The Multiport represents the state-of-the-art in data exploitation and encompasses the heart and soul of SOCET GXP.
SOCET GXP is BAE Systems’ revolutionary software that addresses the production needs of image analysts (IAs), geospatial analysts (GAs) and targeteers—all in one easy-to-use package with a single user interface. SOCET GXP gives analysts the capability to produce and deliver highly accurate mapping and intelligence data to the field in time to make critical decisions for mission planning, disaster relief, land use management, transportation planning and other activities that require superior visual intelligence.
SOCET SET is the established, market-leading software solution for geospatial analysis and photogrammetry, with comprehensive, powerful functionality for triangulation, DEM extraction, orthorectification and feature collection using multiple image sources. The software is renowned for its unequalled flexibility, depth, performance, and ability to ingest data from numerous government and commercial sources. In keeping with BAE Systems’ vision that IA and GA are merging into a single market requiring a single product, SOCET SET’s photogrammetric strength is being transferred to SOCET GXP and enhanced by SOCET GXP’s fresh architecture and productive user interface.
AutoSOCET, now available in SOCET GXP, was built using SOCET SET's photogrammetric libraries, so all of the precision that SOCET SET offers is now available as an automated module for IAs/GAs in SOCET GXP.
SOCET GXP and SOCET SET are COTS products for defense and commercial applications. Both are suitable for use as development platforms, enabling customers and systems integrators to create complex GOTS and commercial solutions for specific programs and missions.
What is our vision?
We believe that the distinction between IA tasks and GA tasks is diminishing such that the roles of these previously separate domains are merging. We have been developing a new product architecture over the last several years that is the foundation for bringing the imagery exploitation requirements for these domains together into a single architecture that is scalable and configurable across the entire IA and GA domain.
What have we done to achieve this vision?
We have combined SOCET SET (GA tools), MATRIX (IA tools), VITec® ELT (IA tools) and Common Geopositioning Services (CGS) (targeting tools) into a single software product architecture called SOCET GXP. We have built SOCET GXP with a single user interface so that a user can perform IA tasks, GA tasks, targeting tasks and HSI/MSI tasks from the same user interface. We feel that, since SOCET GXP has a single user interface for IA, GA, targeting and HSI/MSI functions, we can eliminate the problem encountered by customers today, who have to use several different software packages to finish their products. Some of them use as many as six packages, often unrelated or loosely integrated, and cannot possibly be trained well enough on each one to take full advantage of its capabilities. By minimizing the number of software packages required, SOCET GXP users can streamline training, reduce integration and O&M costs, simplify licensing and customer port and increase productivity. The SOCET GXP architecture is scalable and highly configurable such that customers can buy specific functionality to meet their requirements. With SOCET GXP, while a particular organization may have several configurations or bundle types in place, the software functions with the same underlying architecture and user interface.
Another advantage of SOCET GXP that is critical to many customers is that it offers the same appearance, performance and user experience on both UNIX® and Windows®, for ease of use among multiple workstations.
Is the vision realistic?
Our biggest customer is the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). In the editorial in the September 2005 issue of GPS World (“A Closer Look at NGA” on page 10), Editor-in-Chief Scottie Barnes summarizes an interview with NGA Director Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper (USAF retired). She writes, “When the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) changed its name to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in 2003, it aimed to reflect the powerful capabilities this young agency was realizing by melding the geospatial and imaging tradecraft into a new discipline. Such convergence was the original intent when NIMA was created in 1996 – to merge the mapping, charting, and geodesy skill set of the Defense Mapping Agency with the image-analyst capabilities of the National Photographic Interpretation Center.” This makes the advantages of using SOCET GXP very clear.
But we haven’t really combined IA and GA yet!
It is true that, to date, we are only partially complete in porting over SOCET SET’s full functionality into SOCET GXP. However, we are on an aggressive path to full integration, and the end result will be well worth the investment. We have already achieved notable success by pioneering a new generation of software that is attractive to a growing community of users. SOCET GXP has the same rigorous sensor models as SOCET SET; highly accurate georeferencing is a GA requirement as well as IA. In addition, new terrain visualization tools help the IA with more insightful analysis. And AutoSOCET, which is an autonomous GA
workflow, is available with both SOCET GXP and SOCET SET.
What about the competition?
Our competitors also understand that IA and GA are merging, but they provide solutions by “teaming” with other vendors to expand their packages from IA to GA. With these approaches, however, you still have to buy, install, train, pay O&M for, integrate and work with customer port for several different packages, whereas with SOCET GXP there is only one package to install, train and port. Just one package with a single user interface, that’s the key! This is the single most important differentiator for SOCET GXP. It makes us different. It puts us ahead. Remember too that SOCET GXP offers the same appearance, performance and user experience on both UNIX and Windows, a versatility beyond the reach of some of our competitors.
Have users accepted what we’re doing?
SOCET GXP is already in use in the “War Against Terrorism” and the Iraqi Reconstruction Period. Several Unified Commands, many Tactical Units and the CGS Program have selected SOCET GXP as their software tool of choice. Additionally, with the upcoming release of the IEC v4.2/5.0 software baselines, SOCET GXP will be available as a fully-integrated application for IEC users within the NGA community.
What about SOCET SET commercial customers?
We continue to develop SOCET SET and we are investing considerable R&D dollars in projects that are significant to both SOCET SET and SOCET GXP, such as new algorithms for terrain extraction and image balancing. SOCET SET v5.2 is a strong release with impressive new functionality. SOCET SET v5.3 will be even better, with major innovations such as triangulation of ADS40 imagery and tiled terrain databases to accommodate enormous LIDAR point clouds. Many customers will be excited about new imports such as Intermap Technologies’ terrain and radar imagery, generic PATB and ISAT.
Will SOCET SET defense customers miss out?
Absolutely not. The current release for defense customers, v5.2.1, includes the powerful modules for DPPDB and CIB® generation as well as improved JPO2 functionality and integration with JTW v9.0.2/9.1. And v5.3 will include import of HRTI NITF. The WorldView and OrbView-3 sensor models benefit all customer groups, as do incremental improvements to SOCET for ArcGIS® and improved OpenFlight export. Everybody will be impressed by our leaps forward in terrain extraction and merging. MST’s new edge matcher for mixed mode imagery is primarily aimed at defense GAs.
SOCET GXP customers will benefit as well from all of these improvements.
What does the IA/GA integration bring to SOCET SET customers?
Once we complete the integration of our products into SOCET GXP, SOCET SET customers will be able to use SOCET GXP’s IA tools such as annotation and product finishing, which are erior to any packages on the market today. They will benefit from the intuitive user interface and the power of the Multiport. But we also see more subtle benefits. SOCET GXP’s strengths in viewing imagery, such as thumbnails and the virtual mosaic, are exactly what SOCET SET users want, both for initial review of imagery and for quality control. We can eradicate hard-to-use steps such as project creation. For SOCET GXP we are completely redesigning the approach to the big photogrammetric tasks of triangulation, terrain extraction, and generation of orthorectified imagery. SOCET SET users who have seen the new user interface for triangulation are thrilled.