April 2006

April 2006 | Executive compass

Leveraging the organization to deliver product improvements

Kevin Malone

Delivering innovative capabilities through enhanced GXP products is the primary focus of our product management and engineering teams. Often, these innovations provide completely new capabilities, increased production throughput and geospatial data accuracy, or workflows that support new concepts of operation. Geospatial technology developments are ongoing across a number of business areas throughout BAE Systems. Changes to BAE Systems’ organizational structure in 2005 have enabled GXP to take full advantage of company resources, and to expedite our ability to deliver new and improved products.

Early 1980s digital photogrammetric production workstations BAE Systems’ National Security Solutions (NSS) line of business has a history built on a geospatial foundation, which dates back to the early 1980s when the U.S. Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) was undergoing a major modernization program, moving to softcopy imagery exploitation. BAE Systems built the Digital Stereo Comparator Compiler and the Data Extraction Segment for DMA during this time period. Both of these systems played a major role in the evolution of digital photogrammetry for the U.S. government. At the same time, the digital photogrammetry concepts of Uki Helava were embedded in the geospatial thinking of the company. This core competency led to advances in other mapping, precision geopositioning, navigation and targeting systems. However, as time progressed, the geospatial foundation of the organization became dispersed across multiple business areas, minimizing the ability to leverage these capabilities.

Early 1980s digital photogrammetric production workstations

Early 1980s digital photogrammetric production workstations

Last year, changes to the NSS organizational structure, and the creation of the Geospatial Products and Services (GP&S) business area, brought focus back to our geospatial heritage. GP&S is comprised of three business components: Geospatial eXploitation Products (GXP), Geospatial Data Production (GDP), and Geospatial Intelligence Technologies (GIT). These three business components provide licensed software capabilities, outsourced data production and services, and geospatial technology R&D. GXP’s ability to draw on internal data production and technology expertise has allowed us to deliver better products to the user community. The GDP element offers a fresh perspective into emerging geospatial data production requirements. In addition, GDP supports the advanced assessment of new product capabilities in a true production environment. We often find ways to improve our software implementation through User Conferences and regional workshops, where we glean important insight from our customer base.

Furthermore, the geospatial technology R&D performed by GIT has a direct influence on the delivery of new GXP products. All geospatial R&D from NSS is executed through GIT, which is supported by over 40 engineers who are experts in various aspects of the geospatial domain. Areas of development in GIT include algorithmic automation, capabilities for new/evolving data products, data fusion and visualization, real-time precision geo-registration, rigorous sensor modeling, and geospatial web services. Most of this development is done in conjunction with existing GXP software, which allows for an extremely fast transition from R&D to finished product.

Dennis Lambell, Vice President of GP&S, likes to refer to the leveraging of the three business components as the “technology development and transfer flywheel.” Inputs to the flywheel include program related developments, internal R&D (IR&D) and contracted R&D. These technologies are evaluated through prototyping, lab tests, production and field exercises, which provide the means to explore, develop and mature technologies. This insight is key to making decisions to either deploy or shelf the technologies while generating new ideas. Technologies that are proven may then be introduced via commercial software products, services and tools or system applications.

For example, advanced registration capabilities were developed, assessed and matured through the IR&D group. These registration techniques were especially well suited for cross sensor registration requirements. In SOCET SET v5.2 these registration techniques were included as an alternative method for automatic point mensuration. The bottom line is an improved pipeline of product enhancements that will continue to serve a broader spectrum of image and geospatial analysis requirements. Ultimately, introducing innovative capabilities that make a difference to our end users and their organizations is the real measure of our success.

Sincerely,
Kevin Malone
Kevin Malone
Vice President and General Manager
BAE Systems GXP

April 2006 | GXP in the news

SOCET SET ClearFlite Module Wins Top Industry Award!

SOCET SET ClearFlite Module Wins Top Industry Award!

SOCET SET ClearFlite Module Wins Top Industry Award!

On February 14, 2006, ClearFlite®, a module developed by BAE Systems for SOCET SET®, won the prestigious 2006 ATC Maastricht Industry Award, which recognizes excellence in air traffic safety. ClearFlite was nominated for the award by David Rider of Jane’s, who saw a ClearFlite demo, given by Curt Lima, at the ACI show in Auckland, New Zealand last year. The ACI event attracted airport executives and aviation business partners from 58 countries around the world. Each year six awards are given out at ATC Maastricht. The winners are selected by a panel of judges from 20 to 30 submissions. All nominations are listed in Jane’s Airport Review. The awards are designed to recognize contributions to air traffic management safety and capacity.
See press release >>

What is ClearFlite?

ClearFlite is a digital mapping tool developed for the aviation industry to help users identify airfield and runway obstructions; export data to third-party geographic information system (GIS) and 3D visualization applications; automatically generate models for single and multiple runways; and view 3D stereo images of runways and airfields. Analysts use ClearFlite to collect dynamic features such as buildings, hangars, vegetation growth, and the towers and antennae that accompany today’s explosion in cell phone growth. Such information is used to generate complex FAA, ANA, RBAI and PANS-OPS surface models automatically. Paper maps and charts are being phased out in favor of more precise, digital readouts that can be updated easily and shared via cockpit displays, laptops and personal digital assistants. In addition, using ClearFlite saves fuel costs and time. The obstruction surfaces of more than 800 airports around the world have been collected accurately using ClearFlite.

On April 3, 1996 U.S Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and 30 other passengers and crew were killed when their aircraft hit the side of a mountain in Croatia. In addition to gross pilot error and mediocre navigational equipment, the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Air Force determined that the aeronautical charts and cartographic data in and around the airfield were outdated or did not exist. On behalf of aviation safety, the U.S. Congress funded the Ron Brown Airfield Initiative (RBAI), and BAE SYSTEMS developed ClearFlite in response to this effort.

The goal of the RBAI is to produce the safest possible Terminal Procedures, or “TERPS”, for some of the world’s busiest airports. TERPS contain detailed information about airfields, runways and vertical obstructions. The RBAI consists of all military and civilian airports where U.S. Department of Defense passenger aircraft are anticipated to land three or more times per year. This includes over 2,000 airfields all over the world. NGA was tasked to develop a database of these airfields containing the airfield survey data, airfield features, vertical obstructions and airfield elevation models. Agencies worldwide share this concern for airfield safety as well, and are actively working to improve transportation infrastructure and to update airfield data and procedures.

More on ClearFlite: http://www.socetgxp.com/products/modules/module_clearflite.htm, or contact Curt Lima, ClearFlite Product Manager, curt.lima@baesystems.com, 303 220 0265.

April 2006 | Destinations

ESRI Middle East and Africa Conference for ESRI Users (MEAUC) 2005

John Allan discusses the virtues of SOCET SET and the SOCET for ArcGIS module with existing and potential customers in the EMEA region.

John Allan discusses the virtues of SOCET SET and the SOCET for ArcGIS module with existing and potential customers in the EMEA region.

During the week of December 6, 2005, the EMEA GXP staff attended MEAUC 2005 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. John Allan, Sales and Marketing Director for the GXP EMEA region, delivered a presentation on 3D building extraction that generated a high level of interest.

April 2006 | Destinations

BAE Systems GXP International User Conference attracts worldwide customer base

The 2006 BAE Systems GXP International User Conference took place March 13 – 17, 2006 in San Diego, California. In addition to the extensive Conference agenda, which included workshops, seminars and training classes, GXP software users had the opportunity to rub shoulders with the GXP executive team, software engineers and product managers. Customers had an equal opportunity to provide feedback to the GXP team concerning their wish lists for future software iterations. An extensive list of requests was documented for both SOCET SET and SOCET GXP.

Several California-themed social activities rounded out a full week for attendees. Golfers enjoyed a day at Torrey Pines Golf Course, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, while others took in San Diego’s cityscape on a trolley tour that started in La Jolla and continued through historic Old Town, the new downtown stadium district, Balboa Park and Coronado.

Once again, GXP would like to extend special thanks to the following exhibitors for supporting the 2006 BAE SYSTEMS GXP International User Conference:

April 2006 | Destinations

GXP offers free SOCET SET workshops

With many exciting software enhancements for SOCET SET® and SOCET GXP planned for release in 2006, we have kicked off the year with a series of informative workshops, designed to offer a wealth of information on geospatial analysis, image analysis, mapping and photogrammetry. BAE Systems has been developing and pioneering software solutions for the GIS community for more than 25 years. Our regional workshops provide a forum for demonstrating how GXP solutions can become a valuable asset in your daily operations. Workshops generally include specific product features and capabilities, methods for streamlining production, recommendations for improving usability, and access to product engineers and support specialists.

A host of honorable speakers participated in the Cartographic Production Workflow Workshop in New Delhi, India on February 2, 2006, including Maj Gen Gopal Rao, Surveyor General of India; Lt Gen Ranjit Singh, SM, Engineer-In-Chief and Senior Colonel Commandant, Corps of Engineers; Brig M V Bhat, Dy. Surveyor General, Survey of India; Dr. R Siva Kumar, Head, NRDMS & NSDI Division, Department of Science and Technology, Govt of India; and Prof M N Kulkarni, IIT Mumbai. Topics included photogrammetric trends and direction, data preparation and product generation.

Due to popular demand, the GXP Asia-Pacific team traveled to Singapore to host a similar workshop a few weeks later, on February 27. This workshop was more focused, highlighting BAE Systems’ software strengths using military specific scenarios. Participants represented Singapore military, government, and commercial organizations, and the workshop content was well received by all. The GXP team demonstrated various SOCET SET, SOCET GXP and SOCET for ArcGIS® workflows, and discussed topics including current and future directions of photogrammetry; image products and feature extraction workflows using SOCET SET and SOCET for ArcGIS; and image analysis, natural disaster and targeting scenarios.

The EMEA GXP staff and Jordan GXP Distributor, Dr. Jehad Hijazi, of International Computer Systems (ICS), hosted the workshop for 18 attendees from the UAE, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

The EMEA GXP staff and Jordan GXP Distributor, Dr. Jehad Hijazi, of International Computer Systems (ICS), hosted the workshop for 18 attendees from the UAE, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Dubai, UAE was the venue for a third SOCET SET workshop, held March 25 – 26 at the Dhow Palace Hotel. The EMEA GXP staff and Jordan GXP Distributor, Dr. Jehad Hijazi, of International Computer Systems (ICS), hosted the workshop for 18 attendees from the UAE, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The workshop attracted attendees with a wide range of backgrounds, from experienced SOCET SET users in academia interested in different aspects of multi-sensor triangulation, to potential distributors with a general understanding of GIS, who wanted to learn more general information about the capabilities of the technology. Attendees had an opportunity to participate in hands-on exercises and typical processes, including SOCET SET workflows such as import, triangulation, DTM collection and editing, feature collection and orthomosaicking. In addition, SOCET for ArcGIS, the SOCET SET module that allows 3D information to be captured into 3D shapefiles as well as personal and enterprise geodatabases, garnered a great deal of interest.

April 2006 | SOCET GXP | Software update

SOCET GXP v2.2 Enhanced with an abundance of new capabilities based on user input

Licensing

  • Modular and flexible new licensing scheme provides user-defined formats to fit specific needs or operations

AutoSOCET

  • Users can launch AutoSOCET photogrammetric capabilities directly from the Workspace Manager

3D Flythrough

  • Control flythroughs via the Flythrough controller
  • Place waypoints on the image to fly a route automatically
  • Record sequences with improved capabilities

Custom Autolabels from Image Metadata

  • Create special autolabels to apply to product templates directly from the image metadata
  • Create autolabels as part of original template or place on the image during Product Creation
  • Access to autolabels from the Graphics Manager; directional arrows and text annotation values added

Additional enhancements include:

  • Raster to vector conversion/shapefile performance improvements
  • AGI (MASINT) community capabilities
  • Custom Autolabels from Image Metadata (improves Product Creation)
  • Custom Arrow drawing capabilities
  • IEC Buffer Query capability (v2.1.2 patch)
  • Elimination of the Porthole size limitation and addition of “swiper” mode
  • Line of Sight analysis
  • Image-based graphic support (apply graphics to single image segment)
  • Directional Arrow graphic support
  • Directional AutoLabel graphic support

April 2006 | SOCET SET | Software update

SOCET SET v5.3 Released April 7, 2006

BAE Systems is pleased to announce the release of SOCET SET v5.3. This new release provides additional sensor models and new features based on automatic tie-point measurement for multi-sensor triangulation. Productivity improvements have been made throughout the SOCET SET workflow, including enhancements to SOCET for ArcGIS, Sketch, Feature Extraction, Mosaic and more. Automatic Terrain Extraction (ATE) has been improved with enhancements for bare-earth and reflected surface processing using back-matching and multi-pair matching.

If your production workflow includes significant mosaic operations, be sure to check out SOCET SET v5.3. Parallel processing improvements in this area are showing large gains in productivity running on a dual processor machine. Outlined below is a list of improvements and new features included in SOCET SET v5.3.

  • Improvements to Terrain Extraction for increased productivity, accuracy and blunder elimination. The data structure for both TIN and Grid terrain is now capable of handling billions of points, including LIDAR point clouds. The Automatic Terrain Extraction improvements reduce manual editing for all terrain types. These improvements allow for increased productivity with workflows requiring terrain. In addition, the ATE improvements are relevant to both terrain surface models as well as reflected surface models.
  • Based on customer feedback, enhancements were added to the SOCET for ArcGIS product, which was introduced in the SOCET SET v5.2 release. Improvements include compatibility of grouped layers in the ArcMap® table of contents with SOCET SET display and collection; new snapping agent integrated with ArcMap; the addition of accelerator key mapping for commonly used SOCET for ArcGIS commands; rotation and zoom to extent of ArcMap display to match the SOCET SET Viewport and support and population of subtype attributes from ArcGIS.
  • Orthomosaic enhancements provide a new pixel void fill that prevents non-image data (usually black pixels) from being included in an orthomosaic. Multiple input images allow the process to sort through overlapping pixels to determine image vs. non-image pixels.
  • Product improvements for ClearFlite include the ICAO PANS-OPS surface for compliance with international standards for mapping airport obstructions.
  • OrbView-3 BASIC Imagery with ephemeris can now be imported and triangulated in SOCET SET with the advanced sensor models. Rigorous modeling is used throughout the workflow for accurate mensuration and product generation using OrbView-3 imagery.

For more information on SOCET SET v5.3: http://www.baesystems.com/gxp.

April 2006 | Tips and tricks

Customizing the Multiport in SOCET GXP

Preferences may be created for individual users, entire organizations or multiple sites. The User Preferences file contains custom settings that control the appearance and operation of toolbars and Multiport windows, including size, shape, and location, as well as specific tools to include in each toolbar, which toolbars to display, and where the toolbars are placed within the Multiport. Preferences can be configured through the User Preferences file, or alternatively, as a shortcut, the easiest way to configure preferences for Multiport windows and toolbars is directly through the Multiport window. This allows the user to view changes dynamically on the screen rather than exiting the Preferences file menu each time a new preference is set. The following steps illustrate how to customize toolbars and Multiport windows in SOCET GXP via the Multiport window.

  1. Start SOCET GXP and load an image into the Workspace Manager
  2. Open the image into a Multiport window and associate an Overview window with that image. This is done by right-clicking on the image and selecting Open > Multiport and Overview.

    Note: A Multiport window is where users view their data and gain access to all of the exploitation tools necessary for analysis and product creation. The name Multiport was derived from the term “Multi-Purpose Viewport,” and epitomizes the extreme flexibility that the software offers. The Overview window is a Multiport window that has been scaled down in terms of size and functionality. A user may add or remove functionality to the Overview window.

    Multiport and Overview

    Multiport and Overview

  3. The image is now open in both Multiport and Overview windows. The next step is to resize the primary Multiport window to your satisfaction. This is done by dragging the corner of the Multiport window to a specific size. If you are running a dual display configuration, you may want to move the Multiport to another display.
  4. Repeat this step with the Overview window.
  5. The next step is to review the list of toolbars and activate or deactivate each checkbox based on need. To configure toolbars go to View > Toolbars > Customize. This allows you to add or remove individual pieces of functionality to suit your requirements. You may also experiment with the arrangement of each toolbar.
    To configure toolbars go to View > Toolbars > Customize.

    To configure toolbars go to View > Toolbars > Customize.


    Once the Multiport and Overview are sized and placed correctly and the toolbars have been customized to your specifications, it is time to update the Preferences file with this information.
  6. Click on View > Toolbars > Save Window Layout as Preference. You will notice several options available. First select either User or Common Multiport. If you would like all of the analysts who use SOCET GXP to use this window configuration, select Common to add to the common Preferences file. To activate individual preferences for each user, select User.
    Click on View > Toolbars > Save Window Layout as Preference.

    Click on View > Toolbars > Save Window Layout as Preference.

  7. Do the same for the User or Common Overview.
  8. Now the Multiport and toolbar configuration is part of your Preferences file. Future changes can be made from the Multiport window by selecting View > Toolbars > Save Window Layout as Preference.

April 2006 | Customer and partner spotlight

British Geological Survey makes large SOCET SET purchase

The British Geological Survey (BGS), the world’s oldest national geological survey and the UK’s premier centre for earth science information and expertise, has recently purchased six SOCET SET licenses. BGS intends to use the SOCET for ArcGIS module of the photogrammetric software package to enhance the mapping process by deriving and verifying digital geological information from a range of 3D sources such as digital stereoscopic photography.

The SOCET for ArcGIS module allows the ArcGIS community to exploit stereo imagery for the collection and editing of features, and the input of attributes, all in the user’s familiar ArcMap® environment. SOCET for ArcGIS uses the rigorous photogrammetry of SOCET SET in conjunction with the ESRI® ArcMap application. Operators can follow their ordinary GIS workflows while collecting accurate geospatial data in stereo.

April 2006 | Bits and pieces

Sidney Jackson, VITec® developer, retires

Sidney Jackson, software development project lead for GXP’s VITec product, retired on March 31, 2006, after 20 years with BAE Systems and VITec.

Morgan Welch, Customer Integration Manager for SOCET GXP, reflects on Sid Jackson’s legacy with GXP:

“The time has come surprisingly fast. Sid was the primary designer and project lead for VITec. He was there when the first VITec CD-ROM rolled out on February 1, 1994. His support and development of open systems, configurable interfaces and simple interpreted API made VITec a darling with integrators of all sizes. He will be remembered for finding solutions that carried maximum value for the customer and the product. But more importantly, through his years of service, Sid was a true leader, who, together with the teams he mentored, built a successful product that has had a long and lasting presence in the industry.

Sid’s been a brilliant employee over the years, and never shied away from taking on some very tough assignments. He worked closely with internal customers, as well as customers external to the GXP team. In one of my recent trips to a customer site, one contractor asked about Sid specifically by name! His efforts were instrumental in VITec’s commercial success, and we should all salute that!

On behalf of the entire GXP team, a big thanks to Sid for all of his help and advice over the years. In his retirement, Sid and his wife LeAnn will enjoy many Hawaiian island sunsets together.
Picture that…beautiful! We wish Sid and LeAnn well.”