Intergraph’s GIS Product Roadmap Comes Into Focus

By Joe Francica

Ola Rollen, Hexagon's CEO, said in his opening keynote that, "We're going to spend money on more workflow oriented solutions." So, I wanted to see what the company was showing to clients. I spent the better part of day-two of the Hexagon 2012 conference in Las Vegas getting product demos of Intergraph's GIS suite. While it has taken a full year to get the story together, Intergraph has begun to demonstrate product solutions that show cohesion between the raster, vector, video and sensor domains. As a user of either GeoMedia or IMAGINE, you may be more familiar with the domains of raster and vector, but the domains of video and sensors are what set Intergraph's product portfolio apart.

Let's start with the data management pieces. ERDAS Apollo is a raster image data manager that supports the distribution and publishing of imagery and allows an administrator to set user constraints for data access. What's important to know about Apollo is that it minimizes the investment of users’ time in order to import and publish imagery. Administrators can provide project level management that eliminates time spent finding the right data, especially for companies who have large image libraries.

I've heard a lot about GeoMedia Smart Client and I finally get it. You can read more of the particulars about product functionality in an article we recently published, but I found it to be more intuitive than most "lightweight" client interfaces that try to sell themselves as "robust" GIS solutions. Smart Client doesn't try to overwhelm the user with menu choices. As such, the product is more targeted to users who know very little GIS but know they have to access geospatial information. Organizations wishing to deploy GIS to a broader set of users should investigate Smart Client. Actually, I thought the coolest feature about the product was the Print feature, which allowed a very intuitive grab, rotate and print capability.

Spatial Modeler is a long time in coming.  Spatial Modeler is capable of providing users with tools to script basic workflow "conditions" and use them as components of more complex geospatial workflows.  Models can be saved and reused. Batch processing is possible and the architecture allows programmers to create functions of their own. Competitors have had a similar capability prior to Intergraph's Modeler. Its origin is in the ERDAS product line and remains there today. In future releases you can expect to see it in GeoMedia. But for now, Spatial Modeler allows the user to access functionality from GeoMedia, but in an ERDAS environment.

The integration of full motion video with a mapping and GIS platform is very robust. It's come a long way since I first saw it two years ago. While viewing a static image map of satellite data, for example, users can inscribe a polygon on that map and embed a motion video within the polygon. Video is played within the polygon as it follows along a flight line. Users looking for changes from the static image within newly acquired video can markup the video by placing any number of scene identifiers such as "new construction," "disturbed vegetation" or "person of interest." That information is stored for later searches. As you might imagine, users don't want to have to re-view the video for whatever notes were made. So, as analysts complete their video interpretation, they can then search on the more significant changes from notes made and immediately retrieve the segment of the video that is of interest. Users can grab the frames of interest, produce a map, as well as embed the video segment of interest into a PowerPoint slide. The entire demo I saw was very comprehensive.

Sensor integration is a key competitive advantage for Intergraph. With its long history of supplying E-911 dispatch systems for security agencies (police, fire, airport, etc.) the company has solid technology for integrating multi-sensor data streams. Using a GeoMedia platform, Intergraph's solutions are focused on showing the location of events and state of alarm devices. Typical security clients demand high availability and reliability, redundant architecture and a distributed architecture for disaster and recovery with no loss of data.  The product suite is capable of alarm and sensor integration, as well as video assessment and analytics, all of which are geospatially enabled. All of this creates, as the company likes to say, the "Swiss army knife" for system integrators that provides a single technology platform to integrate sensor technology.

Disclosure: Hexagon supported travel to this conference.

Published Monday, June 11th, 2012

Written by Joe Francica

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