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.


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.

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


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.


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

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