Executive compass

Executive compass | November 2012

SOCET GXP v4.0 merges image exploitation, photogrammetry, and mapping tasks into a single commercial product

Kurt de Venecia

Kurt de Venecia

New SOCET GXP software fulfills long-term vision.

The release of SOCET GXP v4.0 is a monumental achievement the GXP team has been working toward for almost a decade, starting with the proposal to merge image analysis (legacy VITec product) and geospatial analysis (SOCET SET product) into a single product. The focus of the v4.0 release is feature collection in the form of traditional GIS and engineering mapping, as well as 3-D urban modeling with 3-D visualization. For these applications, the user interface has been redesigned, incorporating an innovative ToolBox that provides access to drawing and editing tools for adding annotations, drawing graphics, and feature collection. Each tool displays with a cue card providing a visual reference of the tool and step-by-step instructions.

3-D visualization is integrated with features and terrain, and includes functionality such as 3-D line of sight, and automatic texturing of buildings and facades. New data types supported include triangulated irregular network (TIN) for terrain modeling, and point clouds for LiDAR analysis. The new Automatic Feature Extraction functionality generates 3-D building features and trees from a high-resolution Digital Surface Model derived from NGATE or LiDAR.

On the photogrammetry side, the new Stereo Model Manager and auto-loader enable dynamic roaming and data extraction from stereo images to improve data compilation on exploitation workstations.

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April 2012 | Executive compass

Technological advances help save time and increase productivity for geospatially-focused organizations

Mark Sarojak

Mark Sarojak

GXP Xplorer offers easy access to data.

Any intel analyst will tell you that finding the right data to support their analysis efforts is far more difficult than it should be. Repeatedly, we hear from analysts who are challenged to find the data they need, when they need it. However, information that is dispersed across different systems, repositories, local digital “shoeboxes,” and social media networks can now be discovered quickly and easily with GXP Xplorer, our new geospatial data management tool.

Here’s how it works… GXP Xplorer finds and catalogs geospatial data files (such as images, maps, charts, terrain, video, LiDAR, shapefiles, text documents, PowerPoint presentations, and GeoPDFs) where they are stored without moving or duplicating them, thereby eliminating unnecessary data duplication and added IT storage costs.

Mark Sarojak discusses
GXP Xplorer with Tom Temin, The Federal Drive, as part of Federal News Radio’s daily DoD Report.

“A key goal of the vision is to provide an analytic environment where analysts spend their time doing analysis and not waste their time looking for data, or building spreadsheets, or signing onto multiple systems.” *

– Letitia A. Long, Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Rather than manually searching through various databases one at a time using different discovery clients, GXP Xplorer saves the user significant time by automatically querying multiple data stores simultaneously with a single “federated” search. To further reduce time consuming steps, users set up subscriptions to bypass the need to manually rerun common queries. The software automatically runs the specified query when new data arrives that meets the search criteria and sends alerts to the user via RSS feeds.

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December 2011 | Executive compass

A historical perspective on GXP’s international business

Stewart Walker

Stewart Walker
Director, product initiatives

GXP distributor network expands

GXP has a long history of international sales. For twelve years, SOCET SET was sold by the Swiss company Leica and the GDE/Leica joint venture LH Systems, into around 80 countries. After these relationships ended in the early 2000s, GXP built up its own network. By the middle of the decade, there were around 15 distributors, plus GXP offices in Cambridge (U.K.) and Canberra (Australia), covering the Europe, Middle East, and Africa, and Asia, Australia, and Pacific Rim regions.

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Executive compass | September 2011

Customer portal offers 24/7 access to GXP account information

Deena Merrill

Deena Merrill

GXP launches myGXP Customer Portal

With the addition of new tools, functionality, and products, the GXP business has experienced an increase in the number of requests for software media, licenses, and updates. To fulfill these requests in an organized and timely manner, we created an external-facing customer portal to ensure continued first-class support.

Two years ago a small, dedicated group, known as the Portal Tiger Team, met monthly to brainstorm ideas and develop the structure for a customer portal. In the fall of 2010, after several meetings, insightful planning, and customer beta testing, the Tiger Team approved the myGXP Customer Portal launch for customers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Rim. After immediate success in these regions, the portal debuted in the Americas in the summer of 2011.

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Executive compass | June 2011

GXP Xplorer offers an upgrade path to Web and mobile apps

Janis McArthur

Janis McArthur

GXP Xplorer is a new commercial software product for geospatial data discovery, dissemination and sharing that will be available next month. It is our first enterprise server product that supports multiple users through desktop applications or Web browsers.

We created GXP Xplorer to provide three main capabilities to SOCET GXP customers: data management and sharing, an updated tool for visual coverage and access to their data from anywhere through a Web interface.

(more…)

Executive compass | March 2011

BAE Systems supports wide range of sensor models

Kurt de Venecia

Kurt de Venecia

SOCET GXP functionality will soon surpass SOCET SET and certain fundamental developments should be acknowledged.

SOCET GXP v3.2, just released, is highly automated to reduce manual tasks. We are addressing demands to increase productivity by building a product that is easy to use and performs rigorous processes behind the scenes to deliver highly accurate results.

A core SOCET GXP requirement that increases the capacity to generate accurate results is using data in its native format whenever possible. This extends from basic image types including TIFF, GeoTIFF, JPEG and NITF through terrain formats such as DTED, NITF and GeoTIFF to features and vectors such as shapefiles. Working with data in its native format has performance and usability advantages. For example, a TIFF image can be dragged from Windows Explorer into SOCET GXP for immediate image viewing. If metadata exists for imagery or other data types, SOCET GXP uses that information to georeference raw data to real-world ground coordinates. The georeferencing may be as simple as a text file that identifies the data’s mapping coordinate system or a tag to extend the basic form of the raw data. Image-to-ground references can be represented with a fundamental orthogonal projection to define the X and Y ground coordinates of a pixel in an image along with scale factors for image line and sample coordinates, or the four-corner locations of an image in ground space.

To move beyond simple planimetric XY models, GXP engineers work closely with organizations such as the Community Sensor Model (CSM) working group, government agencies, specific programs, system integrators, and satellite operators and vendors of airborne cameras, LIDAR systems and hyperspectral sensors. These relationships enable GXP engineers to develop and rigorously model the transformation between an image and the ground based on a projective mathematical function. The projective sensor model relates line and sample image coordinates to X, Y and Z object space coordinates (ground coordinates; latitude, longitude, height; easting, northing, height; etc.).

The projective model is important for SOCET GXP functionality, such as the easy-to-use height measurement and simple building tool, now available in SOCET GXP v3.2, to stereo mensuration and applications such as automatic terrain generation. The projective model can take many forms. In some cases the model might be generic, for example, a cubic Rational Polynomial Coefficient function (RPC), frame or generic pushbroom sensor. In other cases, rigorous sensor-specific models are developed, which typically rely on information about the sensor position, attitude and rate (exterior orientation) as well as focal length, chip size, chip orientation and lens characteristics (interior orientation).

The benefit of using SOCET GXP for geospatial analysis and image exploitation is twofold. The application reads images natively with the associated metadata and sensor model to deliver the highest degree of accuracy through automated triangulation. In addition, complex photogrammetric procedures are simplified, making the process intuitive for novice-to-expert users, with the option to perform further calculations if desired.

Sendai 9.0 earthquake damage of an oil refinery in Shichigahama, Japa

Figure 1. Sendai 9.0 earthquake damage of an oil refinery in Shichigahama, Japan. The red areas indicate probable oil spills that were identified using SOCET GXP v3.2 supervised classification functionality. WorldView-2 8-band imagery courtesy of DigitalGlobe.

rigorous pan-sharpened image is created on-the-fly in SOCET GXP v3.2

Figure 2. This rigorous pan-sharpened image is created on-the-fly in SOCET GXP v3.2 by combining WorldView-2 panchromatic imagery at 0.6m ground sample distance (GSD) with WorldView-2 MSI imagery at 2.4m GSD. The zoomed-in view of the probable oil spill outlined in figure 2 shows rigorous projective sensor model support in the pan-sharpening process, thus allowing use of the simple height measurement tool to measure and label one of the damaged oil storage facilities.

GeoEye-1 stereo imagery collected over Port-Au-Prince, Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake

Figure 3.

GeoEye-1 stereo imagery collected over Port-Au-Prince, Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake

Figure 4. Figures 3 and 4 show GeoEye-1 stereo imagery collected over Port-Au-Prince, Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake. In figure 3 displaced people occupy a soccer field. The green areas in figure 4 identify potential helicopter landing zones. SOCET GXP v3.2 Automatic Terrain Generation is used to produce a digital surface model over Port-Au-Prince with 11 million points at 3-meter spacing and a nominal GSD of 0.5m. Using the surface model, SOCET GXP locates potential helicopter landing zones with a slope of less than 5 percent and an area of 60sq meters or larger. Viewing the two images side-by-side in a SOCET GXP Multiport viewing window provides both geospatial and visual intelligence. Image courtesy of GeoEye.

As new satellites and airborne sensors become available, BAE Systems continues to implement functionality for ease-of-use, and to ensure the highest degree of accuracy as a result of core development requirements imposed on the application development process. I am excited about the SOCET GXP v3.2 release that is now shipping with a breadth of new capabilities for geospatial and image analysis.

The new sensors supported in SOCET GXP v3.2 are: ALOS (PRISM, AVNIR-2 and PALSAR), COSMO-SkyMed, ASTER, KOMPSAT-2 and MSP 1.1.2. These additional sensors complement the ones already supported in the product: TerraSAR-X, EROS-B, FORMOSAT-2, Frame Advanced, SPOT, RPC, Four-Corner, Ortho, GeoEye-1, IKONOS, QuickBird, WorldView-1, WorldView-2, Radarsat-1, Radarsat-2, and MSP 1.0.3.

SOCET GXP v4.0 is planned for release in the fourth quarter of 2011 with further sensor-model support for MSP 1.x, ADS40, and the CSM interface.

Sincerely,

Kurt de Venecia

Kurt de Venecia
Director, product management
BAE Systems GXP

December 2010 | Executive compass

GXP training goes global

Chris Higgins, Director, customer support

Chris Higgins,
Director, customer support

As we augment GXP functionality and our customer base grows, we continue to expand product support and training resources accordingly. BAE Systems now offers several GXP software classes on a rotating basis, with class duration ranging from two-to-four days. While classes follow a basic agenda, we are always open to modifying the schedule to fulfill attendees’ workflow requirements or particular areas of interest. In addition, we routinely gather course evaluations to fine-tune future course offerings.

Based on customer feedback, we will implement the following changes in 2011:

  • Nikki Spirakis, GXP training manager, is taking the lead to redesign the training program for SOCET GXP v3.2
  • Brian Roberts, deputy director, customer support, rewrote the entire SOCET SET training course
  • Due to increased demand, we are evaluating options for relocating the Reston, VA office to increase training capacity

To accommodate the global customer community, a new training center is scheduled to open in January at our Cambridge, U.K. office to serve the Europe, Middle-East and Africa region. All GXP software customers with active Upgrade Entitlement plans in place are entitled to free training at any GXP regional training center. We also extend this offer to prospective customers.

Customer satisfaction is extremely important to us. Our goal has always been to deliver top-notch training and technical support to ensure that each customer receives the optimal return on their software investment. We encourage customer feedback because ultimately, understanding your issues helps us build a better product. Many software functionality enhancements are the direct result of customer suggestions, and we apply the same guidelines to our training program.

Courses are hands-on using real-world scenarios because we know that users are likely to be in the classroom one week and in an operational environment the next. Instructors cover tips, shortcuts and troubleshooting techniques designed to expedite product creation and report generation. At the end of each class, students generate image and map products that can be exported to GeoPDF format, a PowerPoint briefing, geo-tagged maps and other shared resources.

Whether you need to get up and running quickly, or desire refresher training to learn new tools and maximize productivity, we stand by one of our core company values — delivering responsive support and training to all of our valued customers.

To learn more about GXP training centers, visit the GXP Web site:
http://www.socetgxp.com/content/events/training-courses

Sincerely,
Chris Higgins
Chris Higgins
Director, customer support
Geospatial eXploitation Products

Executive compass | September 2010

SOCET GXP comes of age

Dr. A. Stewart Walker, Director of Product Initiatives

Dr. A. Stewart Walker, Director, product Initiatives

Experienced SOCET SET users have been looking forward to the advantages of SOCET GXP for some time — the multiple capabilities from a single user interface, the easy-to-use Ribbon, the simple, ergonomic manipulation of imagery, Glove Align, Ortho On-the-Fly, analysis of hyperspectral and multispectral (HSI and MSI) imagery, the rapid creation of simple image-based products, and many others.

Nevertheless, for years there has been an insurmountable obstacle: SOCET GXP has not included a sensor model for frame cameras, i.e., the film and digital airborne sensors that are the primary data sources for most of these users. However, the requirement was never far from the minds of the sales team and product managers.

Now SOCET GXP is ready. The well-known SOCET SET Frame-Advanced sensor model was integrated into SOCET SET v5.5 as a precursor to the implementation into SOCET GXP. It is now part of SOCET GXP v3.2, and is used in the geospatial production process from frame import through triangulation. The Frame-Advanced sensor model is based on collinearity equations with 43 adjustable parameters, comprising six independent exterior orientation parameters per image, 12 constrained exterior orientation parameters per strip (GPS/IMU), and 25 constrained interior orientation parameters per block. Moreover, the Frame import capability makes it easy to define blocks, and the Ribbon user interface comes into its own for triangulation, ensuring faster learning and higher productivity.

SOCET GXP user interface for importing and working with Frame images. LEFT: A small strip of images with the Frame Block Setup window open, ready for editing; RIGHT: The Input/Output panel used in the Frame Import process.

SOCET GXP user interface for importing and working with Frame images. LEFT: A small strip of images with the Frame Block Setup window open, ready for editing; RIGHT: The Input/Output panel used in the Frame Import process.

Before-and-after screens showing the Frame Block Setup process in SOCET GXP.

Before-and-after screens showing the Frame Block Setup process in SOCET GXP. Images courtesy of NOAA/NGS.

Photogrammetric functionality in SOCET GXP has been available for some time, such as the Next-Generation Automatic Terrain Extraction (NGATE) module, orthorectification, and mosaicking, but again the streamlined interface and optimized workflows offer SOCET SET users worthwhile improvements, such as greatly enhanced seamline editing against an orthorectified image background that changes as the seamline is moved. SOCET GXP v3.2 extends the terrain analysis capabilities from v3.1 — on-the-fly line of sight, shaded relief, slope and aspect maps — to include change detection, volume analysis, and registration.

There are further enhancements to remote sensing functionality, which combined with the rigorous photogrammetry, makes SOCET GXP v3.2 a comprehensive and versatile image exploitation tool. Atmospheric correction and spectral libraries are two new additions to the HSI and MSI tool set, considerably increasing image classification capabilities. SOCET GXP v3.2 supports SAR analysis, and the new SICD format for complex data processing provides another element to the already capable electro-optical imagery SOCET GXP tool set.

Thus many SOCET SET customers can transition to SOCET GXP v3.2 in December 2010 and immediately enjoy improved productivity and optimized workflows. The Frame-Advanced sensor model is the key! The GXP team is standing ready to help you make the smoothest possible transition.

Sincerely,
Stewart Walker
Dr. A. Stewart Walker
Director, product initiatives
Geospatial eXploitation Products

Executive compass | June 2010

BAE Systems invests in customer-focused testing for GXP software

Robert Cline

Rob Cline,
Product support manager

For the past 18 months, we have been working diligently behind the scenes to expand our global support and training assets. Recognized in the industry for unrivaled customer support, the BAE Systems GXP team has gone the extra mile to create an operation that mirrors the customer environment and emphasizes quality in the development and application of GXP products.

The GXP Product Support group, formerly known as the GXP Test team, has migrated from a traditional requirements-based testing program to one that focuses on customer-derived data and workflows to ensure high-quality product delivery. The Product Support group works closely with the Customer Support group, and directly with customers, to create and exploit a broad knowledge base for resolving unique issues. Customer feedback and issues uncovered using customer data and workflows are cycled into evolving test procedures for future product development.

To sustain its strong user focus, the Product Support group has expanded its staff to include new team members with real-world experience in image and geospatial analysis, GIS and remote sensing, systems engineering, photogrammetry, and automated testing, which allows us to quickly respond to customers’ requests. Many customers are industry drivers such as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, ESRI, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, Fugro, Northrop Grumman, and others.

To create a more efficient and effective collaborative environment, we added a Product Support lab with an “open bullpen” area to encourage interaction and communication among the team. The lab has an independent network that allows for greater freedom when testing network issues such as latency. New servers with ample data storage were brought online to help store and easily exploit customer-derived data during testing.

Along with additional staff and a new lab, we have updated all hardware so that test engineers have the right equipment to get the job done. The group now has multiple machines to cover the complete range of platforms, operating systems, and classification levels on hardware configurations that closely mirror those of our customers. To maintain authentic customer configurations, development builds and additional software used in the engineering environment are not permitted on testing machines.

In addition to all of these accomplishments, there’s more to come. The next level of advanced testing includes a rapidly configurable virtual lab and automated test suite to focus on how customers use GXP products.

The Product Support group is pleased with these new directions that will elevate our support services to higher levels. Our goal is to make sure you have the highest quality software that’s right for the job, whether it’s SOCET SET, SOCET GXP, GXP Xplorer, or any of our future products.

Thank you,

Robert Cline

Robert Cline
GXP product support manager

Executive compass | March 2010

GXP delivers outside-the-box support

Jeff Allen

Jeff Allen, general manager

BAE Systems’ Geospatial eXploitation Products (GXP) business is growing to satisfy the requirements of our diverse global user community. Because of the rapid adoption of SOCET GXP® and the continued success of SOCET SET®, we are ramping up our GXP development and support efforts.

Our commitment to supporting our customers’ missions remains a fundamental goal. We are expanding our customer support team to continue the effective, timely, and reliable support end-users expect. On-site support is the best way to observe how customers use GXP products in their unique working environments. GXP representatives in the field are forward-deployed observers who identify target areas for product improvement. Consequently, we can assist in optimizing workflows and resolving issues quickly.

While we strive to ensure that GXP products are intuitive and easy to learn, formal training is the fastest way to maximize productivity. The GXP team is dedicated to delivering relevant training with a flexible schedule at no additional charge. This year we are expanding our training efforts, adding a sixth global training site in Cambridge, U.K. to increase training availability in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region.

We are strengthening our engineering organization to accelerate the integration of planned product enhancements and increase the speed at which we field user-driven improvements. Our development team has expanded to allow these delivery improvements without affecting our plans to integrate the SOCET SET capabilities into SOCET GXP in 2011.

The new GXP Xplorer Web application is a Web site that allows role-based access to catalog, search, view, and retrieve geospatial products and documents.

The GXP Xplorer Web application is a Web site that allows role-based access to catalog, search, view, and retrieve geospatial products and documents.

We also are very excited to be growing our product line with the introduction of GXP Xplorer later this year. GXP Xplorer is a new software product that assists users with discovering, cataloging, and accessing a variety of geospatial data over networked systems, configurable workgroups, or disconnected desktops. Its graphical interface with map overlay is easy to learn for first-time users, yet allows advanced, federated searches. Users can access discovery and ordering capabilities through a rich application client or a browser-based Web client.

I hope you have the chance to join us this year for the 2010 BAE Systems GXP International User Conference and Professional Exchange, which takes place April 19 – 23 at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines in San Diego. This event is an excellent opportunity for education and a professional exchange — and to have a little fun. I look forward to meeting as many users as possible at the conference.

Sincerely,
Jeff Allen
Jeff Allen
General manager
Geospatial eXploitation Products

December 2009 | Executive compass

Around the world in 80 days

Nigel Lambton, Director of sales and marketing, EMEA

Nigel Lambton
Director of sales
and marketing, EMEA

So it’s Wednesday, that must mean I’m in Eindhoven? Or is it Prague? No, Riyadh of course. Could it really be the end of 2009 already? That sums up my first year as the new director of sales and marketing for Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).

When the GXP team said “We spend a lot of time on the road,” they weren’t kidding! Of the 42 countries in the EMEA region, our small team, based in Cambridge, U.K., has managed to visit 18 — some multiple times — and I have attended 15 of the 16 industry exhibitions, shows, and seminars the EMEA team has participated in, exhibited at, or organized. The feedback I have received throughout the year has been greatly appreciated. Please don’t be offended if I have not yet had the opportunity to introduce myself personally. I plan to cover more ground in 2010.

Nigel Lambton around the world

Getting out and meeting customers is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. No matter how many emails or phone calls I log, it is no match for personal, face-to-face discussions, where I gain an understanding of how different users are implementing SOCET SET® and SOCET GXP® software in their workflows and production lines.

I compare my GXP career with SOCET GXP v3.0 software — my professional background is predominately image analysis, and both SOCET GXP v3.0 and I were introduced at the end of 2008. As 2009 draws to a close, I reflect on the vast amount I have learned about photogrammetry and geospatial intelligence. Although, as one of my colleagues said “It’s easier to punch functionality into a computer than it is the new boss!” Clearly, I have more to learn.

However, armed with my erudite skills, I am well-prepared for the launch of SOCET GXP v3.1 in early 2010, and the next step for both software and Lambton. With additional SOCET SET strengths and mid-range photogrammetry tools being integrated into SOCET GXP’s automated processes, it swiftly is becoming the exploitation and production tool of choice. There is particular interest in the BAE Systems unmanned aircraft systems team that has developed our UAVs. If you follow BAE Systems news, you will have seen that the MANTIS UAV is now flying, and will use SOCET GXP in its ground station for exploiting still-imagery and full-motion video data sets. BAE Systems’ HERTI UAV team also is using SOCET GXP. The HERTI system captures, processes, and disseminates high-quality imagery.

Moreover, SOCET GXP’s pedigree — and now proven advantage — has reinforced our standing with many NATO nations, most notably the British military. All three services will be using SOCET GXP by the end of March 2010, and the British Army and Royal Air Force are training with it prior to taking the software on live operations abroad.

BAE Systems' MANTIS UAV is a fully autonomous next-generation unmanned aircraft system.

BAE Systems’ MANTIS UAV is a fully autonomous
next-generation unmanned aircraft system.

It has to be said that the larger part of the EMEA customer base is comprised of photogrammetry users and the production community. The release of SOCET SET v5.5 earlier this year delivered a significant number of new features to update existing versions, which will assist us with transitioning all users to SOCET GXP in the future. I believe this demonstrates our ongoing commitment to a valuable customer base. I am particularly enthused to see that SOCET GXP’s continually increasing functionality is meeting and surpassing the expectations of those whose production processes are rooted in the SOCET SET era. The veteran software may be reaching its twilight years, but we all still can learn a lot from veterans.

It is with a very optimistic outlook that I can reflect on a massively successful year for the GXP group, particularly the EMEA team, and I look forward to meeting more of you in due course. There are many significant developments in the works that we plan to demonstrate during the 2010 user conferences; in San Diego next April, and Cambridge in September.

Finally, I must express my sincere thanks to the many organizations who have welcomed me with open arms and to our global GXP team for the support and assistance in a packed first year.

Seasons greeting to all.

Sincerely,

Nigel Lambton
Director of sales and marketing, EMEA
BAE Systems Geospatial eXploitation Products (GXP®)

Executive compass | October 2009

SOCET GXP® v3.1 debuts later this year

Mark Sarojak

Mark Sarojak
Director of sales, Americas

I have good news and bad news. Bad news first — Labor Day has come and gone, and summer in the Northern Hemisphere is over. The days are getting shorter and winter is on its way. After spending the past five years on the East Coast, just thinking about winter is enough to send chills up my spine. The good news is that I’m happy to report my family and I have moved back to San Diego and the weather here is amazing all year.

There is good news for everyone else too — the end of summer means that the official release of SOCET GXP® v3.1 is right around the corner.

Here are a few SOCET GXP v3.1 highlights:

Usability

Ease-of-use is a critical component of SOCET GXP and we have added many new capabilities in this area. Analysts can use the flip tool to quickly and visually browse through stacked graphics, eliminating the need to hunt, zoom, and precisely click on the desired file for editing. Cursor enhancements indicate the cardinal direction and bearing for roaming, and void pixel removal eliminates black edges that appear with non-square imagery when mosaicked with Ortho On-the-Fly or Virtual Mosaic tools. For improved situational awareness when working with data sets covering a small field of view, reference imagery and maps such as DPPDB, CIB®, or CADRG can be automatically loaded into the Multiport viewing window, or used as a control source for glove align, registration, and triangulation.

Additional usability upgrades include double-click to center and zoom; auto-annotation improvements; enhanced image display; and reduced load, zoom, and pan times.

The Xport analysis and visualization window.

The Xport analysis and visualization window.

Xport

The Xport is a new window in SOCET GXP used for in-depth analysis and quick visualization. Multiple image-processing algorithms are applied to separate panels in real-time. Xport panels are linked to each other, and to the main Multiport, for dynamic panel updates while roaming in the main viewer. The goal is to streamline exploitation by reducing time spent determining the appropriate image-analysis method to use.

Sensors and data

SOCET GXP v3.1 supports TerraSAR-X, RADARSAT-2, EROS-B, and FORMOSAT-2 sensor models, and loads standard data formats such as MrSID Georeferenced, IMAGINE IGE, ENVI, and BigTIFF (image and terrain).

Video analysis

The SOCET GXP Video Analysis tool reads and displays live video feeds or saved video files from airborne sensors. It uses the image metadata and a video sensor model to establish accurate geopositioning for detailed analysis and intelligence reporting. BAE Systems developed the application to give analysts a convenient way to work with video files. With a single click while viewing a video sequence, users can move still frames into the Multiport viewing window for further analysis. The Video Analysis tool also is integrated with Google Earth to provide sensor position, field of view, and situational awareness for video footprints.

Hyperspectral and multispectral analysis

Multiple algorithms are added for processing information from hyperspectral and multispectral image bands. New algorithms include destriping, reflectance calibration, principal components analysis, unsupervised classification, supervised classification, spectral change detection, anomaly detection, spectral unmixing, and band math for user-customized image processing. Further updates to the pan-sharpening algorithms include rigorous transformation (using sensor models and terrain) of RGB bands into the sensor space and model of the panchromatic image.

Terrain analysis

New tools for slope and aspect analysis add visualization capabilities to complement terrain-shaded relief displays. SOCET GXP v3.1 optimizes terrain analysis results by creating them on-the-fly as a graphic display. When displayed with stereo imagery, analysis tools can be visualized in stereo. The results can be converted to a georeferenced raster image product such as GeoTIFF. The line-of-sight tool is enhanced to display as a range fan or 360-degree view, and can be converted to a georeferenced raster image product.

Vector analysis

Use SOCET GXP v3.1 refined vector analysis tools to quickly locate and download critical information to aid analysis. The connection to Web Map, Web Feature and Web Coverage Services (WMS, WFS, and WCS respectively) conforms to the standards of the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.®. Another modification is the capability to upload Web graphics and images into feature attributes, which can be exported and viewed in Google Earth. Volumetric features can now be displayed in Flythrough mode.

Product generation

Product generation is one of SOCET GXP’s most valuable features. The tool has been restructured to separate the process of creating and editing a template from applying the template. Users can change font, size, and color in the same text annotation, and the legend has been updated to designate the number of columns, fonts, titles, colors, and positions.

Web services

  • Connect to OGC-compliant Web-content services using standard protocols for requests and responses so that geographic information can be served over the Internet:
    • WMS – georeferenced map images are generated by a map server using data from a GIS database
    • WFS – geographic features
    • WCS – geographic coverage
  • SOCET for ArcGIS® results tab added to query tool
  • Auto-attribute features from image source metadata such as date, time, CE, LE, and sensor
  • Export pictures to Google Earth as feature attributes
  • Generate volumetric features from the SOCET GXP Spatially Enabled Exploitation, or SEE module, and display the features in 3-D flythrough mode

Stability

The GXP team is committed to improving product reliability. We are always working to optimize the stability of software releases. We have put udated testing procedures in place and have restructured the release candidate program. The support of our customer-partners who have volunteered to participate is invaluable. Please keep your expectations high — we will meet or exceed them.

Watch for complete details in the SOCET GXP v3.1 release enhancements brochure, new software documentation, training manuals, and quick-reference guides. I have even asked Rachel Snyder to reorder our depleted stock of GXP cookies! Let’s hope those cookies will be enough to get us all through the winter ahead.

Sincerely,

Mark Sarojak
Mark Sarojak
Director of sales, Americas
BAE Systems Geospatial eXploitation Products (GXP®)

P.S. Remember to visit our Web site and register early for a free SOCET SET or SOCET GXP training class in your area. San Diego is a popular destination in the winter! I hope to see you here.

GXP regional training centers

  • Reston, Virginia
  • Tampa, Florida
  • St. Louis
  • San Diego
  • Denver
  • NEW! Coming soon in 2010: Cambridge, United Kingdom

Executive compass | June 2009

Behind the scenes at the GXP® User Conference

Chris W. Higgins, customer support director

Chris W. Higgins, customer support director

Welcome to summer in the Northern Hemisphere, from the GXP customer support team. Ah, June — vacations, sailing, relaxing by the pool — wait, it’s only 10 months until the 2010 BAE Systems GXP International User Conference and Professional Exchange takes place. We have to get started; we need to make plans. Not to worry; we already have. The date is set, April 19 – 23, 2010, same venue as this year, the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines in San Diego. The format should be similar as well, with the exception of a few changes to incorporate the outstanding feedback received from workshop surveys and conference evaluations.

OK, I can go back to soaking up summer. But first, I want to take a few minutes to explain what happens behind the scenes before and during the conference.

Planning begins with a review of survey responses from the previous conference to facilitate drafting a rough agenda. From there, we start the search for prospective speakers and discuss workshop and professional exchange topics. At about four months from the start of the conference, we assign teams to work on each of the workshops and presentations. One month out, we begin a six-step review process to finalize all presentations. Two weeks from the event, we ship more than 25 cases packed with demonstration and training equipment from Reston, Virginia to San Diego.

Everything culminates with rehearsal week. We assemble the global customer support and product management teams in San Diego to rehearse, review, and revise presentations for the conference and government contractor session at the
BAE Systems campus. Systems are allocated and plans for moving equipment are finalized. Rehearsals take place from 7:30 a.m. to early evening. Then, at the end of the week, we gear up for our move to the hotel. On Saturday morning we fill a large flatbed truck and a panel van with equipment and supporting materials for the conference. In one big move, which is accomplished in less than two hours, the entire kit is loaded and transported to the Hilton hotel.

The day before the conference, starting at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, we meet to discuss logistics, then split up to assemble the Internet café, walkup workstations, workshop rooms, and main presentation room. During conference week, the customer support team works around the clock to make sure all systems and presentations run flawlessly. Along the way, there are generally a few runs to the local electronics superstore for emergency parts. Setup is complete by noon and we conclude the day with one last round of rehearsals. Final preparations are put in place, and then it’s showtime!

We look forward to seeing you at the conference next April.

Sincerely,
Chris Higgins
Chris W. Higgins
Director, customer support
BAE Systems Geospatial eXploitation Products

Executive compass | March 2009

SOCET GXP®: Future directions

Dr. A. Stewart Walker, Director of Product Initiatives

Dr. A. Stewart Walker, Director of Product Initiatives

On the eve of another GXP user conference, with its focus on major new releases, SOCET GXP® v3.1 and SOCET SET® v5.5, it’s timely to pause a moment and ponder about our directions for the future. As SOCET GXP gains increasing traction and is well received in the image analysis world, commercial customers are eager for v4.0 in 2010, with the remaining capabilities that they need to achieve what they can do with SOCET SET, yet with the updated style and ease of use of the younger product.

SOCET GXP v3.1 has many new features, but one that’s worth a moment’s thought is our first group of capabilities for analysis of hyperspectral and multispectral imagery (HSI and MSI). All of us are familiar with imagery from satellites such as GeoEye®-1, with one panchromatic and four multispectral bands, and the availability of pan-sharpening and other MSI capabilities is welcome. We await with anticipation the launch of WorldView-2, with its high-resolution panchromatic and eight multispectral bands. And the appearance of studies such as land-cover classifications bears out the manufacturers’ claims that high-performance commercial airborne digital sensors not only replace aerial film cameras but also offer accurate radiometry and thus open up a whole new range of applications. Hyperspectral sensors, with tens or hundreds of bands, often stretching beyond the visible as far as the thermal infrared, are more challenging to understand and demand powerful software to render the huge image cubes into useful information.

Our goal for SOCET GXP is not to offer specialist HSI and MSI software but to provide basic capabilities that are fully integrated with all of the other functionality and equally easy to use. The initial offering in SOCET GXP v3.1 includes destriping, principal components analysis, supervised and unsupervised classifications, change detection, anomaly detection and spectral unmixing. A little beyond v3.1 will come atmospheric correction and more algorithms for pan-sharpening, including the innovative Ehlers fusion. But we realize that customers’ needs in HSI and MSI processing vary, so, starting with a workshop during the GXP User Conference and proceeding via a series of customer visits by product managers, we shall work with customers to see what else to add so that the product is of maximum value. This is no easy task. Every HSI and MSI analyst has favorite algorithms and there are thousands to choose from. I’ve just read a review paper, “Change detection techniques,” by Dengsheng Lu and various co-authors[1] and on just change detection it assesses 31 algorithms and cites no fewer than 273 references! So we have to be selective, however we want to cater to customers’ requirements as best we can in this important new area of functionality.

More challenging than HSI and MSI is radar. SOCET SET and SOCET GXP include sensor models and ingest capabilities for numerous radar sensors. Customers can share in the excitement being generated by the superb imagery and metadata streaming from TerraSAR-X and COSMO-SkyMed. But we treat these as images rather than take full advantage of this particularly informative data type. We have special feature matching in SOCET SET to facilitate point matching for triangulation between electro-optical and radar imagery, but it’s still all imagery. Now we are looking at going further and digging into the complex radar data to extract more information. For example, radar images collected from similar platform positions at different points in time can be used in a process called coherent change detection, which can yield information about height changes that are much smaller than a pixel. Applications of improvised explosive devices detection and analysis of subsidence caused by mining spring to mind. We are putting together a roadmap of radar capabilities that we can add in the years to come.

For acronym lovers, image analysts and photogrammetrists alike, radar leads naturally to LiDAR. It’s another active sensor, returning XYZ coordinates and intensity values for many millions of points per hour of flying. As laser pulse rates increase with technological progress and Multiple Pulse in the Air electronics break down another barrier, LiDAR point clouds can now be as dense as several points per square meter. How do we process all this data? SOCET SET can ingest LiDAR, for example in the LAS 1.2 standard format, display points, create intensity orthophotos and stereomates, and allow the user to apply the powerful ITE tools to edit the point cloud. BAE Systems is not a provider of specialist LiDAR software, but it’s remarkable how many photogrammetric capabilities are easily applicable to LiDAR data. Remember too that more than 50% of LiDAR systems are sold with imaging sensors, typically medium-format digital frame cameras: the strength of photogrammetric software is the easy fusion and manipulation of the LiDAR and image datasets. And we can do more by building on our strengths. What about a LiDAR sensor model, or how could we use NGATE’s simultaneous generation of DSM and DEM elevation data to process LiDAR point clouds? We’re looking hard at these issues.

With HSI and MSI, radar, and LiDAR, we have exciting work ahead to meet customers’ requirements for processing data from these popular sensors. That will keep us well occupied, but where could we go next? Someone is always excited by a novel computer platform. What about SOCET GXP on an iPhone? Not very practical, perhaps, but an operational system on a ruggedized handheld with a built-in GPS receiver is intriguing. Or could we offer image analysts, perhaps, better links between the imagery and one of the modern geospatial text searching services, so the analyst can find out more about the places on the image and their culture? How can we distill your aspirations and our ideas into a practical direction for SOCET GXP? Tell us what you would like to have – or all this will just be RUMINT!

Sincerely,
sig_stewart_walker
Dr. A. Stewart Walker
Director of Product Initiatives
BAE Systems GXP

[1] Lu, D., Mausel, P., Brondízio, E., and Moran, E. 2004. Change Detection Techniques. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 25(12), 2365–2407

December 2008 | Executive compass

2008: the year in review

Dan London

As the year comes to a close, I am encouraged by our progress. The recent release of SOCET GXP v3.0® represents the achievement of a milestone. BAE Systems has developed a single application with a wealth of automated image analysis and geospatial production tools in one product. The response from customers has been overwhelming, proving that we have the right product to offer at the right time.

I am very proud of the GXP team for their commitment to achieving the vision set forth just five years ago to transform our industry. We have integrated image analysis (IA) and geospatial analysis (GA) workflows into one intuitive product that facilitates analysis, production, collaboration, and data sharing. Our team is constantly pushing the envelope to implement technologically advanced capabilities into GXP products, and our customers are a big part of the equation. The more we know about operational workflows, the better positioned we are to build smart tools to accommodate users in different environments. We hope you’ll continue to provide the valuable feedback that contributes to our success.

I look forward to greater achievements in 2009 and beyond. Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season.

Sincerely,

Dan London
Vice president, sales and marketing
BAE Systems GXP

Executive compass | September 2008

SOCET GXP® v3.0 transforms image and geospatial analysis

Dan London

Five years ago, I observed a transformation taking place in the GIS community. Image analysts who traditionally used electronic light tables for analyzing satellite and aerial images were starting to ask for tools to extract accurate geospatial information, while photogrammetrists, cartographers, and geospatial production teams were looking to add image-analysis tools, increase ease-of-use for rigorous processing tasks, and improve productivity.

At that time, BAE Systems offered two distinct software products — the VITec® electronic light table (VITec ELT), used for image viewing, analysis, and exploitation, and SOCET SET®, the versatile photogrammetry suite for precision 3-D mapping, feature collection, and digital terrain generation. In the late 1990s, as technology became more accessible, many GIS software products flooded the market, creating an abundance of specialized, task-based tools.

After working with many VITec ELT and SOCET SET users, it became apparent that an ideal solution would consist of a single application to capture the functionality required for both disciplines. Since the R&D, engineering, and product implementation teams for VITec ELT and SOCET SET operate under the same business within BAE Systems, it made sense to pool future development efforts to one scalable, integrated application that would be accessible to an expanding user base. In addition, some of BAE Systems’ internal programs use the application, which provides a built-in test-bed during product development. Guided by market demand and an eye toward implementing new technology — such as smart algorithms to speed processing times and reduce workflows — BAE Systems began rapid software development on a new product.

In October 2004, SOCET GXP®, the next-generation image analysis and geospatial production application made its debut. The plan was to deliver the strengths of VITec ELT and SOCET SET in one cohesive package. With each new release, we have moved closer to the goal of incorporating a wide range of functionality in a single product.

SOCET GXP v3.0, scheduled for public distribution later this month, combines the disciplines of image analysis and geospatial analysis in one application — we call this eXtreme Analysis™. eXtreme Analysis offers a combination of automated tools for image and geospatial analysis in a single product to facilitate collaboration and interoperability among users and decision-makers at all levels. These convenient tools, along with streamlined workflows, assist in organizing the vast resources needed for multiple projects, from orthorectification, triangulation, creating 3-D image maps and terrain models, to populating and accessing shared geospatial databases. Rigorous sensor modeling, a hallmark of the SOCET SET application, is now available in SOCET GXP as well, which makes it possible for users to combine imagery from several sensors — commercial, defense, airborne, and customer-defined plug-in sensor models — in one project. And with the implementation of a brand new GUI, most tasks are initiated with a few mouse-clicks. This is a major differentiator for SOCET GXP; the workspace can be organized according to individual or organizational preferences for maximum ease of use.

When we demonstrated SOCET GXP v3.0 technology in April at our annual user’s conference, customers were very impressed. Working directly with our core customers in a collaborative manner helps us understand how the integration of image analysis and geospatial analysis is making a positive impact on reducing production timelines, and offers insight into areas of improvement for future releases. Our ultimate goal is to make SOCET GXP the best software available for image analysis, geospatial production, and mapping for customers worldwide.

Sincerely,
Dan London
Dan London
Vice president, sales and marketing

Executive compass | June 2008

Ground-breaking Ortho On-the-Fly tool orthorectifies images in near-real-time

Kurt de Venecia

Kurt de Venecia

It wasn’t long ago that pre-processing of imagery as an advanced or extended step was required for the simplest viewing solutions. One example of pre-processing that is nearly obsolete is epipolar rectification for stereo visualization. An on-the-fly solution for epipolar rectification in the late 1980s to early 1990s required custom hardware and software solutions, affordable only by large government agencies such as the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA). In 1990, these early solutions cost the DMA over $1 million per workstation.

In the early 1990s, commercial photogrammetry software applications, such as SOCET SET®, running on commercial hardware platforms, i.e., Sun®, SGI®, or PC workstations, required pre-processing of left/right stereo pairs for epipolar rectification. The requirements for epipolar rectification produced copies of the original images with a simple affine transformation applied to both left/right images to correct for offsets, rotation, and scales. The resulting image pairs were stored as separate files, which were loaded into the display for comfortable stereo viewing. The minifications, or image pyramids, had to be computed for these derived images as well as the raw ones. There are still products today that create left/right stereo pairs, enabling software applications to work with the imagery. However, on-the-fly epipolar processing and smart photogrammetry software solutions could make these products obsolete.

At the 2008 BAE Systems GXP International User Conference in San Diego last month, we demonstrated ground-breaking new tools for SOCET GXP® v3.0, scheduled for release later this year. One of these tools is Ortho On-the-Fly, which orthorectifies images in near-real-time with minimal mathematical compromises when compared to similar functionality in SOCET SET’s Ortho module. This innovative development is a sign of the times. The number-crunching power of today’s desktop and laptop PCs has increased to remarkable levels. Powerful computers, coupled with the availability of low-cost terrain and raw imagery with fairly accurate metadata, allows tools like Ortho On-the-Fly to be used immediately.

Ortho On-the-Fly orthorectifies raw imagery, and mosaics the component images together to produce a continuous image, which can cover large areas. The large area coverage mosaic can be used for immediate product generation or further analysis. This functionality makes SOCET GXP unique in the marketplace. It offers image analysts, geospatial analysts and mapping professionals an easy- to-use application, as well as a visual conduit into advanced capabilities within the software.

Throughout the GXP User Conference, the Ortho On-the-Fly tool exemplified a recurring theme — that product processing of raw imagery and data sources should be done by the user at the workstation level. Keynote presentations echoed the necessity for analysts to have access to raw data, such as complex radar data, as part of the workflow. Tools like Ortho On-the-Fly allow first responders to view and analyze imagery in a corrected form (orthorectified) or revert back to the raw data.

There are advantages to having the original data in this convenient, new way. For example, mosaicking imagery without orthorectification will result in discontinuities at the join lines between component images, which are likely be confusing or annoying to users. Mosaicking with the Ortho On-the-Fly tool allows for image correction; consequently, these discontinuities are minimized.

On the other hand, raw projective imagery allows true 3D measurement, whereas measurement in a 2D orthorectified mosaic with interpolation in the underlying elevation data to estimate Z is not as good or accurate. Therefore, Ortho On-the-Fly gives analysts the benefit of an orthorectified mosaic from the raw images, thereby ensuring that these raw images remain available for precise measurement or targeting. Finally, the raw imagery is required for triangulation with error propagation, data extraction such as automatic terrain generation, visualization, and other advanced products.

eXtreme Analysis with Ortho-On-the-Fly: a closer look

The example below illustrates how easy it is for terrain and imagery to be combined for an Ortho On-the-Fly result. This example uses SRTM DTED level 1, which has near worldwide coverage that can be purchased for $60 per DVD (region), with all 13 DVDs covering nearly the entire globe, and Digital Globes’ WorldView-1 rigorous imagery in NCDRD format with a horizontal and vertical error of a few meters in this sample. The displacement of the imagery is clearly visible in the non-orthorectified display, whereas the displacement is only a couple of meters after pressing the Ortho On-the-Fly button on the SOCET GXP Multiport. The amount of displacement can be reduced further using SOCET GXP v3.0′s advanced tools for triangulation and automatic terrain generation.

Mosaic with SRTM DTED level 1 and Ortho On-the-Fly.

Mosaic with SRTM DTED level 1 and Ortho On-the-Fly.


Mosaic without terrain and without Ortho On-the-Fly.

Mosaic without terrain and without Ortho On-the-Fly.

The ease of use and real-time processing of raw imagery allows analysts and mapping professionals to produce a variety of products that were once created in advanced or extended processes. SOCET GXP v3.0 provides tools for “do-it-yourself” users, from data analysis to product generation. A do-it-yourself user can improve the accuracy of an Ortho On-the-Fly solution when the georeferencing information of the input imagery and the underlying terrain model is inaccurate. The do-it-yourself user has access to tools such as triangulation and terrain generation/edit that allow higher levels of accuracy when the input data needs improvement. These processes are still part of advanced or extended batch solutions, but they are easily accessible from the Ortho On-the-Fly view or from the SOCET GXP Workspace Manager.

Today’s faster computer processors and data pipes allow on-the-fly process advances to include near-real-time orthorectification and mosaicking for hundreds of images as seen in the SOCET GXP v3.0 Multiport. With tools such as Ortho On-the-Fly, orthorectified products stored as separate files may become as obsolete as storing separate epipolar rectified images files for stereo visualization. Before that happens, there are many places where batch processes remain necessary to allow fully productive image exploitation. One such process is the creation of the image pyramids required to accomplish real-time image zooming.

Eventually, image zooming for viewing, automatic tie point measurement for triangulation, and automatic terrain generation may all be on-the-fly. The benefit of not creating image pyramids would yield a savings of one-third of the disk space consumed by the full-resolution image, as well as the burden of housekeeping and data management for image pyramid files. It’s only a matter of time before on-the-fly processing is standard for many analysis and geospatial product generation workflows.

Sincerely,
Kurt de Venecia
Kurt de Venecia
Director of GXP Product Management
BAE Systems GXP

Executive compass | March 2008

SOCET for ArcGIS® and SEE modules support the development and analysis of GEOINT products

Drew Fisher

Photogrammetry and image analysis are used to store information in a GIS database using ground coordinates and attributes, then the power of GIS is unleashed to give the Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) community capabilities that were not readily available before this combination became a reality. BAE Systems’ Geospatial eXploitation Products (GXP) business has built two products to meet the rather different requirements of geospatial analysts (GAs) and image analysts (IAs).

The production of GEOINT products requires sophisticated tools to deliver accurate mapping data derived from imagery. The dynamic combination of photogrammetry and GIS expedites this. It is a powerful combination that facilitates the measurement of points, lines and areas on images using rigorous mathematics to generate ground coordinates, and the collection or updates of attributes from measurements or image interpretation. The storage of this information in a GIS database leads to a host of further advantages: secure storage; convenient retrieval; information sharing; viewing information against new imagery as well as that from which it was obtained; versioning; comprehensive spatial, temporal or attribute queries, spatial analysis, so that layers of data and related topographic information reveal elusive secrets; and extensive cartographic capabilities to create beautiful, easy-to-use map products.

BAE Systems’ SOCET for ArcGIS module, available in its SOCET SET software, was built specifically for the GA community, while its Spatially Enabled Exploitation (SEE) module for the innovative SOCET GXP application addresses image analysis needs. Both products offer a full range of capabilities for creating GEOINT products.

SOCET for ArcGIS

For GAs, SOCET for ArcGIS combines the photogrammetric capabilities of SOCET SET with the cartographic and feature editing tools of ESRI® ArcGIS, accessed via ArcMap®. SOCET for ArcGIS provides robust geospatial analysis and production capabilities, enabling GAs to extract features and elevations in ground space to create precise and accurate geodatabases. In addition, as each feature is collected, basic attribute information can be tagged, assigned, and managed using ArcGIS feature attribute editing tools.

Furthermore, as new imagery is collected, map updates and edits can easily be compiled by loading the appropriate geodatabase and using either SOCET SET Feature Extraction or ArcMap drawing tools to add, modify or edit features. Another key advantage in using SOCET for ArcGIS is the ability for GAs to use a large variety of remotely sensed satellite and airborne imagery to extract and update features from the most current, detailed and accurate sources available. The combined SOCET for ArcGIS and ArcMap toolkit enables GAs to work in a seamless photogrammetric and GIS environment to compile and maintain GEOINT geodatabases efficiently.

From tentative connections between analog and analytical photogrammetric workstations with digital mapping and GIS systems, first attempted 30 years ago, to today’s fusion of digital photogrammetry and GIS technologies has been a remarkable progression.

Currently, a large number of prime and sub contractors working on NGA’s Global Geospatial Intelligence (GGI) program have added the SOCET for ArcGIS module into their data production workflow to support the extraction and creation of geodatabases for Regional Line (RLD) and Urban Feature Databases (UFD). The workflow enables the smooth transition from photogrammetric collection of features from stereo imagery to a finished, topologically structured and attributed geodatabase.

Note:
SOCET for ArcGIS is available now in SOCET SET® v5.4.1, and in the near future in SOCET GXP® v3.0.

SEE

View and edit feature layers using SOCET GXP's SEE functionality

View and edit feature layers using SOCET GXP's SEE functionality

Spatially Enabled Exploitation (SEE), an add-on module for SOCET GXP, is designed for IAs. It is easy to use and provides straightforward tools suited to IAs with little or no experience of photogrammetry or ESRI products. SEE allows IAs — for the first-time ever — to populate the ESRI geodatabase and answer critical questions using temporal, spatial, and attribute queries. Moreover, routine IA graphics drawn by users automatically populate the ESRI geodatabase instead of being exported to a shapefile. With this direct connection to the ESRI geodatabase, IAs can compare features across multiple images for accurate and efficient change detection, a critical IA requirement.

IAs can review and query features and overlay them on imagery within SOCET GXP’s Multiport viewing and exploitation windows. Features can be selected based on attributes then displayed using a variety of cartographic symbols and look-up tables. SOCET GXP SEE capabilities enable analysts to assess and understand various types of complex spatial relationships to support the efficient creation of GEOINT products, which are used by various agencies to support critical decisions in the areas of asset allocation, force protection, disaster relief, mission planning, change detection, and 3D visual simulation.

To view demonstrations and test the SEE module, I invite you to join us at this year’s GXP User Conference, April 7 – 11, in San Diego. The program includes technical presentations and workshops about new and existing product features; offers access to GXP customer support and product engineers to learn, in-depth, about future product direction; and allows attendees to participate in a number of social networking events. Hopefully you can make it to this year’s conference. I look forward to seeing you in La Jolla.

Sincerely,

Drew Fisher
Drew Fisher
Deputy Director of Sales, Americas
BAE Systems GXP

December 2007 | Executive compass

Looking forward to SOCET GXP v3.0

Mark Sarojak

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the year can fly by, and it’s been another great year here at BAE Systems GXP. Among other notable events, this year marked the rollout of SOCET SET® v5.4 with its innovative Next-Generation Automatic Terrain Extraction (NGATE) functionality and the release of SOCET GXP® v2.3.1 with its transformational Spatially Enabled Exploitation (SEE) capability and live connections to both Google Earth and the ESRI® geodatabase. Equally as important, we have enjoyed the pleasure of welcoming many new customers to our BAE Systems GXP family in 2007. Yes, it has been an excellent year.

Now we are looking forward to 2008 and the achievement of a major milestone in the evolution of our products…SOCET GXP v3.0. As you may know, for the past several years we have been working hard to combine our image analysis software (VITec) and geospatial analysis software (SOCET SET) into a single product line. From the start, we understood clearly that the resulting product would have to have the accuracy and precision of SOCET SET while maintaining the ease and speed of VITec. Furthermore, with over 25 years of combined history and capability, we knew that integrating the two products wouldn’t be an easy task.

Despite all of the challenges, the goal is within reach. In mid 2008, SOCET GXP v3.0 will arrive with updated user interfaces, improved workflows, and greatly increased capabilities for geospatial analysis, as well as several key enhancements for image analysis. This upcoming release is exciting news for all of us, and I am sure that you are looking forward to it as much as I am. We will be certain to keep you updated as we get closer to the SOCET GXP v3.0 release, but feel free to contact us in the mean time if you have any questions.

SOCET GXP v3.0 combines image analysis and geospatial analysis capabilities in the same software package.

SOCET GXP v3.0 combines image analysis and geospatial analysis capabilities in the same software package

SOCET GXP v3.0 combines image analysis and geospatial analysis capabilities in the same software package

Also, as a reminder, registration is now open for our 2008 BAE Systems GXP International User Conference, April 7 – 11, 2008, at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines in San Diego, CA. The conference is always a great opportunity for us to get together to share, learn, and build relationships, but this year’s conference promises to be even better with the introduction of a non-technical Executive Track and several new social events. Additionally, we will be showcasing SOCET GXP v3.0 with live demonstrations and workshops. I can’t stress enough how much we value your participation and feedback at our conference, and I look forward to seeing you all there. Just make sure to keep your eye on the calendar… April will be here before we know it.

Enjoy the holidays!!!

Sincerely,
Mark Sarojak
Mark Sarojak
Director of Sales, Americas
BAE Systems GXP

Executive compass | September 2007

What’s happening in the Asia-Pacific region?

Rob Coorey

Climate change, greenhouse gases, vegetation removal, environmental degradation, resource exploitation — these issues are popping up in the media worldwide. Everyone is affected, regardless of background, religion or nationality. Fortunately, the science of remote sensing and photogrammetry are at the forefront of better understanding issues such as this.

Environmental concerns of a regional or global scale require technology capable of handling large and complex tasks. Space-based sensors are perfectly designed to allow agencies and governments to look beyond the man made boundaries of state or territorial borders and to take an ecosystems approach to monitoring and measuring change. Moreover, with what I call “temporal remote sensing,” we can take better advantage of more than 25 years of satellite imagery in archive for most, if not all parts of the globe. Previously, the time difference in capturing large areas of land was seen as a disadvantage in trying to capture an environmental state at a given point in time. However, the relevance of temporal data is influenced by time.

Environmental issues, temporal data and change detection are key issues that are being addressed by many governments, both individually and in a regional cooperative fashion. In maximizing the benefits of temporal data, BAE Systems’ SOCET GXP® and SOCET SET® software are perfectly suited. SOCET GXP is an ideal tool for highlighting changes between images captured over time, while SOCET SET provides robust functionality for mosaicking vast areas of imagery, and to build surfaces for climate models and potential flood damage assessment.

This is an exciting time for remote sensing and photogrammetry as the science is having a rebirth in the pursuit of environmental protection, an issue of great importance not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but worldwide.

Sincerely,
Rob Coorey
Rob Coorey
Director Sales, Asia-Pacific
BAE Systems GXP

Executive compass | May 2007

2007 BAE SYSTEMS GXP International User Conference wrap-up

Dan London

On behalf of the GXP team, I’d like to thank those of you who travelled to San Diego to participate in the 2007 BAE SYSTEMS GXP International User Conference last month. We were pleased to see such a great turnout this year, and enjoyed meeting with you personally.

It’s gratifying to visit with customers, learn the numerous ways SOCET SET® and SOCET GXP® are used in your workflows, and understand the challenges you face. The annual User Conference gives us the opportunity to share new developments and demonstrate technology in the pipeline that will be introduced in forthcoming releases. As we look ahead, we are excited about new capabilities on the horizon. We’re glad that you have chosen GXP software, and our team is working hard to implement enhancements, many of which will deliver significant productivity improvements.

As always, we look forward to hearing from you throughout the year. Remember to check our website, www.baesystems.com/gxp, regularly for news and product updates, participate in the discussion forum, download current software patches, and read about training opportunities and conferences taking place in your region. We encourage you to visit us at industry events to learn about new software capabilities, including spatially enabled exploitation (SEE) and next-generation automatic terrain extraction (NGATE).

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for next year’s Conference:

2008 BAE SYSTEMS GXP International User Conference
April 7 – 11, 2008
Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines

We look forward to seeing you.

Sincerely,
Dan London
Dan London
Vice President, Sales and Marketing
BAE Systems GXP

Executive compass | February 2007

The year of terrain

John Allan

Terrain, or as it’s more commonly known, elevation data or a digital terrain model (DTM), is one of those data sources that many people take for granted. Until recently, it was really only exploited in the GIS world for the flythroughs that made people sit up and take notice. Few people asked the questions, “Was it taken into account when my 2D vectors were captured?” or “What was the accuracy of the DTM which was used to make my orthophoto?”

Now, as more systems are becoming integrated and photogrammetry, mapping and GIS systems are sharing datasets, it’s apparent that we all have to pay more attention to how we create, handle and work with height information.

Automatic texturing: 3D city view Data courtesy of Simmons Aerofilms/Pictometry

Automatic texturing: 3D city view Data courtesy of Simmons Aerofilms/Pictometry

In Europe, many SOCET SET® customers are working on making their country’s national terrain data set more accurate. Having more accurate height data also improves the quality of the orthophoto databases that are becoming a standard geospatial layer in many applications; the better the terrain is modeled, the better the removal of distortions due to height displacement and consequently, the more accurate the orthophotos. We’re finding that SOCET SET is helping out in many areas here. Automatic Terrain Extraction (ATE) techniques that use multi-pair and back matching are generating terrain models that require far less manual editing — higher accuracy and faster production times keep the production managers happy! Some editing is needed, though, and the broad range of tools available within the software makes that an efficient task, whether working on grids or TINs.

One of the challenges in building height models, however, is differentiating between the ground itself and what is on the surface, the DTM or the Digital Surface Model. To get to the true terrain (the ground), man-made objects and trees have to be removed, preferably automatically, and once again, the tools in SOCET SET are a great asset. For traditional orthophotos and terrain mobility analysis, bare earth (the DTM) is required. However, for new applications such as mobile telecommunications, airfield obstruction mapping, true orthophotos and 3D visualization, the Digital Surface Model is used.

Perspective view of terrain graphics

Perspective view of terrain graphics

Finally, when it comes to advanced visualizations such as urban modeling, SOCET SET offers a unique range of tools. For complex buildings and features, the volumetric data capture tools of the Feature module allow the most amazing city models to be built, comprising complex shapes and structures. Currently, this tends to be done manually. However, our goal is to automate this as much as possible, so the new Next Generation Automatic Terrain Extraction (NGATE) product, with its ability to height every pixel and to create very good renditions of the surface model, will be extremely valuable to all our customers. NGATE is a quantum leap forward in automation.

I think the year ahead will be “the year of terrain.” Accuracy is key. With SOCET SET, we aim to help all of our customers produce the best terrain and surface models of all.

Cheers,
John Allan
John Allan
Director of Sales and Marketing, EMEA
BAE Systems GXP

Executive compass | September 2006

BAE Systems supports the mapping community in many different ways

Stewart Walker

The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), founded in 1934, is a scientific association serving thousands of professional members around the world. Its mission is to advance knowledge and improve understanding of mapping sciences to promote the responsible applications of photogrammetry, remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS) and supporting technologies. ASPRS conducts some of its U.S. activities on a regional basis, though its international dimension consists primarily of two large annual conferences, in addition to its manuals and journal. Somewhat to my surprise, I was elected President of the ASPRS Southwest U.S. Region, and fulfilled presidential duties from March 2005 to May 2006. The year was undoubtedly busy and, I hope, fruitful.

GXP applications engineer Brandon Gilhooly demonstrates SOCET SET stereo viewing capabilities when viewed on a Planar SD2320W stereoscopic display incorporating StereoMirror technology. This advanced 3-D stereoscopic monitor allows users to obtain clear, bright, high-quality stereo images for extracting 3-D data of buildings, bridges, mountains, valleys or other data.

GXP applications engineer Brandon Gilhooly demonstrates SOCET SET stereo viewing capabilities when viewed on a Planar SD2320W stereoscopic display incorporating StereoMirror technology. This advanced 3-D stereoscopic monitor allows users to obtain clear, bright, high-quality stereo images for extracting 3-D data of buildings, bridges, mountains, valleys or other data.

The Region ran several technical meetings, including two on hand-held GPS in Costa Mesa and West Los Angeles. There was an extremely successful technical meeting at the Remote Sensing Laboratory in Las Vegas in November 2005, at which several RSL speakers and other ASPRS members discussed their work, and the Region ran a “meet and greet” reception for members at the ESRI® International User Conference in San Diego in July 2005.

The ASPRS 2006 Annual Conference in Reno, Nevada this past May was a big event for BAE Systems. On May 3, 2006, the BAE Systems Award, which is in its second year, was presented to Pravara Thanapura of South Dakota State University for her paper, “Mapping urban land cover using QuickBird NDVI image and GIS spatial modeling for runoff coefficient determination.” Pravara was the principal author of this study, which used remotely sensed imagery to determine land use to prepare the necessary inputs to hydrological runoff models of small urban watersheds for storm drainage design and analysis. She had four co-authors from her own institution and one from the Nevada Department of Transportation, a BAE Systems SOCET SET® customer.

Stewart Walker and ASPRS President Karen Schuckman present the BAE Systems Award to Pravara Thanapura of South Dakota State University at the ASPRS 2006 Annual Conference in Reno in May.

Stewart Walker and ASPRS President Karen Schuckman present the BAE Systems Award to Pravara Thanapura of South Dakota State University at the ASPRS 2006 Annual Conference in Reno in May.

The formal presentation of the Award was conducted by ASPRS President Karen Schuckman and myself. The platform was shared with Stephen K. Robinson, a NASA astronaut, and Don A. Liddle, a NASA photogrammetrist, who gave a captivating presentation on the use of photogrammetry to measure on-orbit damage to the Space Shuttle’s Thermal Protection System. Stephen presented a certificate, signed by the Space Shuttle crew, to Warren McKean of Towill Inc, a BAE Systems customer who had used SOCET SET to make some of the measurements.

During a very well attended Dessert Reception at the Reno event, the 2006-07 officers of the ASPRS Southwest U.S. Region were inducted. Members also staffed an ASPRS booth during the ESRI Conference, the GXP International User Conference, and the Arizona Professional Land Surveyors Conference in Tucson. The Region ran joint sessions with the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Sciences at the latter’s annual meeting in Tucson in April.

Rick Racine, GXP Sales Manager, Federal Accounts, demonstrates how SOCET GXP software was used for Hurricane Katrina rescue and evacuation efforts last September.

Rick Racine, GXP Sales Manager, Federal Accounts, demonstrates how SOCET GXP software was used for Hurricane Katrina rescue and evacuation efforts last September.

These activities were all part of a concerted effort to rejuvenate regional activities in the Southwest U.S. after several years of atrophy. ASPRS recognized the efforts of the 2005 officers with official citations. Although my year of office ended in May, BAE Systems hopes to continue its support of professional activities in photogrammetry and remote sensing as much as possible. I have been involved in the planning of the next technical meeting, which will take place at Airborne 1, El Segundo, CA, on September 28, 2006. These contributions continue a tradition-in previous years many BAE Systems staff members have been involved in ASPRS and other professional photogrammetry and remote sensing organizations.

Sincerely,
Stewart Walker
Stewart Walker
Director of Marketing
BAE Systems GXP

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

December 2005 | Executive compass

Welcome to GXP Mosaic, a great new forum for sharing important GXP news and updates with our customers and colleagues

Dan London

Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to visit many customer sites, and it’s truly rewarding to see first hand how well SOCET GXP is being received by the early adopters, and to observe how happy users are to have a flexible product that is easy to integrate into their working environments. It’s very gratifying to return to the office and share the news with the rest of the GXP team, especially the engineers who work so hard to build a fantastic product.

I encourage all of you to continue to provide your valuable feedback concerning functionality and
usability issues. Over the years, we’ve built a suite of extraordinary products, in part due to your willingness to stretch the products and provide vital input that assists in development efforts. Our goal is to understand the market and where it is going so that we can continue to offer superior products to the GIS community.

Sincerely,
Dan London
Dan London
Vice President, Sales and Marketing
BAE Systems GXP