5.0

As promised earlier.... here is an ERDAS ECW/JP2 SDK update

The ERDAS ECW/JP2 SDK (SDK) and ERDAS APOLLO Essentials Image Web Server (IWS) development teams in Perth, Western Australia are well along the way towards the latest version of the SDK, v5. The motivations behind this release of the SDK are increasing encoding performance, 16-bit ECW support, decreasing file size without lowering quality, expanding beyond Windows OS support (all without hurting decoding performance).

The best way to improve encoding performance is to more fully utilize system resources by expanding the use of multiple threads. This is being done.

In the v4.x SDK versions we see a 25MB/second encoding throughput of 3-band 8-bit image data. That is very fast for wavelet compression and we could have just sat on our hands and said, “We are the champions (my friend).”

But sitting back and wondering at our own accomplishments is not our way. Tests have confirmed SDK v5 is encoding 3-band 8-bit data between a 65 to 85MB/second. When encoding 3-band 16-bit data, encoding speeds close 25 MB/second are being observed. Final tuning will tell where we end up, but so far when using an 8-core CPU, encoding performance seems to be primarily limited by disk i/o.

To add support for 16-bit, we need to change the ECW file format. So, at the same time the Perth team decided to do some other things to the ECW file format. File format changes have provided a decrease in file size when using the previous target compression ratios. In short, smaller files with the same image quality (the preverbal ..yet true.. win-win scenario).

The work is being done to add support for Linux, with a foundation for the SDK to be ported to other OS versions as demand requires.

Also, metadata support in the new ECW v3 file format has been expanded. We have added better projection definition options, imbedded statistics (min, max, mean, median, mode, etc.), and much more.

Also provided when using the SDK to stream in ECW and JP2 encoded image data via ECWP from IWS, faster ECWP streaming. (BTW, in case you didn't know, ECWP performance leaves JPIP performance in the dust.)

There is one thing to note, the ECW v3 file format cannot be read by earlier ECW SDKs. The old v2 ECW file format could not be expanded to allow the file format improvements needed, so we created ECW v3. Of important note, the desktop read-only SDK will continue to be made available at no charge.

What is the ‘un-official’ time-table? Expect to see ERDAS ECW/JP2 SDK v5 in the ERDAS IMAGINE / LPS, ERDAS ER Mapper,  ERDAS APOLLO Essentials (aka IWS), and GDAL after the northern hemisphere’s autumnal equinox, and an upgrade of ERDAS' ECW for ArcGIS Server made available a few months following following the ERDAS Desktop releases.

Keep an eye on the ECW Web Page.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

ERDAS Desktop 2011 Version 11.0.5 now available

ERDAS Desktop 2011, Version 11.0.5 is now available. This version fixes both internal and customer reported issues and contains enhancements as well. One installer will install ERDAS IMAGINE, ERDAS ER Mapper and LPS. It is available to customer with and without support.

There is no need to install the previous 11.0.1, 11.0.2, 11.0.3 and 11.0.4 versions as 11.0.5 contains all the items in those versions.

ERDAS 2012 is due later this year, so 11.0.5 may be the final 2011 version.

To download, see: ERDAS IMAGINE Product Download Page