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


Anonymous said...

When is IMAGINE 2012 scheduled to be released?

Paul said...

Hello Anonymous,

Next time let me know your name, please. We are all professionals here... customers, friends, competitive product managers and so forth.

The next major version of ERDAS IMAGINE / LPS, and ERDAS ER Mapper are beginning their wrapping up phases. I cannot speak for the company on precise product release dates, which are a more formal process than my personal blog can address.....

What I believe I am safe to say… while we are getting close (as the wrapping up phase indicates), we are not likely to beat Microsoft Windows 8 / Server 2012 to the market.

One thing we are working on is squeezing more speed out of LiDAR Point Cloud display. It is pretty quick right now, but we want more speed. :)

Customers want to view LAS files in 2D over their imagery and feature data, as well as in Profile and in 3D. These have to be quick to keep productivity high.

Right now, displaying a local LAS file with all the points in a file of 8,170,966 points takes just over 2 seconds on my 2 year old laptop. We believe customers want it faster than that(I know I do). An ECW raster takes about 1 second to display; can we get LAS close to 1 second? We are trying our best.

(Yes, we support MrSID point clouds. I do not have a rough time on that format at present.)

Phil C said...

The volume of Lidar data is growing exponentially i am very keen to see the editing functions available in next IMAGINE release. Will there be functions to classify points as well ? eg vegtation, road, powerline ?

Phil C said...

Will the development on lidar support allow for editing or classification of the point data in IMAGINE? This offers a huge scope and step onwards for IMAGINE

Paul said...

Hello Phil,

The upcoming ERDAS IMAGINE point cloud tools will have both automatic and manual classification tools, as well as perform a Z direction positional shift.

Jay W said...

Will ERDAS Imagine 2012 be available in a 64-bit version?

Paul said...

Hello Jay W,

The next version of ERDAS IMAGINE is approaching the final stage of development. It will be known as ERDAS IMAGINE 2013, not 2012.

ERDAS IMAGINE 2013 will be a 32-bit Large Address Aware software.

We have addressed how to manage large rasters inside a 32-bit Large Address Aware environment for many years and have applied what we have learned to our work with point clouds. We are not memory bound.

When we move to 64-bit, these file management techniques will allow our code to work efficiently with massive datasets (much larger than we see now) well into the future.