Thursday, June 28, 2012

Last Few ERDAS Desktop 2012 Development Weeks Deliver Solid Results

During the last few weeks the ERDAS Desktop software development teams have delivered solid results.
  1. We have seen Point Cloud (LiDAR) display performance speed up significantly.
  2. User feedback from the Hexagon 2012 Conference prompted refinement in the LiDAR Ribbon controls.
  3. ERDAS IMAGINE’s Spatial Modeler providing real-time results from over 30 indices as well as pan sharpening.
  4. Python is now running Spatial Modeler without launching ERDAS IMAGINE UI.
  5. Asynchronous multi-threaded raster data delivery engine plugged into Spatial Modeler and into the 2D Viewer.
  6. Began work placing the latest ERDAS ECW/JP2 SDK into ERDAS IMAGINE, LPS, and ERDAS ER Mapper.
  7. MosaicPro improvements improves how customers can handle mosaicking images with clouds. 
There are more, but I can’t talk about all of them. There are a lot of great things happening in Atlanta, Perth, Singapore and Hyderabad as we march towards the 2012 ERDAS Desktop Products release.

Oh yes, and did I tell you that ERDAS IMAGINE functions are being placed into GeoMedia? Yes... Vector coming into ERDAS IMAGINE and raster id going into GeoMedia. 

Finally, I had wanted to do some webinars on the LiDAR tools, but have decided to wait until we complete the changes gathered from user feedback at Hexagon 2012. I expect to do the webinars before too late in July.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Intergraph Announces Point Cloud support Coming in ERDAS IMAGINE 2012

The announcement below is the fruit of software development work being done in Atlanta, Georgia USA; Pasadena, California USA; and Singapore as well as the press release written in Atlanta. The Intergraph corporate headquarters are in Huntsville.

Steve du Plessis and I will begin a series webinars on this topic later this month.

The reason we use the term Point Cloud rather than LiDAR, point cloud covers more data sources than LiDAR. LiDAR is but one data source.

The announcement is as follows: 

Intergraph® Highlights Advanced Point Cloud Capabilities at Hexagon 2012
New ERDAS IMAGINE® Features Enable You to Better Understand Your LiDAR Data

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., June 6, 2012 – At the Hexagon 2012 conference, Intergraph® is demonstrating a new technology that enables you to fully leverage the wealth of information in point cloud data. The centerpiece of the new functionality is the augmented viewing capability embedded in ERDAS IMAGINE®, which allows users to simultaneously view LiDAR spatially linked in 2D, 3D and as a user-specified profile that can reveal cross sections of the point cloud.

“Intergraph’s new functionality truly unlocks the potential of LiDAR, taking full advantage of its rich three-dimensional content,” said Steve du Plessis, Global Product Line Executive – Remote Sensing, Intergraph. “You can open up these dense point clouds, see inside them and break them apart to reveal the information they contain to gain a new perspective of the world.”

Within the three new views, ERDAS IMAGINE provides a range of options that make it easy to understand and extract the information contained in the point cloud. Different filtering options allow you to view the points in dozens of permutations. For example, you may only want to see first-return points classified as vegetation. To improve interpretability, flexible colorization settings offer the ability to view by elevation, return, classification, file, intensity or the RGB encoding of each point which provides a lifelike, three-dimensional color view of a point cloud. Additionally, you can view the point cloud draped over your 2D imagery, thereby obtaining a better understanding of the above-ground features portrayed by the points.

The profile view provides unique capabilities for analyzing point clouds. While the standard profile view is defined by a user-specified box drawn over the 2D view of the point cloud, you can also use a polyline vector to obtain a profile view of a longer strip within the cloud. ERDAS IMAGINE can then automatically roam at a user-specified speed along this long profile view. These features are especially useful in the utilities market, where they can be used to inspect power line corridors for encroaching vegetation or other line issues. As problems are visually detected, you can pause, make measurements, record the position and add notes. ERDAS IMAGINE can then export this information to a spreadsheet that can be given to field crews who maintain the corridors.

ERDAS IMAGINE’s new point cloud technology also offers a set of tools to classify, RGB encode, subset and filter your point data. The classification tool will enable you to specify criteria for automated point classification. Users can then leverage the editing tools within the 2D and profile views to refine the results. For example, you can delete, reclassify, bias or set a constant elevation on selected points with the security of multiple-step undo and redo capabilities. In addition to thorough views of the point clouds themselves, ERDAS IMAGINE provides comprehensive views and editing of the associated metadata. You can batch and distribute all these functions for faster processing, which is especially helpful since many users opt to create smaller tiles from large LAS files.

“Intergraph is in a unique position to provide the leading point cloud solution on the market,” continued du Plessis. “As part of Hexagon, our portfolio includes in-house airborne and terrestrial LiDAR hardware technology from our sister division Hexagon Geosystems, powerful GIS analytics from GeoMedia®, the world’s leading remote sensing capabilities in ERDAS IMAGINE and LiDAR data management and serving capabilities in ERDAS APOLLO. In addition, Intergraph’s vertical market approach offers extensive domain expertize in utilities, transportation, government and security. Together, not only will our point cloud technology strengthen any organization’s LiDAR-handling capabilities, but also its user-centric implementation streamlines workflows so users can quickly and easily obtain the most from point clouds and maximize the return on your LiDAR investment.”

To learn more about the Intergraph geospatial product portfolio, please visit

Friday, June 1, 2012

ERDAS IMAGINE 2012 is looking really good.

This release is going to be hot. What’s going to be in it?

The upgraded Spatial Modeler is more than an upgrade. This is more than an update of Model Maker that sits on top of the Spatial Modeler Language. All the Modeler Maker capabilities that Esri copied to create Model Builder are there, plus the things customers have demanded.
  • Faster file to file processing
  • On-the-fly raster processing (lessons learned from ER Mapper) 
  • On-the-fly vector processing (lessons learned from GeoMedia) 
  • Replacement of Model Maker User Interface 
  • Python Scripting 
But this is the beginning. Spatial Modeler is being designed with 64-bit processing as well as sharing tools with GeoMedia in mind. The architecture has been designed in a manner that will allow features and functions to be added in service packs.

The Python Scripting is very powerful. Customers will be able to connect other software applications with Spatial Modeler as part of their data processing work-flows. ERDAS IMAGINE's Spatial Modeler can act as a agnostic geoprocessing hub.

There is more….
  • Point Cloud (LAS, MrSID) visualization in 2D and 3D, profiles, measuring, point editing, RGB encoding… I am working with Steve du Plessis to put together a Webinar on point clouds.
  • 16-bit ECW, and ECW is faster… not just a little faster, but must faster and scalable.
  • Better and faster support for JPEG2000 data. 
  • LPS is fully Ribbonized.
  • New Segmentation algorithm that customers are saying  is the best they have seen to date. 
  • Improved ER Mapper Algorithm capabilities. 
  • GeoMedia Vector and GRID capabilities. The GeoMedia Buffer in Spatial Modeler is real time. You can test your buffer processes in a trial and error method in the viewer and then write to file (if you want to). 
  • Faster edge detection in MosaicPro.
  • New real-time spectral indices tool. 
  • Radar analyst work-flow tools in the ribbon, including ship tracking capabilities. 
There are a lot of moving pieces, and there are more items coming that cannot listed at this time. I have to wait a little longer on some.

Last year at Hexagon 2011 I discussed that the wall between raster and vector was coming down. It is more than that, mush more.... raster, vector, point clouds, imagery, photogrammetry, radargrammetry, and more all in one software.

I am again working on a research love of mine, change detection. We have the algorithms and processing performance we need to make high resolution change detection work for the whole geospatial community, not just the expert. This is expected post 2012. Exciting times are here.