March 2008

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

March 2008 | What's the buzz?

Stereo monitors: a candid review

Since the days of mammoth sized CRT monitors appear to be numbered, how in the world am I supposed to view stereo imagery?

Now that many companies are reporting that they are no longer producing CRT monitors, many GXP users are asking the same question. Fear not, my fellow stereo viewing geospatial types; all is not lost.

Over the past few months, I have had the opportunity to try out several different stereo display options in the hope of finding that one special monitor I call the “Holy Grail” of stereo monitors. This special monitor should have the following qualities:

  • light weight
  • flat panel
  • high-resolution
  • easy to set up and configure
  • work well when roaming, or in mono mode

In addition, the monitor should not require a separate apparatus such as synch box, ZScreen or active glasses. Last but not least, I should not have to take out a second mortgage to pay for it.

You may be thinking to yourself that I should be committed for believing a monitor like the one described above could exist. You may be right; but I set out to prove that such a monitor was a reality and I’m happy to report…it sort of is.

The stereo displays I evaluated include: Planar, MacNaughton, MiraCube, and True3di. Ratings are based on ease of use, set up/configuration, display/performance and cost. Each stereo display is given a number based on the following rating system:

Holy Grail criteria

5 = best
1 = least desirable

Note: All prices are approximate; contact the manufacturer for exact pricing.

Stereo displays reviewed

Planar

Planar SD01710 17-inch LCD display

Planar SD01710 17-inch LCD display

Model reviewed: Planar SD01710 17″ LCD Display
Other models available: 20″ SD2020, 24″ SD2420W, 26″ SD2620W
Price: Approximately $4,000 for model reviewed
Specifications and additional stereo display models can be found at:
http://www.planar3d.com/3d-products/

The Planar monitor uses two LCD flat panels with a semi-reflecting mirror at a diagonal between them. A special pair of polarized glasses is used to view in stereo. The Planar monitor requires a computer that contains dual PCI Express slots (if dual screen display is required) and the ability to hold a separate stereo flip card. The benefit is increased resolution for each monitor because each is run off an individual video card, provided by Planar. The display performance is also excellent; graphics appear clean and crisp. In addition, there does not seem to be any lag or other issues when roaming over imagery.

The Planar system can be more difficult to set up compared to some of the other options below, which is primarily due to the need for additional hardware. However, once properly configured and set up, the Planar monitor is easy to use, and the LCD displays are bright enough to allow stereo viewing even in a well lit environment.

RATING

Ease of use: 4
Setup/configuration: 2
Display/performance: 5
Cost: 2
Total score: 13

MacNaughton

McNaughton Perceiva 19-inch LCD display

McNaughton Perceiva 19-inch LCD display

Model reviewed: Perceiva DSD190 19″ LCD Display
Other models available: N/A
Price: Approximately $6,500 for model reviewed
Specifications for this display can be found at:
http://www.nuvision3d.com/download/Perceiva%20sheet-corp-mid.pdf

The Perceiva stereo display is an all-in-one unit containing a synch box and two LCD displays. However, the total size of the monitor is much smaller and lighter than a CRT monitor. The Perceiva has a flat screen which is very bright, making stereo viewing in lighted areas easy. A benefit of this monitor is the wide angle of view; you do not have to be directly in front of the monitor or at a certain height to see stereo. Additionally, set up is a breeze; only one stereo enabled video card is required, along with the choice of using one DVI or VGA input.

The monitor can cost more than some other options; however, there is no need for additional hardware. The light source within this monitor is very bright, which means it will get extremely hot. Imagery can look somewhat grainy in mono mode when compared to standard flat panels, but when in stereo mode, the monitor performs well. Lastly, when roaming around an image, it can appear to blur more when compared to roaming on a standard flat panel.

RATING

Ease of use: 5
Setup/configuration: 4
Display/performance: 3
Cost: 1
Total score: 13

MiraCube

MiraCube G240S 24-inch LCD Display

MiraCube G240S 24-inch LCD Display

Model reviewed: G240S 24″ LCD Display
Other models available: 31″ G320S, 19″ C190X, 19″ C190S
Price: Approximately $4000 for model reviewed
Specifications can be found at:
http://www.miracube.net/product/

The MiraCube stereo display has a 24″ glossy screen and looks like a standard 24” flat panel monitor. One of the best features of this monitor is how easy set up and configuration is; simply plug the monitor in and make sure the video card has been stereo enabled.

There are four stereo input modes to choose from: sequential frame, interlaced, and two-sub-field formats (images displayed side-by-side or top-to-bottom). SOCET SET uses sequential frame-to-display stereo. The monitor resolution must be set to 1900X1200 to display stereo. No matter what the input stereo format is, the monitor will reformat the video output to be horizontally interlaced, dropping the resolution to 1900X600 when displaying stereo. The reduction in resolution is not very noticeable when viewing imagery. The view is similar to that of the MacNaughton Perceiva monitors, with a slight graininess.

The interlacing method has a profound effect on graphics. Thin lines, those only one pixel wide, tend to look more like dashed lines than solid lines. Making the graphics thick alleviates part of the problem. The interlacing can also affect the cursor display by occasionally dropping the horizontal parts of the cross hair. Despite these deficiencies, the monitor proves sufficient for simple feature extraction and terrain editing.

The monitor has a fairly small sweet spot (six-degrees viewing angle), making it suitable for a single analyst, however, two people would have a hard time seeing stereo. When you venture too far out of the sweet spot, the image appears in pseudo-stereo.

RATING

Ease of use: 2
Setup/configuration: 5
Display/performance: 2
Cost: 3
Total score: 12

True3Di

True3Di 19-inch display

True3Di 19-inch display

Model reviewed: 19″ True3Di
Other models available: 40″, 24″ and 8″ versions
Price: Approximately $4,000 for model reviewed
Specifications can be found at:
http://www.true3di.com/content/products.htm

This stereo display is very similar to the Planar setup; it contains two LCD monitors with polarized glass set at a diagonal between them. These LCD displays are housed within a single case making the monitor about as large and heavy as a standard CRT. Moreover, if you wish to run a second monitor such as a standard flat panel, a second video card is required on the machine. There is no need for an additional flip card as that is done within the True3Di display.

Since this stereo display uses two independent LCD monitors, the resolution is very good and the display performance is excellent. Roaming around an image is smooth, and viewing stereo in a lighted room is easy. The display is slightly harder to set up due to problems with the documentation; however, we have been in contact with the manufacturer and they are working on improving this. Once set up and configured, the display is easy to use. The stereo image appears to be at the back of a tunnel due to the fact that both LCDs are inside a case. This tunnel-like effect may take some time getting used to; but it does not seem to have any influence on production.

RATING

Ease of use: 2
Setup/configuration: 2
Display/performance: 5
Cost: 3
Total score: 12

Conclusion

The stereo displays featured in this review may not fit perfectly into the description for “Holy Grail” of stereo monitors; however, depending on the work environment and the products produced, any one of these displays provides an excellent alternative to the near-extinct dinosaur, CRT-asaurus.

Stay tuned. When I find the Holy Grail I will spread the word.

Note: Some of these vendors will be exhibiting at our forthcoming User Conference. I invite you to come and try these stereo displays, and decide for yourself the best possible CRT replacement.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at socetgxp.support@baesystems.com.

GXP in the news | March 2008

BAE Systems’ Stewart Walker, Ph.D., featured in Earth Imaging Journal Industry Outlook feature

 Earth Imaging Journal Industry Outlook feature

Earth Imaging Journal Industry Outlook feature

Click here to read more >>

Destinations | March 2008

SOFEX 07

BAE Systems' support engineer, Rob Cline, accepted an exhibitor award from ASOP Acting President Darin Gilderoy at SOFEX 07.

BAE Systems' support engineer, Rob Cline, accepted an exhibitor award from ASOP Acting President Darin Gilderoy at SOFEX 07.

BAE Systems attended the Special Operations Forces Symposium and Exposition (SOFEX) 07 in Fort Bragg, NC, November 6 – 7, 2007.

SOFEX is sponsored by the Association of Special Operations Professionals (ASOP), a non-profit organization comprised of civilian and military professionals, united in a common goal to increase the knowledge of issues relevant to current technology developments for special operations forces and law enforcement communities.

Fort Bragg, NC is headquarters for the XVIII Airborne Corps; home of the 82nd Airborne Division, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, many other various commands, and a host of distinguished defense leaders.

March 2008 | SOCET GXP | SOCET SET | Software update

Imagery from DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-1 sensor is now available for SOCET SET and SOCET GXP

DigitalGlobe WorldView-1 satellite image of Seattle DigitalGlobe WorldView-1 satellite image of Paris DigitalGlobe WorldView-1 satellite image of Sydney

Sample images from WorldView-1 satellite. SOCET SET and SOCET GXP are capable of ingesting and exploiting DigitalGlobe’s satellite data for analysis and feature extraction, triangulation, terrain extraction, orthophoto generation and other image and mapping products.

Sample images from WorldView-1 satellite. SOCET SET and SOCET GXP are capable of ingesting and exploiting DigitalGlobe’s satellite data for analysis and feature extraction, triangulation, terrain extraction, orthophoto generation and other image and mapping products.

DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-1 satellite, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on September 18, 2007, operates at an altitude of 496 kilometers, with an average revisit time of 1.7 days. It is capable of collecting up to 750,000 square kilometers (290,000 square miles) per day of half-meter imagery. The satellite is also equipped with state-of-the-art geolocation accuracy capabilities, 6.5 m (21 ft) CE 90%, and exhibits stunning agility with rapid targeting and efficient in-track stereo collection.

WorldView-1′s 50-centimeter panchromatic imagery is designed to support applications ranging from map publishing and land management to asset monitoring and emergency response planning. Because DigitalGlobe’s system features allow it to efficiently collect over 475 million square kilometers of imagery data annually, DigitalGlobe populates and updates its image library with impressive speed. Stereo data collected from WorldView-1 will be available soon.

GXP products, SOCET SET and SOCET GXP, are capable of ingesting and exploiting DigitalGlobe’s satellite data for analysis and feature extraction, triangulation, terrain extraction, orthophoto generation and other image and mapping products. The imagery from DigitalGlobe is provided to GXP users in Standard and Basic product formats as well as NCDRD (RPC or Rigorous).

For more information about WorldView-1:
www.digitalglobe.com/index.php/86/WorldView-1

For more information about DigitalGlobe imagery:
www.digitalglobe.com/index.php/48/Products?product_category_id=9

March 2008 | Tips and tricks

3D-flythrough viewing tools assist in geospatial intelligence

Using SOCET GXP for 3D-flythrough viewing allows analysts to visualize real-world scenarios by draping images over elevation data to capture, save, and play back the scenes for improved situational awareness and mission planning.

SOCET GXP flythrough functionality allows users to save flythroughs as graphics, or to record an .avi file to include in finished products.

SOCET GXP flythrough functionality allows users to save flythroughs as graphics, or to record an .avi file to include in finished products.

Creating a flythrough in SOCET GXP

To simulate real-world scenarios for improved situational awareness, images can be draped over elevation data to provide 3D flythrough viewing options. Use the keyboard, mouse, or Flythrough toolbar controls to navigate through a scene dynamically in Automatic, Interactive and Orbit modes, or plot a flythrough path using waypoint coordinates. The dynamic flythrough scene can be captured, saved as an .avi file, and played back.

Creating a flythrough:

  1. Load an image with a corresponding DTED into a Multiport.
  2. Select Tools > Flythrough (Flythrough window opens in Interactive mode in a paused position).
  3. In the Flythrough window, select View > Overview.
  4. Click the Waypoint Editor icon.
  5. Click the Draw Flythrough Path icon.
  6. Click in the Overview window to plot path waypoints.
  7. Right-click on Finish Graphic (Waypoint Editor populates with waypoint coordinates; scene shifts automatically to begin flythrough).
  8. Click the Play icon from the Flythrough toolbar.
  9. To save path, select File > Save As from the Waypoint Editor window.

Tip: The Overview panel linked with the flythrough, which contains the Flythrough toolbar, must be opened from the Flythrough window.

Customer and partner spotlight | March 2008

Cardinal Systems extends software agreement with BAE Systems

VrOne is an ideal tool for highly efficient feature collection, providing fast data acquisition, easy editing, and robust data storage.

VrOne is an ideal tool for highly efficient feature collection, providing fast data acquisition, easy editing, and robust data storage.

VrOne is Cardinal Systems’ versatile software package for photogrammetric vector collection and editing, designed to maximize ease-of-use and productivity. The application allows users to extract geographic information such as roads, buildings, and vegetation from imagery and to store the information in a database for efficient map creation.

“The continued integration of VrOne with SOCET SET provides a complementary expansion of our geospatial and image analysis products and offers highly efficient, time-saving production tools to mapping professionals and GIS database creators,” said Curt Lima, product manager for BAE Systems Geospatial eXploitation Products.

When fully integrated with SOCET SET, VrOne’s 3D data collection functionality is combined with SOCET SET’s unlimited range of image sources and coordinate systems to deliver a complete mapping package.

“The reseller agreement has helped broaden VrOne’s software mapping customer base worldwide,” said Mike Kitaif, Manager of Software Development for Cardinal Systems. “Working with the professionals at BAE Systems has been a pleasant experience for us. VrOne and SOCET SET complement each other well and we plan to continue software development in this area.”

Cardinal Systems and BAE Systems have been partnered since early 2004.

About Cardinal Systems

Cardinal Systems, LLC is a provider of software for use in the mapping industry. With a long and successful history of developing photogrammetric and mapping solutions, Cardinal Systems continues to provide the most powerful, pragmatic mapping tools available today.

For information on Vr Mapping visit www.cardinalsystems.net.

Bits and pieces | March 2008

Distributor training

The BAE Systems GXP EMEA team hosted an informative, week-long training event at Robinson College, Cambridge, UK, January 7 – 11, 2008 for the GXP distributor channel. Sessions covered functionality and workflows for SOCET SET and SOCET GXP, and included hands-on training at the workstations set up in the GXP EMEA offices. Distributors in attendance represented the Czech Republic (CCE), Israel (IIT), Lebanon (GIST), and Spain (Tragsatec).

Distributor training