Wow Technologies Found at GEOINT 2004

By Joe Francica

The GEOINT 2004 Exhibition had one primary underlying theme: Visualization is a key technology driver.All of the product in our WOW Technology overview involve some new aspect of visualization to make it easier for the analyst to interpret or process multispectral imagery.

WOW Product #1
Eye Resolution Display System (ERDS)
BAE Systems - Information Systems Sector
10920 Technology Place
San Diego, CA 92127

The BAE ERDS system (see image below) can best be described as "surround see" technology.It is a total immersion product that allows the analyst to see a much larger area and use peripheral vision to fully appreciate the area under study.The unit that was shown on display was constructed from four 19" flat panel monitors joined at 30 degree angles to each other.To make the scene appear seamless, a thick, 4" plate of plexiglass was placed in front of the monitors and molded together to optically generate a view that removed all spacing between the physically separated monitors.One drawback was that at the curved seam of the plexiglass, the image developed a three dimensional artifact that made the image seem to have a depression or "swale" in that area of the image.

45" Display at 7680 x 4800 pixel resolution (36.8 MegaPixel)
Seamless Display with 10000 x 3480 pixel Resolution
ERDS delivers eye resolution at 18 inches (204 pixels per inch)
Windows XP Compatible

WOW Product #2
SD Stereo Monitor

Planar Systems
1195 NW Compton Dr.
Beaverton OR 97006

Among the really cool and new technologies was the 3D monitor by Planar along with their partner Matrox. But it was more than seeing imagery in 3D.Most of us still operate in a 2D world. Planar's SD product line features a technology they call StereoMirrorTM.The monitors are addressed via any of several existing stereo modes including Windows, DirectX or OpenGL.The 3D effect is provided by one monitor for each eye and projected onto the display mirror.Polarized glasses allow the separate images to be fused to create a three-dimensional view.Flat is great for floors, tables and ironing boards, but doesn't make a real scintillating basis for getting people excited about a technology.The unit comes in several models (see photos below):

Pixel Format
1280 x 1024
1600 x 1200
2048 x 1536
2560 x 2048
MegaPixel Count
3061 Gray-Levels (monochrome)
Refresh Rate, Hz
56 to 75
49 to 75
55 to 75
Up to 200
Budgetary Price

WOW Product #3
nuiPlugin for ArcGIS

PIXIA Corporation
45616 Willow Pond Plaza
Sterling VA 20164

The nuiPlugin from Pixia Corporation promises to address massive amounts of raster data....very fast.In the demo, over 580 gigabytes of raster data were displayed in a seamless view in about a second through standard computer interface.The image was not compressed or indexed.The New Universal Image (.nui) format is proprietary and under review for a patent.It addresses an awful lot of data very fast...believe me.

WOW Product #4
Pliable Display Technology
Idelix Software Inc.

555-1122 Mainland Street
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6B 5L1

Pliable Display Technology (PDT) has been around for a while but it is first time we've had a good look at the product.Again, PDT is another technology that provides a flexible way to zoom into a specific area without changing the zoom factor for the remainder of the image.On display at GEOINT was a large touch screen monitor (we first saw these at the ESRI conference this year; see our "Wow Technology" article from that conference) According to Idelix, "PDT is an immersive user interface (UI) that incorporates detail-in-context viewing and editing techniques to improve accuracy and efficiency when performing visually intensive tasks.PDT lenses can be configured, moved and manipulated in real time, resulting in a "virtual lens." As the PDT lens moves over an image, it magnifies a subset of data while keeping the connectivity to the rest of the space-the result is detail-in-context viewing, and the ability to take full advantage of the information presented regardless of the platform, device or screen size being used."

Click for larger image

Click for larger image

WOW Product #5
GeoCover NaturalVue 2000
Earth Satellite Corporation

6011 Executive Boulevard, Suite 400
Rockville, MD 20852

Earth Satellite Corporation has been the premier satellite image manipulation and enhancement company for many, many years.NaturalVue 2000 is a global, seamless, natural color, 15 meter resolution image.The entire mosaic was derived using EarthSat's Landsat orthorectification software called GeoCover Ortho.It was developed by Jon Dykstra at EarthSat, long recognized as a pioneer in image processing going back to the early Landsat days.

Click for Larger Image
In summary...
What does this all mean to the average GIS professional in the intelligence business? Your war room is ready...the technology is here today....there are incredible visualization aids that make image interpretation and analysis faster and easier...although probably not cheaper!

Published Friday, October 22nd, 2004

Written by Joe Francica

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