ArcNews Online

Fall 2009
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Imagery: A Core Component of GIS

By Lawrie Jordan, Esri Director of Imagery Solutions

  aerial image of the new Library of Alexandria, Egypt
Half-meter resolution image showing the new Library of Alexandria, Egypt, which opened in 2002 (collected by the GeoEye-1 satellite on May 30, 2009).

Several years ago, Esri launched a major program to enhance our support for use, exploitation, and analysis of imagery across our product line. This began with the introduction of Image Server, a product that allowed our users to manage and disseminate vast quantities of imagery quickly and easily. This technology has continued to mature, and last year, it became an extension to ArcGIS Server. At the same time, image services, which optimize the delivery of imagery over the Web, were built into the core ArcGIS Server product.

At ArcGIS 9.4, we are continuing to integrate image services and at the same time improve the performance and capabilities of all our products with regard to imagery. Our desktop product will include basic image analysis with focused imagery tools and fast image display capabilities. This will allow intuitive and high-performance capabilities for navigating imagery integrated with map displays inside ArcMap. We are improving our image data modeling, management, and visualization and adding dynamic analytic tools. We have done this in a way that supports the typical workflows associated with geospatial imagery.

With the additional imagery capabilities in ArcGIS 9.4, Esri is making imagery a fundamental component of ArcGIS. Esri's strategy for providing you with increased imagery support includes highly scalable image data management, new desktop image display and analysis tools, and the ability to leverage the strengths of key technology partners.

Highly Scalable Image Data Management

At 9.4, we've created a new type of raster catalog called Mosaics. Mosaics live in the geodatabase for working with large image catalogs. Mosaics allow you to keep your imagery in its native format and dynamically access your original source imagery with on-the-fly orthorectification, mosaicking, and pan sharpening. This dynamic approach to image data management, which underpins our entire image strategy, creates a foundation on which you can build a highly scalable solution and which greatly reduces the latency, or the time required between initial imagery acquisition and its operational use.

New Desktop Image Display and Analysis Tools

At 9.4, ArcGIS Desktop becomes an image analyst workstation and includes a powerful new image display capability featuring real-time roam, zoom, and rotation across imagery of virtually any size, any resolution, and any location. The 9.4 release also includes a new image analysis window, which contains a number of new image enhancement and analysis tools that you've asked us for. These tools are all easy to use, they're all in one place, and they operate in real time. You can perform image processing tasks, such as vegetation analysis, with a single click of a button.

The Ability to Leverage the Strengths of Key Technology Partners

We are also working to further extend the ArcGIS desktop, geodatabase, and server platforms with technology from our imagery partners. We are very fortunate to have a large number of technology partners in the imagery world. Working with them allows you to unlock the powerful information contained in your imagery. One such partner is ITT Visual Information Solutions, with its ENVI software suite. ENVI combines the latest spectral image processing and image analysis technology with an intuitive, user-friendly interface. The new ENVI EX product—unveiled at the 2009 Esri International User Conference and tightly integrated with ArcGIS—delivers the accurate, scientifically proven processes that ENVI is known for in revolutionary step-by-step workflows that quickly and easily guide GIS users through advanced image processing tasks.

Highly scalable image data management, desktop image analysis tools, and close ties with key partners will provide you with a complete platform that brings imagery full circle as a core component of ArcGIS.

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