New Products at ASPRS '99

The 1999 ASPRS Annual Conference and Exhibition, held May 17-21 in Portland, Oregon, attracted more than 1,960 attendees. The week began with 10 sold-out workshops covering GIS, geodesy, photogrammetric mapping, softcopy photogrammetry, orthophotos and change detection analysis. On Wednesday, the main portion of the conference began with a general session, presenting a fly-over of the Portland area, a cooperative effort of Terrex Corp., Intergraph Corporation and Spencer B. Gross, Inc. Keynote speaker Moira Gunn, PhD, of the weekly interview program Tech Nation … Americans and Technology, spoke about "Our Digital Globe: One Person's View." She discussed the transition from an industrialized society to an integrated information society, giving landmark events and statistics as concrete examples of this process. She also discussed the technical challenges of tomorrow, such as privacy rights of an individual versus needs of government and desires of business. The exhibit hall featured more than 90 exhibitors showing the latest products and services.


Applanix Corporation demonstrated its POS/AV 310 and POS/DG 310 position and orientation systems. POS/AV (for airborne surveying and remote sensing) features integrated GPS and inertial technology. Other features include in air alignment/initialization; high immunity to GPS dropouts for extended periods; compact, lightweight IMU; rugged, military-grade sensors, real-time data at 50Hz; built-in data logging for post-processing; Windows-based post-processing software (POSPROC); and multiple, reconfigurable interfaces. The core POS/AV comprises the POS Inertial Measurement Unit and the POS Computer System (PCS) with embedded NovAtel GPS receiver and datalogger. POS/DG (for direct georeferencing of aerial photography) uses strapdown inertial sensors, Kalman filtering and GPS to provide camera perspective center position and exterior orientation parameters. POS/DG can be used with aerial film cameras or digital cameras. The system provides post-processed exterior orientation angles and position of camera perspective center at time of exposure, in local mapping frame, and allows direct data input into analytical or digital plotter with photographs for the creation of orthophotos and maps. It also eliminates aerial triangulation. POS/DG measures position (latitude, longitude and altitude) and orientation (omega, phi, kappa) of the photo center of an aerial camera to an accuracy of 10 cm rms in position and 20 arcsec rms in altitude.
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Autodesk, Inc., introduced AutoCAD Map 2000. Built on AutoCAD 2000 software, this latest release of AutoCAD Map GIS software features more than 400 new and enhanced productivity tools. Features include Multiple Design Environment, which allows users to keep multiple map projects or views open at the same time; properties window, which allows users to modify many objects at the same time and change properties after objects are queried into the current session; Multiple Layouts, which allows users to use the same base map to depict different mapping applications and compare them within a single session; Polar Construction Tools, which allows users to switch between multiple editing alignments; flexible Plot Styles, which allows users to change objects' visual properties at plot time, such as color, linetype, lineweight and pen assignment; and AutoCAD Design Center, an explorer utility that allows users to locate and reuse data from different layers and other drawings on the desktop, shared drives or the Internet. Users can import and export maps in ARC/INFO coverages, ArcView SHP, MapInfo MIF/MID, MicroStation DGN, AutoCAD DXF and Autodesk MapGuide SDF formats. The software also allows users to link to external databases including Microsoft Access, dBase, Oracle, FoxPro, Paradox and any ODBC-compliant databases. AutoCAD Map 2000 supports numerous file formats including BMP, CALS-1, FLIC, G3, G4, GIF, Geospot, GeoTiff, IG4, IGS, JFIF, JPEG, PCX, Photo CD, PICT, PNG, PSD, RLC 1, RLC 2, TARGA and TIFF/LZW. The software is available for Windows 95/98/NT.
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Autometric, Incorporated demonstrated its SoftPlotter software. Recent enhancements include support for additional operating systems with SoftPlotter NT and SoftPlotter for Sun; an enhanced DEM Tool that can now take advantage of SoftPlotter's Stereo Imaging Engine Technology; new DEM editing features including cross-section editing; an improved mosaic tool providing streamlined entry of source imagery and interactive adjustment of brightness and contrast settings for individual mosaic components; optional FFD and VMAP collection modules; revised DTED export interface; support for exporting GeoTIFF and NITF 2.0 files; an updated DGN Tool interface for smoother interaction between SoftPlotter and MicroStation; object handling and feature tracing in the KDMS Tool and customizable DEM Tool and Surface Tool settings.
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DAT/EM Systems International introduced SUMMIT PC, a Windows NT-based digital photogrammetric stereoplotter capable of viewing scanned aerial images in 3D stereo while compiling mapping data directly into AutoCAD or MicroStation. SUMMIT PC uses classical analytical plotter orientations—interior, relative and absolute. This softcopy system features stereo superimposition capabilities, epipolar resampling, 3D data capture and project management functionality. SUMMIT PC comes equipped with DAT/EM's CAPTURE NT for AutoCAD or CAPTURE NT for MicroStation, MAP/EDITOR and COLOR SUPER/IMPOSITION.
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Earth Resource Mapping introduced ER Mapper Version 6.0. New features include free imagery plugins for GIS systems, orthorectification of airphotos, image display and mosaic wizard, the Image Balance wizard, the Geocoding wizard, the Surface Gridding wizard, the Contouring wizard, the ability to save and open files in various formats, image compression wizard,real-time roaming and zooming and fully bundled radar processing. Users can view multi-surface 3D images, view images and vectors in 3D, view ER Mapper images inside other software and combine GIS and images to make maps. ER Mapper is available for Windows 95/NT, Sun workstation and Silicon Graphics workstation.
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Earth Satellite Corporation (EarthSat) displayed a Landsat Thematic Mapper Mosaic of the Middle East. Comprising more than 400 individual scenes and covering more than 11.5 million square kilometers (4.5 million square miles), the mosaic has an absolute positional RMS accuracy of 50 meters. The company claims that this is the first time that anything even approaching this size area has been mosaicked with this level of positional accuracy. EarthSat reports that such accuracy is made possible by the fact that the geodetic positioning of the entire collection of 400+ scenes was simultaneously adjusted using single-block adjustment. The digital data used to create the mosaic had a pixel resolution of 28.5 meters and was placed in a Transverse Mercator projection on the WGS84 datum. The three-color composite contains TM bands 7, 4 and 2 as red, green and blue, respectively. To enhance the color presentation, the data was contrast adjusted and spatially enhanced.
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ERDAS, Inc., introduced IMAGINE OrthoBASE, an add-on module to IMAGINE Advantage. Main capabilities include rigorous sensor modeling of various camera and satellite sensors; support for aerial, oblique and terrestrial (ground-based) imagery; semi-automated interior orientation; automatic tie point collection; ground control point measurement; aerial triangulation; self-calibrating bundle adjustment, which allows for the use of 35mm, digital cameras, video cameras and archival photography; automatic error checking models; and orthorectification. IMAGINE OrthoBASE supports standard aerial photography (both black & white and color); 35mm amateur photography; medium- and large-format photography; digital cameras using charge-coupled devices (CCDs); video cameras using CCDs or film; SPOT imagery, IRS-1C; archival historical photography; photography scanned with a desktop scanner; photography containing réseau marks; and DTM import via ERDAS IMAGINE: DEM (USGS), DTED (DMA), ASCII (XYZ DEMs).
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Inpho announced that its MATCH-AT digital aerial triangulation software and MATCH-T automatic DEM generation software are now available as stand-alone products for the Windows NT operating system. MATCH-AT integrates all steps of aerial triangulation, including initialization of tie point areas, point selection, point transfer and block adjustment, into one automatic process. MATCH-T generates accurate and dense DEMs by a combined use of sophisticated image matching and robust interpolation techniques, eliminates 3D outliers, uses matching and interpolation methods to overcome areas with poor image texture, and considers pre-measured and internally detected breaklines. Both products are also available for UNIX and can be integrated into digital photogrammetric workstations.
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International Systemap Corporation (ISM) introduced its DiAP – Viewer digital photogrammetry system. DiAP – Viewer accepts pre-oriented stereo model files and their corresponding image files and supports stereo-superimposition of any DGN vector files that are based on the same coordinate system. DiAP – Viewer is delivered with the Auto-Z capability embedded. Using a terrain model, this capability enables 3D digitizing from orthophotos or single aerial photos and is now operable in stereo—Stereo Auto-Z. The cursor will now follow the terrain variations automatically, in stereo, wherever the user moves the cursor. The user needs only a mouse to digitize map features in the stereo model and can offset the stereo cursor from the DTM for mapping features that are not at the terrain surface. DiAP – Viewer has been developed as a MicroStation dynamic linked module (DLM) and is compatible with other Bentley third-party DLM products such as feature collection or vector structuring systems.
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LH Systems, LLC launched a new version of its high-performance DSW300 Digital Scanning Workstation. The principal innovation is that the system is now available for Windows NT. The Windows NT version of the DSW300's SCAN software offers exactly the same functionality as the Unix version. LH Systems also announced that the DSW300 is available for the Sun Ultra 10 workstation. The company also demonstrated the latest releases of RC30, PAV30, ASCOT, Flykin Suite+, SOCET SET, ORIMA, PRO600 and TerraModeler.
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Lockheed Martin Missles & Space announced the release of its Intelligent Library System (ILS) Version 1.0, which can archive large imagery and data files. ILS Version 1.0 is an interactive digital archiving and analysis solution that allows users to manage, retrieve and distribute more than 10 million gigabyte-plus imagery and data files from remote-sensing satellites or other sources. In addition, ILS automates the archiving of such data for 10 years or more. The smart tools in ILS Release 1.0 are integrated into a turnkey system that can acquire, track and disseminate files from a variety of sources and formats online and on tape storage totaling 5,000 terabytes or more. ILS uses an open architecture and automated search tools to streamline retrieval and workflow. Further releases of ILS, planned for the fourth quarter of 1999, will include advanced functionality from current research and development efforts as well as additional data formats and improved image processing performance.
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Lockheed Martin Missles & Space and BG Systems Inc. introduced the PiBox, a universal precise imaging control box. The PiBox minimizes use of a mouse to control on-screen cursors during pixel manipulation, allowing image analysts to concentrate on enhancing the image. It has a two-axis miniature joystick, a lever, one knob and five push buttons. The PiBox provides rotation, zoom, roam, sharpness, haze removal, brightness and contrast adjustment capabilities. It supports UNIX, Macintosh and PC platforms and is enhanced specifically for Lockheed Martin's Intelligent Library System (ILS).
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PCI Carto, a member of the PCI Geomatics Group, introduced the latest version of its Advanced Cartographic Environment (ACE). New features include support for MapInfo Interchange and ARC/INFO Binary Coverage; "text following vectors" function in the Text Editor; symbol creation and positioning; support for RGB, CMYK, HLS and grayscale models; EPS export; Snap to Grid; ability to use a digitizing table; and Line Editing Mode. Other ACE features include full WYSIWYG representation, support for more than 60 vector and raster data formats, flexible Curved Text Editor, the ability to print maps using color separations, automated surround and automated indexation (available as a separate module and included in some versions of ACE). ACE versions include General Edition (ACEge), Cartographic Edition (ACEce), SPANS Edition (ACEse), Image Mapping Edition (ACEime) and Forestry Edition (ACEfe). ACE runs on Windows 3.1/95/NT, OS/2, Sun Solaris, Sun OS, OSF, Data General, HP, SGI and IBM.
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Rollei Fototechnic GmbH demonstrated its Rolleiflex 6008 metric 6x6 surveying camera. Features include built-in grid plate (réseau) focusing stops and calibration, Zeiss interchangeable lenses in focal lengths ranging from 40 to 350mm, display of all important camera functions, automatic exposure control, motorized film transport, use of conventional film material, interchangeable magazine facility, unrestricted use of professional system accessories for a range of applications and the ability to combine with GPS and INS. The camera comes with a NiCd battery pack, rapid recharging unit, body cap, carrying strap and protective case, and handgrip. It works with 120 or 220 roll film, Polaroid pack film and perforated 70mm film.
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Soft Reality, Inc., announced a strategic partnership with LizardTech, Inc. With this partnership, Soft Reality's EarthKey products will be enhanced to support LizardTech's MrSID image format. EarthKey software uses the Web to deliver interactive GIS applications. The software uses streaming techniques to provide digital imagery, vector maps and tabular data to client applications for viewing and analysis. The MrSID (Multiresolution Seamless Image Database) Portable Image Format is a total imaging solution designed for GIS professionals to enable portability of massive images. MrSID reduces high-resolution images to 3 percent of their original size while maintaining the integrity of the original. Multiple image sets can be seamlessly mosaicked automatically into a single image that can be zoomed and panned instantaneously locally and over networks. The integration of MrSID with EarthKey will allow users to view and interact with terabytes of imagery across the enterprise and the Internet.
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Space Imaging introduced its CARTERRA Data Stack products. CARTERRA Data Stack provides complementary vector and raster GIS layers co-registered to current Space Imaging orthorectified image basemaps, projected to customer-specified coordinate systems and delivered in USGS standard 7.5-minute quadrangles. Users can choose a geometrically corrected image basemap from Space Imaging and registered Data Stack GIS layers. Users can choose between panchromatic, natural color, false-color infrared or multispectral image maps delivered in scales ranging from 1:100,000, 1:50,000, 1:24,000, 1:12,000 to better than 1:4,800 (1"=400'). GIS layers include 1:100,000 and 1:24,000 DLG layers, DRG mapsheets and DEMs at different resolutions. The DLG vectors are linked with attributes to expedite the time to analysis. Files are available in Tiff/Tiff World File, Geo-TIFF and BSQ image formats and Shape and Coverage vector formats.
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Space Imaging also introduced its Landsat Bite Size 30'x30' quadrangles. Landsat Bite Size products are derived from Terrain Corrected Best of the U.S. (BOTUS 1997). They are orthorectified, contain less than 20 percent cloud cover, and are available for the coterminous United States. The 30' tile size coincides with existing USGS map series conventions. The tiles are produced from within a scene with no additional radiometric processing to preserve the radiometric quality. Where a 30' tile is composed of Landsat data from two separate orthorectified scenes, spatial differences will be less than 2 pixels, and tonal differences may be evident. When an area of interest falls into multiple tiles, the entire 30'x30' tile will be delivered. Quadrangles that do not meet the <20 percent cloud cover criteria are replaced where possible with same-season data from other TM scenes within one year before or after the BOTUS scene date.
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Z/I Imaging Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intergraph Corporation, announced several hardware and software products. The ImageStation Z-IV, the latest in the ImageStation series of workstations, is powered by dual 550MHz Intel Pentium III Xeon processors. On the software side, the company launched ImageStation OrthoPro software, a stand-alone orthorectification, tone-matching and mosaicking product. OrthoPro can automatically integrate data from different projections and datums and place the data into one mapping project, helping to streamline the production process. The ImageStation SSK, Z/I Imaging's low-end photogrammetry production system, now provides the StereoGraphics Z-Screen passive stereo system in addition to the standard CrystalEyes active glasses. All of these products are currently available and shipping.
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» Back to our September 1999 Issue