Hexagon Geospatial: Flying Under the Radar But with Laser Focus to Improve Products

Listen carefully and you might just hear the real vision for Hexagon's geospatial solutions. This was my goal in attending HxGN LIVE, the annual user conference that brings together Hexagon's Metrology, Process Power and Marine, Geosystems and Security Government and Infrastructure (SG&I) divisions.
The combination of Intergraph's GIS solutions, ERDAS imaging and photogrammetry plus Leica Geospatial surveying hardware has always offered the potential to compete with Esri, Autodesk and Bentley and I documented this last year at the conference.
However, this year, I heard and saw something slightly different and it was revealed in a fusion of technology that would be easy to miss. In one of the presentations,  presented by Steve du Plessis, he showed how data from a natural color RGB satellite image could be projected onto the individual points of a lidar point cloud thus giving the image properties to point clouds. In effect, this fusion combined satellite data and point clouds to deliver image, topography and texture to a single data set that can be used for further analysis.
What this demonstrated was the full capabilities of the Hexagon geospatial suite of products: data capture through laser scanning, image processing, geospatial analysis and spatial data visualization. In speaking with Mladen Stojic, Intergraph's vice president for the geospatial portfolio he said that "Hexagaon is a company offering data capture tools for above and below ground; inside and outside physical plants." He said that the combined resources of the Geosystems division (aka Leica Geosystems) and SG&I can control the flow of information from the hardware capture platforms to the analytical software.
This one-two punch of Hexagon's hardware and software assets allows its customers to build dynamic information data stores  that fuse digital content from various data sources (point clouds, imagery, feature data) into a model that can be more readily updated as new information is acquired. Stojic emphasized that the goal is to shorten the lifecycle from sensing (i.e. data capture) to analysis and action.
Product Notes
  • Spatial Modeler in ERDAS IMAGINE has gotten a user interface refresh
  • Spatial Modeler will be available in next year's release of GeoMedia
  • GeoMedia's Full Motion Video solutions has come a long way and the ease of workflow has been dramatically improved
  • Spatial aggregation functions have made their way into GeoMedia
  • GeoMedia now employees the standard Microsoft ribbon (see more in my deep dive report on the Geospatial Product suite)
  • New dynamic spatial modeler
  • Added radar analyst workstation; integrated ribbon interface; added real-time ship tracking; dynamic edge enhancement; on the fly reproduction.
  • IMAGINE Objective is a new segmentation algorithm with intuitive segment creation and will incorporate point clouds 
  • IMAGINE Objective uses object-based classification to analyze color, shape and size of pixel.  Spectral properties, size, shape and texture of each pixel are analyzed for similar characteristics.
  • Function added for batch classification and filtering
  • Function added to measure heights from 2D images
  • Improved swipe tool for image layers
  • Easier styling for vectors (coming from GeoMedia) 
  • Take underlying RGB image and assign color coding to point clouds (very cool)
  • Coming in 2014
    • Convert ERDAS IMAGINE over to a 64-bit operating system and make sure that it is a full 64-bit solution 
    • Create workflow in spatial model so that it can be published in a web client 
    • Vector and raster integration coming to Spatial Modeler
G/Technology (Utility and Infrastructure)
  • G/Technology 10.2 released in July 2012
  • Map based redlines can now be modified in G/Technology Designer and Analyst; this simplifies workflows across different sets of users
  • License management extended to MobileViewer
  • Administrators will have better reporting capabilities for tracking licenses ensuring corporate compliance.
  • Upgrade considerations
    • Geometry storage in Oracle Locator format in G/Technology 10.0 - spatial data upgrade tools are available for download
    • User information retrieved from LDAP repository in G/Technology 10.1 - identity & access management GUI provided with G/Technology administrator
    • VBA customization capabilities retired in G/Technology 10.2; Support for .NET customization continues
  • Upcoming releases
    • Custom line style handling for export and attach; update version compatibility for DGN and DWG planned for G/Technology 10.2. SP2. 
    • Simpler configuration and testing with additional diagnostics tools; better coordinate system matching; jpg rendering and other improvements in G/Technology 10.2 SP2
    • Legend Builder - new tool to provide easy legend definition and maintenance; build edit operations
    • G/Tech certification: Window 7 & Oracle 11g now; currently working to be compatible with Windows 8 and .NET 4.5 and Oracle Database 12c
Geospatial Server Portfolio
  • The portfolio is comprised of four products (click image at left for larger graphic):
    • Geospatial Portal / SDI - thin client
    • GeoMedia WebMap - publishing capability to the web
    • GeoMedia Smart Client: configure workflows for advanced geospastial functionality for the non-GIS user
    • ERDAS Apollo: managing server-based data, geoprocessing and storage
  • New enhancement include a unified administration console (webmap, portal, SmartClient) - all server products use the same administrative UI; the console provides the means for creating and configuring all aspects of server-side engines, web services and web applications in one place. 
  • Performance - improve functionality and scalability model
  • Catalog editing utility is now bundled with Geospatial SDI
  • Features and functionality of ERDAS APOLLO web client have been built into Geospatial Portal. 

Published Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Written by Joe Francica

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